Cd’A schools take key first steps

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The Coeur díAlene School Districtís recent report card ó produced for $50,000 by an Iowa company that evaluates schools from top to bottom ó highlighted a number of areas that need improvement.

On first glance, the extremely detailed audit report, which comprises hundreds of pages, seemed damning: Auditors didnít include any of the myriad ways the districtís administrators, teachers and students excel, they only noted the instances where the district didnít live up to the (theoretical) perfection of an ideal school system.

The audit was intense. Curriculum Managementís team, which visited in February, reviewed hundreds of documents, read thousands of online surveys and surveyed a huge volume of student work. Auditors visited nearly 300 classrooms and conducted a wide range of interviews with staff.

Subjecting itself to such intense scrutiny is a gutsy move, and our hats are off to the district for inviting constructive criticism and openly sharing it with the community.

We think officials should be lauded for seeking the audit and bringing areas for improvement into the light.

Itís never fun to invite in a bunch of smarty-pants experts from out of town to come up with a list of everything youíre doing wrong. But listening to outsidersí objective findings and strategically redeploying resources to address their recommendations strikes us as two prudent steps toward meaningful improvement that will serve our students and help ensure that they have the skills and knowledge they need to maximize their vast potential.

Big ships canít turn on a dime. Such an ambitious undertaking in any educational ecosystem, with all its living, moving parts, will take significant coordinated effort as well as patience. Improving our childrenís education will require strong leadership as officials identify priorities and seek the crucial buy-in from various stakeholders.

Weíll keep on eye on the districtís efforts and update readers on its progress.

Itís hard enough for any of us to look in a mirror at the unadulterated truth. Guts today just might transform into glory tomorrow.

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