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Southlake Style

CLASS Program Builds Support for CISD

Jul 15, 2013 03:35PM ● By tina

CLASSmates ask questions at the 2013 student panel.

School News by David J. Faltys Ed.D., Superintendent CISD

Do you ever wonder what it takes for an idea to spread like wildfire? How does word travel from one coast to another as ideas take root, a movement grows in strength or a fad becomes a phenomenon? Who decides Toms are cool to wear? Admit it: At one point, you paid good money for a Beanie Baby, Silly Bandz or an N*SYNC concert ticket.

What makes “Protect The Tradition” a Dragon state of mind? How did our logo become so easily recognizable? Who passes along information about CISD to those who need to know it? In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell takes an intellectual look at change and information. One of my favorite parts of the book looks back at the early history of mavens like Paul Revere. He was said to have met secretly for months inside The Green Dragon Tavern in Boston, sharing information in preparation for a possible uprising against the British. You can still visit this historic location on one of the oldest cobblestone streets in the city. What many people don’t realize is that his friend, William Dawes, traveled in the opposite direction to spread the same message the night the British came. Only Paul Revere is remembered for the ride because his reputation and connections made people listen and heed his warning.

Mavens are trusted experts in a particular field who set out to impart their knowledge to others. Gladwell suggests that mavens act most effectively when they collaborate with connectors, people who have a wide network of casual acquaintances by whom they are trusted. They can easily and widely distribute the advice or insights of a maven so that an idea or a message catches on.

Carroll ISD’s best example of using this concept to build community support is through the Carroll Leadership Academy for Supporting Success (CLASS). The program began in 2008 as a way to give mavens and connectors firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of the Carroll school district in hopes of increasing public understanding and support for Carroll ISD. This program is designed to ensure that patrons of CISD — connected, respected leaders in this community — are armed with facts about their school district.

CLASSmates, as they are affectionately known, spend a year meeting, touring and learning about the district before graduating from the program during a school board meeting. Several past participants include local realtors, parent volunteers, business leaders and even Southlake Mayor John Terrell. Participation in CLASS is by invitation, but campus principals, the superintendent’s cabinet and the board of trustees can all submit nominations. Topics covered include school finance, operations, classroom instruction, governance and policies and more. The group is also used as a focus group, giving CISD valuable input and feedback before making decisions.

Thank you to all of our CLASS graduates since 2008 who gave time out of their busy schedules to learn more about Carroll ISD at our monthly meetings. I’d like to think the men and women who have graduated from CLASS are our own green Dragons — and that by educating these mavens and connectors, we are establishing a group of key communicators within our area through which others can learn about our district.

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Dr. David Faltys serves as Superintendent of Carroll Independent School District, the largest 5A Exemplary district in the state of Texas.  He was named by the 2010 Region XI Superintendent of the Year after being nominated for the award by his local School Board.