Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Strategic Planning and School Mission

This is just a little post to get me back in the blogging game. The terror of the blank page has been getting to me a bit. Once the school year starts, the train is out of the station and it gets difficult to put coherent thoughts together.

Also, I'm working on getting the podcast going again, with a planned episode on what's going on with student services. I see some amazing stuff happening throughout the school, but I'm particularly pleased with the proactive direction we see our counselors and social workers going.

I've been thinking about leadership quite a bit lately, and we've had a good summer of strategic planning under our belts. After 3 day-long sessions with over 40 teachers, students, parents, administrators, Board members, and community partners, we're proud to unveil our new mission statement:

Educate * Enrich * Empower
Students and Communities 

There's a lot to unpack there, but the upshot is that we felt that the "E" words encapsulated what we want to do with our students and staff, and how we strive to extend out into the community.

As we discussed with our group, this strategic plan was designed to reset our district direction, and clarify (and simplify) our goals. Over the last several years, we've implemented one-to-one technology in the district, hosted numerous conferences and site visits, dealt with the impact of the PERA legislation, implemented (and thankfully de-implemented) PARCC, built a pretty robust multi tiered system of supports for students, and designed a system for eLearning days in the event of a school cancellation. This says nothing of the work that's been put in working with Project Based Learning, growth mindset, mindfulness, standards-based learning, design thinking, action research, and planning for impending construction throughout the district.

That's a lot. It's all good work, but we needed to refocus on the most pressing needs throughout the district. As a result, our three new school improvement goals:
  1. The District will develop confident problem-solvers through authentic and relevant experiences.
  2. The District will promote increased parental engagement.
  3. The District will enhance communication strategies and transparency with all stakeholders.
Again, lots to unpack here, but we have started to re-focus our School Improvement Team of each of these three goals. In the coming months, we'll be working on designing goals and strategies to make these goals a reality. It's exciting work, and I'm eager to see where our staff and students take us in the process!


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