Cd’A schools take key first steps

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The Coeur d’Alene School District’s recent report card — produced for $50,000 by an Iowa company that evaluates schools from top to bottom — highlighted a number of areas that need improvement.

On first glance, the extremely detailed audit report, which comprises hundreds of pages, seemed damning: Auditors didn’t include any of the myriad ways the district’s administrators, teachers and students excel, they only noted the instances where the district didn’t live up to the (theoretical) perfection of an ideal school system.

The audit was intense. Curriculum Management’s team, which visited in February, reviewed hundreds of documents, read thousands of online surveys and surveyed a huge volume of student work. Auditors visited nearly 300 classrooms and conducted a wide range of interviews with staff.

Subjecting itself to such intense scrutiny is a gutsy move, and our hats are off to the district for inviting constructive criticism and openly sharing it with the community.

We think officials should be lauded for seeking the audit and bringing areas for improvement into the light.

It’s never fun to invite in a bunch of smarty-pants experts from out of town to come up with a list of everything you’re doing wrong. But listening to outsiders’ objective findings and strategically redeploying resources to address their recommendations strikes us as two prudent steps toward meaningful improvement that will serve our students and help ensure that they have the skills and knowledge they need to maximize their vast potential.

Big ships can’t turn on a dime. Such an ambitious undertaking in any educational ecosystem, with all its living, moving parts, will take significant coordinated effort as well as patience. Improving our children’s education will require strong leadership as officials identify priorities and seek the crucial buy-in from various stakeholders.

We’ll keep on eye on the district’s efforts and update readers on its progress.

It’s hard enough for any of us to look in a mirror at the unadulterated truth. Guts today just might transform into glory tomorrow.

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