Leadership Trenton Grads Hear from Trenton Public Schools Superintendent

February 4, 2013

(from left) Calvin B. Thomas, Jr.,  Leadership Trenton Fellow (2006), Barbara George Johnson, executive director of The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy and Trenton Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán.

(from left) Calvin B. Thomas, Jr., Leadership Trenton Fellow (2006), Barbara George Johnson, executive director of The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy and Trenton Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán.

Class was in session at Thomas Edison State College last week, when Trenton Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán shared his vision for improving schools in the city with graduates of Leadership Trenton and other civic leaders.

The meeting, sponsored by The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State College, was held Thursday, Jan. 17. During the meeting, Durán made the distinction between what many call the achievement gap and what he described as an opportunity gap and the need to expose students to positive learning experiences that can lead to greater academic achievements.

“We have to think outside the box if we are going to create a community of learners where academics are valued along with non-academics that support the whole child,” said Durán. “Children need to see people in their community coming together and investing in them, and then they see the world in a different way and see themselves differently, too.”

Durán also detailed some of the strategies he has implemented thus far, such as weekly leadership team meetings; a common curriculum for all grades; literacy instruction and coaching; greater parental engagement; inspiring teachers to be leaders through professional development and supports; and improving school infrastructure and technology.

Barbara George Johnson, executive director of The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy, said she thought the exchange would be beneficial to Durán and the community.

“There was a positive energy about the superintendent, the community leaders and Leadership Trenton alumni who attended the event,” she said. “People respectively passed their issues on the table and solutions that could help this newcomer to Trenton blaze a path for future success for Trenton’s children.”

Leadership Trenton alumni are graduates of an issues-based civic leadership development program sponsored by The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State College that strives to build a greater capacity for civic engagement and leadership in Trenton. The program attracts participants from a broad spectrum of sectors in the city with a focus on its future.

ABOUT THE JOHN S. WATSON INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY
The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State College is a vital resource for New Jersey decision-makers. The Institute’s practical, nonpartisan, hands-on approach supports informed public policy that links people to policy. The Institute addresses the state’s most critical issues through practical research, technical assistance and comprehensive public policy solutions that are supported by the resources of higher education in a manner that reflects the College's tradition of innovation and excellence. For more information, call (609) 777-4351.

ABOUT THOMAS EDISON STATE COLLEGE
Thomas Edison State College provides flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults. One of New Jersey’s 12 senior public institutions of higher education, the College offers 16 associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 100 areas of study. Students earn degrees through a wide variety of rigorous and high-quality academic methods that can be customized to meet their individual needs. Identified by Forbes magazine as one of the top 20 colleges and universities in the nation in the use of technology to create learning opportunities for adults, Thomas Edison State College is a national leader in the assessment of adult learning and a pioneer in the use of educational technologies. The College is home to The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy. The New Jersey State Library is an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College. Further information about admission to the College may be obtained by calling (888) 442-8372, via e-mail at [email protected] or by visiting the College website at www.tesc.edu.