Return to Headlines

National Speaker Touts Smarter, Positive Sharing of Local Education Endeavors

Jamie Vollmer National Speaker Touts Smarter, Positive Sharing of Local Education Endeavors

August 19, 2016 – Nationally known speaker on public education, Jamie Vollmer, visited West Ada School District on Wednesday for a back to school kickoff held for district staff at Centennial High School. Vollmer conversed with audience members on the challenges schools face in modern education, encouraging smarter and positive sharing of what goes on in schools so the community better understands the successes and needs of children.


“We need to build a conversation which increases understanding. Then, when you increase understanding, you begin to increase trust… And then with trust, which is the lubricant, we can begin to change things,” Vollmer shared in his lecture.


Mounting expectations placed on schools to add more instruction, from hygiene practices in the early 1900s to social media etiquette more recently, Vollmer shared was cause for concern when considering what “the basics” of an education is anymore. According to Vollmer’s study of modern education, the typical school year schedule has not changed in many decades. Though calendars were not his worry, it was the rate at which students are asked to learn a specific volume of information within a school year.


When school starts back there is a faint “tick, tick, tick” of the clock in the back of every educator’s mind, Vollmer explained. “When you hold time as the constant, quality is the variable. Fact of the matter is, all across America we have got a system designed for an America that no longer exists. We’re going to have to rethink all of it – not because you’re not working hard, not because you’re not doing a really good job given the circumstances – we’ve got to change it because we cannot produce what we need.”


Educators were charged with leading better communication with the public about the goings-on of their schools and students. The Five S’s are a strategy Vollmer designed to encourage smarter and more positive communication about our school communities. These steps are: 1. Stop the trash talking in public. 2. Shift your attention from the negative to the positive. 3. Share something positive. 4. Sustain the effort. 5. Start now.


“Our schools are doing so many great things. We need to talk about what is going on in classrooms across our district so that people can understand the amazing learning that it taking place,” West Ada School District Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Ranells said.


Vollmer’s career did not begin in the public education arena, but rather in law and manufacturing. It was in his former career, leading Great Midwestern Ice Cream Company, Vollmer became involved with the Iowa Business and Education Roundtable. After many experiences, both as a business leader looking in on education, and a person observing the actualities of a school system, Vollmer now travels the country sharing how communities are shaping the direction of education for their future generations.


The lecture and adjoining benefits fair for West Ada employees was sponsored by CapEd, Hewlett Packard and Unity Health.