Dani Trimble, Superintendent
I cannot believe it’s time for my annual musing about the year to come. My “In 2019 (or 2018, or 2017, etc.) article is a habit of mine for well over a decade now. Over the years, my topics have been all over the board, from very practical to quite philosophical. I’m feeling more practical this time around, so here we go…
In 2019, I hope we work together to refine our goals for an education at Alburnett. You know by now that I love the Alburnett district and that I am supremely proud of our work together to educate our children. But there’s work to be done to align to the future, whatever that is going to be. I recently attended one the Future Ready Iowa Summits that were held around the state, and I cannot stop thinking about the graphic I’ve included with this article. As you look at the information in the Iowa Workforce Development graphic, reflect on the fact that in Iowa, we currently have a 2.5% unemployment rate. That’s a fantastic statistic…but look at the misalignment of job categories to workers. We have a great match of people to jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or above. It’s the other two categories that we need to talk about.
The middle-skills pathway is comprised of workers with more education than a high school diploma and less than a BA, including certificates, certifications, licenses, associate’s degrees, and some college coursework. This pathway consists of skilled technical jobs across skilled-services and industries. It includes firefighters, law-enforcement officers, electricians, mechanics, installers, repairers, technicians of industrial equipment, and highway maintenance workers; it also includes those in skilled and technical jobs, such as healthcare technologists and technicians, computer control programmers and operators, surveying and mapping technicians, and information and record clerks. And these jobs make up 54% of the jobs in Iowa.
Our conversations across the state need to be around the alignment of Iowa’s talent pool (people) to the varying and very important jobs we need here in our state. So Alburnett, let’s get into this conversation. Yes, we will still prepare students for a college degree if that is the correct path for them. And let’s also ask ourselves if our programs at Alburnett are diverse enough and robust enough for other pathways. Let’s also ask if our facilities are well designed so that we are providing students with opportunities in a way that matches the changing skills needed.
There will be ways you can engage in these 2019 conversations if you are interested. We will be talking often with our community about our facilities. We will be forming a “Portrait of a Graduate” work group to define the Alburnett graduates of the future. And we will be discussing current and future graduation requirements with staff, our school board, and anyone else who is interested in the work.
Yes, I’m feeling very practical as we head into 2019. And I’m feeling excited. And optimistic. And grateful for the way we are able to constantly stretch our thinking as a school district and community.
2019, here we come!
Purple on Purpose