McPherson Kansas, a school district going the right direction.

by Steve Wyckoff on January 4, 2011

The C3. That’s what they’re calling them in McPherson USD 418. So what are the three C’s, how did they get there, and are they really leading to school change?

They got there through a multiple year process of asking their staff, parents, and community what they collectively want for each student. The C3 are the result of those conversations.

Citizenship Ready, College Ready, and Career Readiness. I have to be honest with you, I was skeptical about how much school change was actually occurring when I heard the stories about what McPherson was doing. Don’t get me wrong, my skepticism wasn’t about McPherson, it was about education in general.

As the saying goes, “When all is said and done, there is more said than done.” I once heard a superintendent say, only half jokingly, “They had a program that was so bad, they had to change the name.”School don’t change easily, in fact they rarely change.

But when I had the opportunity to hear McPherson superintendent Dr. Randy Watson talk about this C3, and provide evidence as to the results, I must admit I was impressed.

If you want to read the whole story you can go to a page on McPherson’s website that describes in detail C3.

McPherson has asked the federal government for a waiver from the state’s standardized test. In fact the date when they would be notified about their request has come and gone several times. But even if the feds don’t allow the waiver I suspect that McPherson will figure out a way to minimize the damage of the state’s standardized tests.

I believe that what makes this C3 so powerful is the focus on each individual student in preparation for their future. I was worried when I heard the stories that this would just be another program disguised to make sure that every student had the same identical curriculum focus completely on preparation for a four-year liberal arts degree. What I heard instead was a focus on each individual students post secondary needs based on their career aspirations.

McPherson still has literally hundreds, if not thousands, of issues large and small that will need to be solved as they move forward. But kudos to them for making a real effort at school change, to educate each student in preparation for their future. – Steve Wyckoff

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