There's a new wind blowing in Farmingdale and our children are benefiting because of it. Farmingdale's public schools are working exceptionally well these days because the stakeholders involved are talking - and listening - to each other, a fact that makes us the envy of many districts.
Parents, teachers, administrators and the board of education view each other as knowledgeable partners in education and have formed a caring community around our children. We share a common vision, and a common purpose. We believe all students can learn and we work well together in providing our students with the environment and tools they need for success.
Sounds rather simple, doesn't it? You would think the basics of honest, forthright communication would be universal in public education, wouldn't you? Let me assure you it is not.
There are school districts in many areas, some not all that far from Farmingdale, where a collegial working relationship simply does not exist within the school system. Parents don't trust teachers. Teachers don't trust administrators, who in turn don't trust the board of education. The result of all this mistrust and non-communication? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that children's education suffers.
Even in our own history some may remember a time when there was discord and dissension in Farmingdale. I can assure you, as someone who lived through those days, it wasn't pleasant - and what is more important - it wasn't productive, for anyone.
I believe that we have become real problem-solvers here in Farmingdale because the lines of communication are wide open. In fact, we have also become proficient at preventing problems. Because we communicate so well, frequently we are able to spot problems before they start and head them off.
Farmingdale parents are a key part of this caring community. They are engaged in their children's learning and understand the need to communicate with their children's teachers. Parent-teacher conferences are very well attended. Parents are welcomed and respected on various district committees. On our shared decision-making teams, parents are appreciated for their contributions and for the strengths, skills, perspectives and knowledge they bring to the educational process.
Teachers and administrators also serve together equally on various school and district committees. There is an honest and open sharing of ideas on ways to serve our students better. The result of all this open dialogue: Farmingdale schools have become a better place for children to learn. That's a good thing.