What is in the special sauce?

Braden Love, Class 26
Director IT Business Consulting, Scottsdale Insurance

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

Another great day at Scottsdale Leadership was spent at the Coronado High School learning about the Scottsdale Unified School district. The coordination to pack in the star-studded speaker roll and tons of information in a short time was impressive. It was great to hear from the talented administration and a couple of smart students but I would have preferred to directly hear from a teacher.

What is the special sauce that makes SUSD excel above others? We heard about how great the school system is performing in a very challenging environment. The environment sounded, well… broken. Funding challenges abound. Equalization, a finance system older than a lot of Coronado alumni, the inability to move funds from one budget bucket to another, stagnate salaries and budgets.  Surely the special sauce is not money, look how well the team performs with what they have.

What is in that special sauce? Listening to the discussion about accountability and seeing the school professionals’ challenges and perceptions of what looked to me like chaos diminished my confidence in our policy makers. Another seemingly broken, or at least faltering, system. Not only do we have three definitions of successful but those definitions are changing like the seasons in New England. How’d you like it if that were your performance evaluation environment for your job?

If money is not the silver bullet for education and our policies on standards and performance create challenges more than they enable, then what are the ingredients for that special sauce? It must be another part of the system… Perhaps it is the community? The Administration? The kids? The parents?  The teachers?

What do you think is written on that recipe card? Please respond and let me know.

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1 Comment

Filed under Class, Community, News

One response to “What is in the special sauce?

  1. Hi, Braden,

    Thanks for this post about Education Day at Scottsdale Leadership! There is so much material to cover in such a short period of time, and we are fortunate to have many dedicated experts to share some of the less commonly known facts, challenges, and successes of public education in Arizona with your class.

    In my experience, no organization thrives for long if they rely on one “silver bullet.” But, indirectly, you hit the nail on the head. It’s the combination of all the dedicated supporters you mentioned – community, teachers, administration, parents, staff, students, and board – that has proven to overcome many obstacles when they all work tirelessly together toward a common goal. That’s why we tried to bring you a cross-section of those people to explain how they fit into the process.

    Like any successful recipe, you can tweak a few things here and there – but a successful finished product relies on having all of the right ingredients.

    Most people that are involved with education, even as volunteers, have a passion for self-improvement, life-long learning, and helping others. It’s that passion for student success…that quest for igniting the love of learning…that desire to help the entire community…that keeps them motivated and going, despite enormous obstacles.

    We are stretched very thin – but we recognize that we are in this together.

    Wishing you the best for your future classes – you are in for a great ride with Scottsdale Leadership!

    Best –
    Bonnie Sneed
    Education Day Chair
    SUSD Governing Board Member

    P.S. Your last speaker, Dr. Anne Hanson, is a teacher in the Scottsdale Unified School District.

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