Kathleen Miller – The cheese has moved in East Grand schools
January 14, 2010
To the Editor:
Staff, students, and parents of East Grand Schools face changes like the characters in Who Moved My Cheese? As in the story Spencer Johnson MD articulates, things are not going to be as they were.
The question is, “How will we respond?”
In the story the cheese represents what we have become accustomed to and feel we need. However, as it was for the mice and the little people, the cheese has changed. We as community members have choices. We can be as Sniff and Scurry and work to find solutions, or we can be as Hem and Haw initially denying change exists, donning excuses, or seeing ourselves as victims.
Todd Engdahl, EdNews Capitol Editor, reports likely education legislation funding cuts of 6-8 percent to the 178 school districts that the Colorado Department of Education supports. See http://blog.ednewscolorado.org/2010/01/07/legislative-preview. The quality of learning for more than 800,000 preK-12 students (http://www.cde.state.co.us/) is slated for change. Of these, students in East Grand Schools represent about 1,400. We are not alone.
From whence comes our help? Here in Grand County we can look to the hills. We can see the majestic mountains and draw from the strength they represent. We can be as Maria and hear the Sound of Music that inspires us to face the adventure with courage and confidence. We can be creative as were Sniff and Scurry in the story, or we can resist as did Hem and Haw.
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The Reverend Mother exhorts Maria to climb every mountain, ford every stream. She reminds us all that we cannot hide from our problems: You have to live the life you were born to live.
In education, of all professions, we have the opportunity to promote change. We expect it of our students: higher test scores, achievement of benchmarks, graduation of classes. And yet, we forget that change is needed within us as professionals to continue growing. Life requires change. Yes, times may be hard as Alan Jackson sings, but they make us strong.
Last fall my sixth-graders at East Grand Middle School read Who Moved My Cheese? The text was used to develop comprehension skills. We discussed and questioned the text at literal, inferential, and applied levels of thinking. We analyzed the theme and the lessons we each had experienced and could gain from the mice and little people.
Now as a community of learners, we in Grand County can do the same. We can apply the lessons of change. We can grow. We can embrace the challenges that our schools face as opportunities to be creative, and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of resources. We can help each of us go beyond ourselves and inspire hope and faith in our schools, community, and world. As in the story, it’s not about cheese; it’s about growing.
Kathleen Miller, PhD