The Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council is a coalition of independent education stakeholder groups with a common commitment to improve overall academic achievement, eliminate the achievement gap and increase the high school graduation rates of all students.

Many of LaPESC’s current members have been working hand-in-hand since LaPESC was founded in 2009. Our shared vision is to ensure a world-class education for every student in every public school with sufficient resources to unlock their transformative abilities so that 100 percent of our students reach their full potential and graduate from high school prepared to succeed.

With the Lafayette Parish School Board elections on Nov. 4, fewer than 50 days away, we have the opportunity to rally the community around a Common Vision for increasing student achievement and preparedness in our schools. When you take a comparative look at high-performing school districts or successful turnaround and reform efforts, two key elements that are consistent are the need for strong community support and leadership united behind a common vision.

In order to have a successful school system, decision makers can and should engage in healthy debates about how to attain their goals, but they need to agree on the big stuff, about core beliefs and commitments. They have to broadly share the same set of goals. Without a common direction, any system will struggle to become highly effective because its leaders are divided on fundamentals. LaPESC members’ goal in creating a Common Vision was to construct a set of shared principles and priorities that focus on areas of consensus grounded in community input and published research. We adopted a three- step approach to creating a Common Vision — Listen, Learn and Action:

First, we listened to and engaged the community. We decided the best way to gather community feedback was through public round table discussions on public education in Lafayette Parish.

Secondly, we became informed about what works by relying on strong research to inform and sharpen the community consensus. We looked at published research from academic journals, academic research centers, education policy institutes and think tanks.

Thirdly, we took action by taking the community feedback and research and transforming it into actionable items. The Common Vision principles and priorities focus on increasing student achievement and preparedness.

Each of the LaPESC member organizations have plans to advance this vision in different ways, but if there is one common denominator it is putting students first. We believe a Common Vision for Our Future is an important step to achieving academic improvement for all children in the Lafayette Parish Public School System and encourage the community to visit commonvisionlafayette.org for more information and to sign on to support the vision.

Stephen Bartley

chairman, LaPESC

Lafayette