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March 12-16 is Public Schools Week. This week and every week, we celebrate public school students, teachers, and schools across North Carolina.

My future. My learning. Just for me.

The world in which we live is constantly changing, and the world in which our students will live, lead, and prosper will look much different than today. As with many things, there is a need to balance proven practices with researched risk, to appreciate history while anticipating the future. 

When Henry Ford was asked about his groundbreaking work, he said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” 

While our history is rich and robust, we are even more excited about our future. Our excitement started us on a digital transformation journey with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation in 2014. Our intention was to personalize learning, enabling each student to reach their full potential. 

Today, our journey continues. 

Through a focus on our strategic plan’s first goal, Exemplary Classroom Teaching and Instructional Leadership, we collectively developed our district’s Core Four and reflected on Keys to Exemplary Leadership. As a result of the collaboration and creation of the Core Four, we began to focus on content, engagement, rigor, and data literacy. 

Investments in technology enabled us to be more effective, efficient, and responsive to the inevitable change.  With it, teachers have the potential to provide personalized learning, allowing students to work in modern platforms and environments. Additionally, with technology, teachers can facilitate rigorous learning experiences and provide timely and specific feedback, resulting in greater student ownership and learning. 

Three years ago our journey began with a focus on content and instruction. The following year, we reflected on vision, strategy, and culture, and, just last year, we invested our time and energy in personal growth and relationship building. As leaders, we invite you to join the movement to the future. 

We are at a critical crossroad — a point at which we determine not only our own future, but the future of our community. 

We’ve begun the journey, but our success depends on you. We’ll know we’ve arrived when our community can say this is modern, this is innovative, this is nurturing. Each student can say, “this is M.I.N.E.”

Bill Harrison

Bill Harrison is the superintendent of the Alamance-Burlington School System. He chaired the N.C. State Board of Education from 2009-2013.