He was a master storyteller, and I was suddenly a superintendent turned student – captured by my vacationing 16-year-old while captivated by a video of Walt Disney giving insight into his Carousel of Progress – a show he shaped.
Just watching this innovator talk, I was learning.
Introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City, millions of people have watched Walt’s creation; the Carousel of Progress has had more performances than any other stage show in American theater. In its most simple form it’s a story about American progress.
If you have ever visited Disney World you know that progress is part of the Disney DNA . . . no two visits are the same. Disney is always evolving. As I stood with my eyes fixed on that monitor while on vacation at the close of 2014, my mind began writing the Hilliard story of 2015 – because progress is also in our DNA. We continue to find ways to better prepare students for tomorrow; there is no destination in education, we operate in an ever-changing world.
Education must be both simple and complex.
In the simplest form, education is preparing students for future success. In the simplest form, education is personalized for each student. In the simplest form, we are able to create an environment that cultivates individual success in a diverse group setting.
It is complex because each student is a unique individual with diverse, sometimes divergent, education needs. It is complex because each student comes to school with different experiences and expectations. It is complex because politicians, the media, and in many cases our public want a simple reporting procedure to demonstrate progress. But there is no single test or assessment that will predict future success of a student.
The truth is – we are on a journey together – a real-life Carousel of Progress. And we are all authors of the Hilliard story: educating the whole child, building healthy habits of mind, encouraging motivation, and inspiring perseverance.
We can’t live in the past; we must prepare for the future. Progress is in our DNA because it is what is best for the future. We must embrace the non-negotiable skills we expect every student to master for future success, we must cultivate the habits and traits that promote productivity and achievement, and we must improve personalization in our instructional practices.
There truly is a “great big beautiful tomorrow” just as the lyrics from the Carousel of Progress share in song. In the Hilliard City Schools our vision is to make sure every student is Ready for Tomorrow because “tomorrow is just a dream away.”
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