The Dream Project
Nothing much happens without a dream. For something really great to happen, it takes a great dream.
Robert K. Greenleaf
The Dream Project began for the Red Bank Borough Public Schools in the fall of 2014. Each member of our team was asked to create his or her own vision of the perfect school. We requested vivid detail expressing how this perfect school would look and feel. We asked for a description of how staff would represent themselves and a description of the culture that would drive not only the school but student achievement. Participants were directed not to dwell on a lack of resources or any specific limitations. They were encouraged to dream big and dream what is best for our children, their families, and our community.
The idea behind this project was to create a picture of who we wanted to be as a school district. A picture that would serve as the guide for our journey toward providing the best educational environment for the Borough of Red Bank. Equally important, was the process itself. The Dream Project steps were designed to engage educators and support staff from every department of our school district in collegial conversations. As we progressed through the process, our conversations helped develop a greater understanding of each other and each individual’s commitment to our students and community. The projected galvanized an already collaborative staff and instilled a palpable feeling of teamwork and organizational purpose.
We received in excess of 200 individual dreams. These dreams were crafted into approximately 24 dreams by all employees at each school level – Preschool, Primary, and Middle. Then, the dreams were assigned to the appropriate school level and the School Improvement Teams at each level molded the dreams into 3 – Preschool, Primary, and Middle. Next, we selected a District Dream Team inclusive of educators, support staff, parents, and our Board of Education. This team used the 3 dreams to construct our District Dream. Finally, the District Dream was used to establish our Vision, our Mission, our Operating Rules and our Operating Principles. The dream even helped inspire our daily mantra … Dream BIG…We’ll help you get there!
The District Dream was shared with all staff as part of a celebration during a professional development day and with our community at a Board of Education meeting. Looking back, the process fostered teamwork, collegiality, and a unified agreement. Our commitment to that agreement continues to resonate through our daily practices today as we pursue an endeavor that will impact more lives than we can possibly imagine and distinguish our journey as a benchmark for Pre-K to 8 education.