The other day, I took a few minutes to watch our District video on our website (Here is the link to the video: https://youtu.be/3oO08rsnfBA). I love this video and I always feel a great deal of pride each time I watch it. This time, the video reminded me of something that happened to me a few years ago.
I was at a car dealership early one morning. I had to take my truck in for some work and it was going to take most of the day, so they gave me a loaner car. Most of the loaner cars I have been given in the past were older vehicles, in good shape mechanically, but not too flashy, but this time was different. They gave me the keys to a brand new four-door sedan. The car was very sporty. It was jet black with aluminum alloy rims, leather seats and a sunroof. It had all the bells and whistles. The gear shift was a knob on the center console, and it was equipped with satellite radio as well. It was a very sharp looking vehicle and it only had about 30 miles on it. I was puzzled as to why they provided me with a brand-new car for a loaner, but I didn’t ask any questions and I got in the car, started it up and pulled out of the dealership to head for the office.
What I discovered very quickly is that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. It turns out that even though the car looked super sporty, it didn’t run super sporty at all. It had a four-cylinder engine that had the acceleration of a garden tractor. It didn’t ride smooth and it didn’t handle well either. If you have ever read the book "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, you understand when I say that this brand-new car was a show horse not a plow horse. It looked good but didn’t get the job done.
So, what’s the point of this story you might ask. Well, after watching our District video, I wondered if what we promote as the experience people have when they are part of our schools matches what we deliver each day. Our guiding philosophy is “Better Every Day” and this isn’t just a slogan to me, it’s a practice and a belief. I try to live this statement each day. The experience our kids and parents have must match what our District video advertises that they will experience each day. I don’t mind it one bit if we look like a show horse in the process, but we better be able to do the work of a plow horse as well. I think we need to be like a Clydesdale — strong, hardworking and not afraid to get dirty, but we can also look very impressive when we are cleaned up and pulling a wagon in a parade.
So, as the school year moves on, I want you to know that we are working hard to make our vision of “Success for All,” and our guiding philosophy of “Better Every Day” a reality in our schools across the District. I know we aren’t perfect, but I promise you that we will continue to work hard to make sure the experience people have in our schools matches what they see in our district video. This really is an amazing place to live and I am proud to be a part of the Western Dubuque School District.