Enterprise City Schools Superintendent Greg Faught stressed the meaning of “#weareECS” shirts at Teacher Institute Day on Aug. 1.
“I was walking around talking to a few people before the program started and I wanted to know what this (#weareECS) means to you,” Faught said. “Almost every one of you said the word, ‘unity’ and I think today is a fine example of us being together. To be from this point forward—when you’re out and about and you’ve got this shirt on—I want the stock answer, essentially, to be ‘quality.’”
He said that this is an effort to focus on the last of the system’s “big three” beliefs: quality work. “Quality facilities, quality programs, quality people—quality always means doing our best work,” Faught said. “So that’s going to be our objective this year. I feel like we’ve done a good job with the first two pieces—relationships and environment—but that’s something you have to continually build upon and improve as we go through time. But I think it’s time to start talking to our kids about doing their best work and I think it’s time for us to start doing our best—and many of you do—in everything we do.”
Faught used former University of California, Los Angeles basketball head coach John Wooden as an example of someone who did their best in everything they did.
“Even though he had won 80 percent of his games during his career, he never ever once talked about winning to his players or his coaches,” Faught said. “It was always about doing your best. And when you do your best, you get a satisfaction deep down inside called ‘peace of mind.’”
Faught gave advice for doing your best by paying attention to small details, planning the night before, getting up on time, getting to work on time and being at school every day an employee can.
“There’s no substitute for you,” Faught said. “And once we get here at school, can we make sure that we’re about service, contribution, helping others (and) adding value to our program?”
Faught gave an example of a little thing that he and ECS Maintenance Supervisor Matt Routley do.
“Matt Routley and I—we have this thing and you’ll think it’s silly—but we will not walk by a piece of trash on a school campus or one of our school grounds,” Faught said. “I was doing it the other day and all of the sudden these two kids jump in front of me and say, ‘We’ll get it Mr. Faught,’ and they picked it up. I could have busted with pride.”
He said that the system and its employees need to set goals to ensure quality work. He stressed that employees do not start the “blame game” when something inevitably doesn’t go the right way.
“Instead of doing that (blaming), count your many blessings,” Faught said. “Your family, your friends, your life (and) this very moment, be thankful for those kinds of things. And magnify those things as much as we do our own complaints. If we do that, this school system would be awesome.”
He touched on the amount of testing going on in the system.
“But we’ve got this idea—and don’t shoot me when you hear me say it—but we’ve somehow got this idea that we need to test every Friday,” Faught said. “I’m not sure because what I see is kids going in and they’re stressed out because they’re not ready. And then the next thing you know they’ve taken the test and not done well on it and it’s kind of like a free day at that point. There’s really not a whole lot of learning that’s taking place.”
He specified that he does not mean that this happens in every classroom.
“We don’t have to uproot learning for our kids every single Friday for a test,” Faught said.
He asked teachers to consider the amount of testing they and the system does.
Faught ended his address with one last thought about quality and the impact every employee has on the system.
“Everything you do matters,” Faught said. “This school system will be a little better or not quite as good because of you. Everything starts with you, starts with me, starts with us.”