Archive for Thursday, February 16, 2006

Facilitator: Plan is ‘for the common good’

February 16, 2006

By meshing the interests of two communities into a concise, thorough plan, the Basehor-Linwood schools District Advisory Council has completed groundbreaking work, a consultant said Thursday.

"I think you've made history," Jerry Bailey said to DAC members at their last meeting. "And I've been in this district longer than you think."

For 34 years, Bailey -- a Kansas State University professor and facilitator of the DAC -- has taught courses on staff development, teamwork, leadership and consensus building. He has been a fixture of the DAC since its inception two-and-a-half years ago.

School officials credit him for helping the DAC turn an assortment of ideas into a clear-cut plan for the future of schools.

His own input into what the plan should entail has been minor, even non-existent. He said his primary goal was to help administrators and DAC members unify to form a proposal that he describes as "for the common good."

And, in crafting the last two bond issues, they "couldn't have performed better as a team."

"It came from the people," Bailey said. "They think it's the best idea. That tells me it's the right thing.

"Comparatively speaking, this administration has put 10 times more effort (than other districts) into involving people. What the people of Basehor-Linwood may not understand is most districts don't make this kind of effort. ... It just doesn't happen."

Though Bailey has only recently become a familiar name to patrons, he is far from a stranger to the school district. For more than three decades he has periodically worked with local administrators on staff development.

Bailey first worked with Basehor-Linwood in the late 1970s when he helped then-Superintendent Tony Stansbury organize teachers and administrators on a plan that would overhaul curriculum. Later, he worked with former Superintendent Charlie Edmunds.

He was brought in by current Superintendent Jill Hackett in 2003 to help implement the advisory council.

Finding common ground among a flood of divergent views, opinions and interests isn't easy, Bailey said. But, the facilitator said he's been proud of the way administrators and advisory council members have come together.

"The process has been well-executed," he said. "The administration has reached out to the people and tried to empower them. ... People got an opportunity to speak. Alternatives have been examined, and it's been well thought out.

"That's the way it should work."

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