September 25, 2019 10:42:40 AM
About 100 people turned out to Tuesday's Columbus Municipal School District public forum at Joe Cook Elementary auditorium, where district administrators fielded questions and offered updates on a wide range of topics.
No one specifically asked about Newton's second law of motion, but in a sense the 90-minute session could be condensed to the topic.
As a reminder, Newton's second law of motion states acceleration is equal to the force applied to the object being moved and the mass of that object.
For years now, the school district has struggled with low achievement over a broad range of areas. There have been four superintendents since 2011. Student population has declined by a quarter since 2003.
A week ago, the district's accountability rating again came in as a "D," the 11th consecutive year the district has had a "D" rating or its equivalent.
Despite that, there is a sense of optimism in the community since the arrival of Cherie Labat, now in her second year as superintendent.
Initial momentum, as we know, can be slow, almost imperceptible, yet there are encouraging signs. Community volunteer-ism is up. So is parent involvement. The exodus of teachers appears to be slowing and there are fewer incidents of student misconduct.
"It has been an amazing change over the past year," board member Josie Shumake told the audience Tuesday. "We're definitely headed in the right direction."
We sense that, too. Throughout the community there appears to be a sense of confidence in Labat's leadership. For the first time in a long time, there is some optimism that the leadership is in place for the difficult challenges that always accompany a struggling school district.
Slowly, the culture and perception of our city schools are changing, which we believe will serve to inspire community support.
As Newton noted, the rate of momentum depends heavily on the amount of force applied.
If we, as a community, put our shoulder to the wheel, change will come and, perhaps, come quicker than might otherwise be expected.