​​Dena R. Cushenberry 

Superintendent, Warren Township in Marion County, Indiana 
The Center for Appreciative 
Organizing in Education 
​A few weeks into the first month of school, I stopped in at the high school’s Career Center to have a chat with the director. I asked him what he thought the center’s biggest successes were in terms of finding career opportunities for the students. He asked me if it was okay for him to take the district’s CORE framework and add three more Cs to it: College, Career, and Community. 
This is exactly the kind of initiative which marks a great leader.
The more I thought about our discussion, the more I thought about how the different parts of CORE fit together. I thought about what it means to tailor CORE to the unique culture of each school and department, and I was excited to see how this new director might redefine our framework to better align district and Career Center goals. It made me restless, so I drew up my own model:   

  1. Civility is required of a community of learners in school and in the community at large for the expression and acceptance of individual differences.

  1. Order allows each person the opportunity to pursue individual and collective projects.

  1. Respect grows out of positive, mutually beneficial relationships.

  1. Excellence is only achieved with equitable practices which create opportunities for all students as they prepare to build their careers.

But it will ultimately come down to what the director wants—this is his initiative, and like every administrator in Warren, the CORE framework he lives by will need to be of his own creation. Superintendents need to empower school leaders to take initiative to meet the needs of all students. Do you do this in your district?
The students at the Warren High Career Center are in very good hands.
Next Up: Mentoring the Next Generation of Principals