Mission statement for GUSD a wonderful idea

One of several recommendations presented recently to the Gilroy
Unified School District Board of Trustees by the Alliance for
Academic Excellence was for the district to adopt a mission
statement.
One of several recommendations presented recently to the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees by the Alliance for Academic Excellence was for the district to adopt a mission statement.

We think that’s a great idea.

We’ve often cited a lack of overall vision as the reason for Gilroy’s floundering downtown, its mammoth retail incentives, its nearly treeless suburban streets, its overbuilt hillsides and its shortage of employers providing good-paying, attractive jobs. A GUSD mission statement is a key way to make sure our schools don’t suffer a similar fate.

During a recent study session, Trustee Tom Bundros frequently lauded the Palo Alto Unified School District’s board policies and said they should serve as a model for Gilroy’s board policies.

Although Bundros generated chuckles whenever he mentioned Palo Alto, he’s got the right idea. Why reinvent the wheel, when it’s been so superbly done by someone else? PAUSD is a highly regarded school district, and it wouldn’t hurt to use their mission statement as a jumping off point for Gilroy’s.

So, in the spirit of generating discussion and inspiring ideas, we present the PAUSD mission statement:

“Our mission is to enable all students to:

• strive for academic excellence,

• acquire the knowledge and skills that support learning,

• value creativity and life-long learning,

• demonstrate respect for self and others, and

• participate meaningfully in our democratic society and interdependent global community.”

Perhaps the statement would need some tweaking and/or reprioritizing for the Gilroy community, but it’s an excellent place to start.

A well-written mission statement will serve as a tool with which the district can measure the wisdom of any proposal or decision. Will adopting this reading list, this curriculum, this policy or this charter move us closer to fulfilling our mission?

A well-written mission statement will take much of the controversy out of divisive issues, allowing administrators to spend time improving the education our students receive instead of putting out the fires started by contentious issues.

Superintendent Edwin Diaz should take the lead and develop a plan to seek input for a draft mission statement. Then it should be presented to the board and the public for review, changed if necessary and adopted as soon as practical.

The Dispatch, of course, would be happy to publish a special e-mail address for public suggestions.

A well-written mission statement will be the rudder to steer GUSD out of the choppy seas of strife at every turn and toward calm waters of academic achievement.

Less strife and more calm are exactly what the teachers, administrators, parents and especially the students of the Gilroy Unified School District need.

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