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August 22, 2017
by: Ted hamm

More than Just a Party

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Today is a day of celebration for our schools. A day to unify our schools under one name, to unveil our new look (see our social media sites), and to celebrate 10 years as a public charter schools in the Sheboygan Area School District. Today also represents a year’s worth of behind the scenes work that culminates our schools working to solve an issue that has been challenging us for some time.

Following our first contract renewal for Mosaic and IDEAS and our second renewal for ESAA (Elementary School for Arts and Academics), it was time for us to do some organizational soul searching (sometimes called strategic planning) and start to refine what type of organization we wanted to be for the next contract renewal. Over the course of the year we have built a strategy map, started a balanced scorecard and, as a result, have a much clearer view of the organization we will become. But, there was something bugging us…

It is easy to become insulated when you are so immersed in a process such as starting an organization like our schools. We live and breathe our work everyday. What is common knowledge to us, is not apparent to others. Through a process of focus groups and interviews it became obvious that our past communication work was not garnering the continuity we were looking for. We faced two issues: First, people did not understand we were three schools part of a network governed by the same philosophy and approaches. Second, people often misunderstood what our philosophy entailed.

These issues have brought us to the where we are today. A fully rebranded set of schools under a common name with a specific meaning, common mission and credo, and a unified look. The thinking around rebranding offers many insights into when an organization should make the move to change its name versus change reposition itself. We have taken on this rebranding process in order to affirm our identity; no financial gains come from this. We work hard every day to be a viable educational option for our community. We believe in a community that offers numerous, diverse options for learning. Options that allow people to choose learning method that work best for their needs. We can’t do this if people don’t know we exist or don’t understand who we are.   

The past ten years have given us much to celebrate. We have created a k-12 network of schools, created the Étude Sessions as a sustainable fundraising instrument for our schools, and developed Maker Break as a means to bring a piece of our educational experiences to all of the Sheboygan community. Each of these moves was brought about by a demand we saw in our community and are part of our continual effort to use our organization to help improve our community. We look forward to more years of growth as the Étude Elementary School, Étude Middle School and Étude High School.

We hope everyone enjoys our party today. It will showcase what we have accomplished over the years, but this party is also a way of showing gratitude to all who have helped us move forward. I want to thank our amazing staff (past and present), our families, our alums, the Sheboygan Area School District, and our community. You all have helped our schools be a part of a greater educational mosaic that supports our community.

 

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