By Mark Evans
Instruction is the core of the work we do at La Canada Unified School District. Schools teach. However, in order to make instruction effective, the lens may need to shift to student learning. In order to have the most powerful, impactful instruction there needs to be the outcome of student learning. Here is where the Local Control Accountability Plan comes into play. The goals set forth within the LCAP exist for the purpose of assuring student learning and student success.
With nearly thirty years in the education business as a teacher, a site administrator, and a business administrator, I have witnessed numerous movements and strategies to improve instruction, to improve student learning. In the strategies I found to be successful and impactful, they called for a dedication of community, a focus of purpose, and a commitment of resources.
As a business administrator, the support of high-quality instruction means making sure there are resources available to achieve that high level of student learning. While there are many great ideas and worthy paths toward reaching that goal, available funds are not endless. The role of the budget is to both support quality instruction and to help focus the expenditures so they are effective. It is easy to drift into multiple programs, and they all have merits. However, we must be careful so as not to disperse the work so wide that it waters down the program. We must be cautious of adding to the plate without taking away elements that we do not find effective.
This element of economics is not simply related to the dollars associated with the goals. While those dollars certainly impact program implementation, they are not the sole element related to the success of high-quality instruction. That dedication of community requires that our objectives not be spread too thinly. That focus of purpose needs to be present to demonstrate that there is a will and a desire to achieve that goal. These economics of human capital are even more significant that the dollars directed toward the goal. Without the dedication and focus, the commitment of resources may not generate the outcomes we wish.
Supporting high-quality instruction and supporting student learning both require dollars, but it is not the budget that creates those results. It is the efforts of families, teachers, staff, and the Governing Board to set goals that focus our work and energy. It is the collaborative efforts of teachers, staff, and administrators to implement those goals. The role of the budget is to make sure that work can go forward and be sustained.