George Washington: Coming Together for an Exceptional Future
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 07:16
Written by gwhs
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 06:49
August 21, 2012
Hello, my name is Micheal Johnson, and I am delighted and eager to serve the GW community as the new Principal of George Washington High School (GWHS).
For those of you who may be unaware, my family and I are settling into the Denver area following our recent move from Tulsa, Oklahoma. While there I served as principal of Monroe Demonstration School, where I had the honor of working with an extraordinary group of students, staff, teachers and parents to drive the success of our school.
I am excited to work with the GW community to ensure that the school continues to be regarded as one of the nation’s leading college preparatory institutions that provides an exceptional high school experience for all students.
One of the first initiatives I’m eager to begin is a process aimed at helping the GW community find common ground for the future.
As you may have heard, “Common Ground” is the early adopted name for a process that was developed by the Denver-based organizational consultant firm Schwartz+Associates. Schwartz+Associates was asked to determine a process to help GWHS collaborate as a diverse, cross-functional group of stakeholders and commit to developing and implementing an action plan that propels ALL GWHS students into a future of unlimited potential.
As such, the name of this process has evolved to “George Washington: Coming Together for an Exceptional Future.” The goals of this process are to:
• Conduct an inclusive dialogue to hear the ideas and perspectives of a diverse, cross-section of students, parents, faculty, staff and community members;
• Strengthen communication, understanding and relationships among stakeholders;
• Launch action teams that are responsible and accountable for developing and implementing tangible initiatives that help build an exceptional future for GWHS.
As we move forward, I wanted to provide an update of where we are and where we are headed as Schwartz+Associates continues to facilitate the process. The timeline below offers a brief overview of what has occurred to date and what will take place over the coming months.
June – July 2012 – Denver Public Schools engaged Schwartz+Associates to independently develop and facilitate a process to help GW find common ground for the future. Schwartz+Associates conducted interviews with a number of teachers, faculty, students, parents and school board members to understand various perspectives, ideas and experiences to help shape the process. From these interviews, Schwartz+Associates formed a Planning Committee that identified eight key stakeholder groups and one representative from each group to serve as the Steering Team. The stakeholder groups include:
1. Traditional Track Students
2. IB Track Students
3. Traditional Track Parents
4. IB Track Parents
5. Faculty – Traditional and IB
6. GWHS Administration/Support Staff
7. DPS/School Board and
8. Feeder School Parents/Alumni/Community members.
August 2012 – October 2012 – The Steering Team will work to identify eight people for each of the above eight stakeholder groups from various backgrounds, perspectives and demographics. The Steering Team is charged with selecting and enrolling these 64 participants. These 64 people are asked to participate in a two-and-a-half day session in November to develop and implement tangible initiatives that establish an exceptional future for GWHS.
November 2-4, 2012 – The 64 representative participants will gather for a weekend to develop a results-oriented plan of action. The Steering Team will participate in the session and help assign and support action teams to implement specific plans/initiatives developed at the session.
November 2012 – January 2013 – The action teams formed from the November session will welcome even more individuals who wish to help implement proposed initiatives.
February 23, 2013 – The 64 representative stakeholders will hold a follow-up session to ensure the initiatives are moving forward and efforts are coordinated.
In order to be successful, this process will require our community to:
1. Support all stakeholder groups/individuals representing our school at the session
2. Understand all perspectives before seeking any fixes
3. Focus on common ground and the future rather than past or current problems and conflicts
4. Encourage self-management and accountability for action by participants
I am encouraged by the unique design of this process, including its results-oriented approach and urgency toward success. I am committed to keeping our community informed about the process as it progresses. Should you have any questions or concerns about this process, please feel free to e-mail GW_ComingTogether@dpsk12.org and a member of our team will be happy to speak with you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
I look forward to working with you all to create a bright future for our students and community.
George Washington High School