Vail Daily letter: Updating our vision for future |

Vail Daily letter: Updating our vision for future

Jason E. Glass
Valley Voices

Tucked inside today’s Vail Daily, you will find an insert titled Altitude in Action.”This document is provided to update you, as a member of our community, on the strategic plan and direction of Eagle County Schools.

As you may recall, last October we released a report for our community titled Unparalleled Altitude: A Globally Inspired Vision for Eagle County Schools. Since then, we’ve worked with the community and the Board of Education to refine and crystallize that vision into a strategic plan, which takes the big ideas and transforms them into clear and actionable steps.

While some of these steps will take more time to implement, many of the most important strategies are already being implemented, and we’ve made significant progress in several key areas including recruiting, teaching all students to high standards, customized learning, and empowering our front-line educators.

The big idea behind the strategic plan is straightforward and simple: Use an approach borrowed from business called “benchmarking” to identify strategies from the best education systems on earth and then adapt them to our context here in Eagle County.

We couple with the “benchmarking” approach a focus on quality evidence. As an organization, we are employing strategies steeped in scientifically sound, peer-reviewed, journal-quality evidence. We are intentionally turning away from politically popular reforms, based on what someone thinks or believes will work. Instead, we are choosing a coherent and intentionally coordinated set of strategies with a powerful track record of success.

Using such an approach makes sense here in Eagle County — this is an international community with world-class expectations. It’s also a community of critical thinkers who aren’t afraid to ask questions and who are unlikely to be duped by the latest flashy object. Our kids deserve a globally competitive education, on par with any system in the world. This is the goal we have set for every school in Eagle County.

The strategic plan itself is broken down into a few key parts. Most important are those elements that make up the “instructional core” — the relationship between educators and learners in their work toward high academic standards. The strategic plan details our approach to genuinely support and raise the quality of our educators, engage our students in learning and teach every student to an internationally benchmarked standard.

While these “inside” of school elements are incredibly important, we also know from decades of research that those things that happen in the student’s home, community or environment also have a tremendous impact on outcomes. Because of this, our plan also includes strategies around technology for learning, several “wraparound” services to make sure every student gets the support they need to be healthy, safe and ready to learn. The strategic plan also includes Eagle County Schools’ commitment to being a good financial steward of taxpayer resources and our commitment to quality outreach and communication.

So, I’ll keep my column short this week to give you time to review the insert and to reflect on those ideas. I welcome any feedback, be it positive affirmation that we are on the right track or a critique that challenges us to think more deeply. As always, I remain open to your thinking and suggestions and look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you as Eagle County Schools continues our journey to greatness.

Jason E. Glass is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at

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