362 - The Unifying Principle of Students First

Episode: 362

Episode Title: The Unifying Principle of Students First

Educators, employers, and economic developers all have their own agenda. But there’s one principle that can bring those agendas together. Find out what it is, next on The Perna Syndicate.


Ep 362 show:

Hello and welcome—you are now in The Perna Syndicate! Yesterday I talked about the challenge of getting educators, employers, and economic developers on the same page to shift the paradigm at the community level. Today, I want to share a tactic that helped accomplish this unity with my team in Lee County, Iowa. 


It’s deceptively simple. This unifying principle, that everyone bought into upfront, was that every decision we make as a group has to be for the betterment of students. 


It sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? But it has far-reaching implications. We mean all students, not just some. It’s not just the students who are on track to enter the trades or agriculture or something like that. No, it’s every student in the community, no matter what their goals, who should have an opportunity for lots of different pathways. We are normalizing career-focused education for every single student in this community. 


Too often, organizations start their decision-making process with “What can we do as an organization?” Only after that do they ask, “What’s left for the students?” 


But if we commit to first doing what’s in the best interest of all students, no matter where they sit today, that creates the common ground that allows us to push forward. And that’s the unifying principle that is shifting the paradigm in Lee County. 


Next up, what do you do when a wrench is thrown into the works? A lot of joint projects get derailed that way, and Lee County was no different. On tomorrow’s episode of The Perna Syndicate, I’ll share what we did to keep moving forward. We’ll see you then! 


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