During the July 18 meeting, Crane was administered the oath of office by school board president Jim Webster.
“I think the board and the people of Moab need to understand what my philosophy is and how I feel that the goals need to be accomplished,” Crane said during the meeting. “The research is quite evident on what needs to happen if you want to have academic improvement in the schools.”
Crane said he and the school board will concentrate efforts on six main objectives for improving the district: Math and language arts curriculum as it relates to the Utah Core Alignment; creating collaborative learning opportunities for teachers, students and the community; analyzing graduation requirements and procedures; analyzing food service revenues and expenditures; improving community awareness and understanding; and updating current district policies and procedures.
Crane emphasized the need for creating “professional learning communities” in which teachers share information and knowledge with one another as a way to develop more effective educational tools that benefit the students.
“When you’re in a school system, a lot of the time you do things that are right, but they’re done individually... in isolation,” he said. “They need to be done... in a cooperative manner.”
A professional learning community (PLC) is “a group of educators who are committed to working collaboratively in an ongoing process of collecting and acquiring ... research in order to achieve better results,” Crane said.
Crane told the school board that a professional learning community would be action-oriented, trying different things to figure out what works best for the students within the community. He said that failure should be viewed as an integral part of improvement.
“When a professional learning community is meeting and they come up with a new idea on how to help kids, they might go out and try it and... it doesn’t get the results they want,” he said. “How many times did Edison fail at getting the light bulb to work?”
Crane also emphasized that community and family involvement play an extremely important role in helping a professional learning community function properly.
Crane also said he believes that students need to be taught in a way that allows them to compete internationally.
“We don’t live in Moab, we live in a global world...,” he said. “We used to be the leading country in the world in innovative and creative ideas. That’s what has kept us economically sound. We are not there anymore.”
As part of the school board’s objectives, Crane said that district officials are working to find a way to deal with the district’s school lunch program so that it won’t continue to lose money. The program has operated in the red for the last few years.
He said he also wants to help the local community understand the needs that are facing the district, especially as they relate to rebuilding or remodeling the Grand County Middle School
“The board has asked me to take care of some goals,” Crane said. “Those goals are a tiny part of what the whole issue is. The whole issue is creating a system of academic excellence,” Crane said. “We’re going to work really hard. We’re going to make mistakes... We’re going to be in a better place because we dare to do it.”
The public is invited to meet Crane during an open house sponosored by the Grand County School District next month. The open house will be held Aug. 15 at noon at the district office, 264 South 400 East.