Transparency should be expected

"Accountability is critical to the success of our school corporation." is one of the beliefs stated in the West Lafayette community school corporation's mission and beliefs statement. However, there cannot be accountability without transparency. This core principle goes hand in hand with the need for collaboration. If corporation stakeholders are not sure of how decisions are made and who is involved in that decision making, it harms trust.

If I am elected to the school board, I will push for significantly increased transparency behind the board's decision making. I feel that some discussions currently taking place out of the public eye should be made public. Unless there are legitimate legal and security concerns that truly are dangerous to be shared, the full discussion should take place publicly. Even in the case of sensitive information, that information could be kept private while the broader discussion is conducted publicly.

I also feel that information introduced in the board meetings could better be made public. Data and figures are discussed in board meetings but not shared ahead of time to allow for public consumption and response. While agendas are share ahead of time, data is not, and for true collaboration, stakeholders need to be given time to digest and fully understand information so that they can ask informed questions and provide feedback to the leadership. We cannot have true dialogue without this.

Transparency is also key in the learning process. For students to feel engagement with and ownership of their learning, they need to have a voice in their learning, including access to information that helps them understand where they've come from in their learning, where they are, and where they are going. Transparency in learning objectives, assessment data, and planning for learning is a core component of student-directed learning. In helping to guide an idealized vision for the corporation, I will push for a vision that includes not just student participation but student ownership of the learning process, and that includes transparency for the students and the parents. The use of grades give a broad overview of achievement but lacks the detail needed for parents and students to understand what learning gaps may exist that may cause future problems for that student. A personalized and competency-based approach to learning makes such gaps transparent and establishes a personalized learning plan for every student so that he or she can master the knowledge and skills needed to excel, making the learning decision-making process transparent and based on learning outcomes, rather than a calendar.