Joshua Garcia

Superintendent or Asst Super

Tacoma, WA

Interests: 21st century learning,...

  • Posted 3 Years ago
  • 661

What I Learned Lately (WILL 14/15 #5)

What I Learned Lately (WILL 14/15 #5)



For the past month, I have been calm like a bomb. I have constantly been engulfed, knowing that the numbers that are constantly ticking in my head are leading to something. Numbers, numbers, students, numbers, kids, numbers, human beings, children, babies, numbers. Numbers - 1 in 7 children in Tacoma having housing assistance, 1 in 4 that qualify for free or reduced lunch having housing assistance. Numbers - 1,300+ homeless students in our schools. Numbers, numbers, the average high school dropout loses approximately $260,000 dollars in lost wages over a life time. Numbers, 16 more graduates, last Tuesday. Numbers - $4,160,000 in increased revenue to our society through those 16 graduates. Numbers, every high school in Tacoma continues raise their graduation rates, can’t wait to think about how many children will have an opportunity to become adults with their own home. Numbers – ticking - one more - one less. Numbers, one more life we can help save or one more life we can choose to do nothing for.

As one that is often haunted by the numbers, I often realize that I leave my heart exposed to the elements of Human and Mother Nature. I know that when I speak with passion about the need to get clear with what we teach, down to the specific sub-skill, learning target, object, or whatever you want to call them, that my need for clarity may be frightening. Some criticize the passion, others embrace it, and some are paralyzed by it. I even recognize that journey that I use to gain clarity can cause disruption and foster ambiguity. The tension and pressure of the journey is hard. Imagine if every child, every parent/guardian, every mentor had a list of skills that each child needed in order to be successful at the next level. Skills, not a complex standard that has multiple skills embedded that are masked to keep us from being clear. If we were clear, would we look at our numbers differently?

I wish I had the courage and strength to roar like the king of the jungle, the mighty lion. However, my roar is cry for help, a plea. See the numbers, identify the children behind numbers. Create "hot list" of these names and numbers. Identify what they need, what targets or sub-skills they need. Develop a plan to give them those skills. Relentlessly work that plan, with every resource and every ounce of energy you have. Don't be afraid to fail, you have the keys. For, if you fear failing, than you already failed. For, these are the efforts for which our souls are constituted. These are the efforts that will drown out the beats of a fatalistic one time testing system.

Make no mistake; I will meet you upon this honest place of numbers. I will fight for you; I will fight with you and never against you, upon this honest place of numbers. For it is in this place between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act, where is your relentless leadership is needed. Leadership – fosters innovation, management stifles it…

Finally, From T.S. Elliot…

The endless cycle of idea and action,

Endless invention, endless experiment,

Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;

Knowledge is speech, but not silence;

Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.

All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,

All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,

But nearness to death no nearer to God.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

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