Author: Andy Wilson
I love knives, and I have a collection of pocket knives that I’m a bit proud of. I received a gift card for Christmas, and knowing that I would be leaving Roscoe Collegiate ISD at the end of January, I decided to purchase a new pocket knife that would commemorate my time in the district. I wanted something unique, so I decided on a Deejo knife sporting a black blade with a lighthouse etched on it. There were many different items that I could choose from to have etched on the blade, but the lighthouse reflected best my time at Roscoe. The purpose of the light house is to provide sailors a means to navigate as well as a warning about potential dangers.
My last five years with Roscoe Collegiate ISD afforded me the opportunity to see first-hand the power and purpose of being an educational lighthouse to others. As a demonstration site, RCISD was charged with showing others the innovations that the district had implemented. After conducting over 50 tours and hosting nearly 200 people, it became obvious to me that “seeing was believing.” In fact, one university official stated that he had heard about Roscoe, but he had to see it for himself to believe. That person became one of the district’s strongest advocates. We were also fortunate enough to host our local state congressman and senator, our U.S. congressman, and two Texas education commissioners. However, the most important people that we hosted were the teachers and administrators from other school districts. They were the explorers looking for a vision, a means, and a model to follow in order to provide the best possible education for children back home.
In my new role with Collegiate Edu-Nation, I have had the opportunity to hear school administrators talk about their visits to Roscoe. They say things like, “we had a hard time picturing what innovation would look like in our district, but seeing Roscoe helped us imagine what we could do back home,” and “we visited other districts, but they weren’t like us; when we visited Roscoe, all of the pieces fell into place.” Roscoe Collegiate has long been the model for rural school innovation, but that is a task that is now being shared by others. Just as a sailor will see many light houses as he travels up and down the coast, educators will soon be able to see models of rural innovation around the state. It has been exciting to watch Cumby Collegiate, Hamlin Collegiate, Throckmorton Collegiate, Floydada Collegiate, and Sunray Collegiate ISD’s begin to light the way for others to follow. Shine brightly so that others will see what is possible for rural students across the state and nation!