Dr. Randy Bridges announces plans for Innovation in FSD1
Florence One Superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges served as this year’s speaker at the Annual Back to School Celebration held on Monday morning. “You look marvelous,” Dr. Bridges told the crowd of some 2,300 employees donned in t-shirts reflective of school and departmental colors.
In an 18-minute address at Florence One’s first day for teachers at the Florence Civic Center, Dr. Bridges, who became Superintendent in Florence One in January 2015, discussed the components of a true Learning Organization; shared his belief about educating children; and provided specific examples of scenarios which invited employees to see the importance of expanding one’s possibilities from “yes, but….to what if…..” His address culminated in a major announcement about plans for innovation in Florence schools.
Dr. Bridges spoke to employees of Florence One about the teaching of Dr. Phil Schlechty and becoming a Learning Organization where students are volunteers and customers; where parents are partners and members of the school community; where teachers are instructional leaders and designers of quality work for students; and where principals are leaders of instructional leaders.
Dr. Bridges indicated that becoming a Learning Organization is a process of evolution. “You don’t become one overnight,” he said. He told employees that he looks forward to visiting schools and talking more with them about Florence One’s journey toward becoming a Learning Organization. “I believe the most important responsibility of Florence School District One is to create the best teaching and learning environment possible,” said Dr. Bridges.
He supported his belief with one of many what ifs. “What if we implemented innovative programs all over Florence School District One and became the district in South Carolina (for others) to visit when looking for cutting-edge opportunities to improve student learning?” he asked. Following this question, Dr. Bridges indicated “It is difficult to be innovative and creative with limited resources. I have talked to our principals, and I have asked them to look closely at the resources of time, people, space, technology, information and money.
How can these resources be used differently to better serve our children.” In a culminating announcement, Dr. Bridges explained to employees that after he recently shared his thoughts on innovation and creativity with the Florence One Board of Trustees, the members, in turn, committed to allocate funding in the amount of $1 million to explore ways in which Florence One can become an innovative school district and explore best practices for students in Florence One.
Dr. Bridges ended his address by stating that in the coming weeks, Florence One will establish an Innovation Design Team who will have conversations about what is innovation in Florence One and how we align innovative programs with the needs of the full spectrum of for students. “We will be able to “go see” what others might be doing successfully to improve student outcomes. This is a great opportunity for our students and our school district!” he exclaimed.