Dec. 22, 2010
Clear the rec path
At 7 a.m. on Dec. 17 I went out to get my newspaper and watched a man, carrying a large briefcase and another bag, struggle in the slush of the southbound travel lane of North Williston Road, heading toward the bus stop, presumably to catch the 7:05 a.m. commuter CCTA run.
Why, you might ask, was this man not walking on the nice, new, safe rec path we have along this stretch of road? Because the rec path has not been cleared of snow and is therefore not available for use. To find the reason for this oversight, I went to speak with Bruce Hoar, Public Works director, on my way to work. Bruce showed me minutes from a Selectboard meeting I attended in the fall of 2008 when I petitioned the Selectboard to keep the new rec path maintained and clear for use year-round for the general health, safety and well-being of all users. At that meeting, the Selectboard voted to approve this request.
What I heard from Bruce the morning of Dec. 17 is that the Selectboard “tabled” future clearing of the rec path (although it was kept clear for most of the 2009-2010 winter season). My understanding is that the equipment for clearing the rec path of snow is in place and the cost is small in the greater scope of town expenses.
I asked the Selectboard to tell me and my neighbors what we need to do to have the rec path kept clear for the health and safety of our residents, many of whom use the path regularly for exercise and for commuting by foot and via the CCTA bus system.Kerstin M. Hanson, Williston
Editor’s note: Kerstin M. Hanson sent a slightly modified version of this letter to the Williston Selectboard on Dec. 17.
Recognizing great school leaders
Most of us have heard the expression, “It’s lonely at the top” when difficult or unpopular decisions have to be made. Applying the expression to Vermont’s school principals today, it is fair to say that they have certainly had a lonely year contending with budget targets, declining enrollments, adequate yearly progress expectations for all students and the possible loss of their jobs if their school is labeled as “persistently low-achieving.”
Although some say, “I wouldn’t ever want your job,” the principalship still remains one of the most important positions in education today. A recent Wallace Foundation Report, “Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning” (July 2010), said that exemplary leaders make a huge difference four ways: by setting a direction for their schools, by developing the people in their organizations, by redesigning their organizations (providing workplace conditions to let motivation and capacities grow) and by managing the instructional program. It goes on to state, “We have not found a single case of a school improving its student achievement record in the absence of talented leadership.”
The Vermont Principals’ Association seeks the public’s help in identifying and nominating exemplary school leaders. At our Summer Leadership Academy, we celebrate their successes with an awards ceremony. If you know a leader who has the above qualities, now is the time to act. We appeal for you to nominate your exemplary school leader (principals, assistant principals and tech center directors). The nomination forms are available at vpaonline.org, by calling 802-229-0547 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ripple effect of this is that good leadership leads to improved results for our kids. Won’t you please take the time to nominate a great leader for a VPA Leadership Award? Many thanks in advance for supporting our school leaders.Ken Page, executive director, Vermont Principals’ Association