Superintendent's Blog

Developing Coherence at SOCSD

Strong community coherence and commitment to shared goals is a guiding principle for improving student learning outcomes at SOCSD.  A few years ago, we developed a vision statement that expresses our desire to ELEVATE, ENGAGE and INSPIRE students by building a culture of:

  • High expectations where students will possess the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for a variety of post-graduation options.
  • Healthy, productive, and supportive relationships between students, staff, families, and the community.
  • Equitable access to opportunities in order for students and staff to pursue their full potential as responsible citizens and lifelong learners.

To this end, we recently invited students, staff, families and community members to reflect upon the vision statement and share the three words or terms that represent aspirational goals which they believe should be at the heart of our school district’s mission. If you haven’t done so already, Please take a moment to read the message to the community and complete the short survey.

It is important to note that the vision statement is firmly rooted in the research of Richard Elmore’s Internal Coherence Framework.  The Coherence Framework suggests that the essential interaction between teacher, student, and content creates the basis of learning and is the first place that schools should look to improve student learning.  We used this research to develop the “ELEVATE, ENGAGE, and INSPIRE” vision which is much more than just a motto or a slogan. This vision is built upon a framework that creates the conditions for continuous improvements in our schools.  In plain English, the vision statement is an expression of our aspirations to: 

Elevate – We are promoting student readiness through our work with our Curriculum Council and Building-Level Teams (BLT).  An elevated curriculum is one that is relevant and meaningful and reflects our commitments to college and career readiness and promotes equity, opportunity, and access for all students.   

Engage – We are developing a cadre of teachers who are highly skilled at delivering engaging instruction through our efforts to recruit, evaluate and retain high-quality staff members.  Recently, our teacher leaders and administrators met to engage in the process of data inquiry. We are actively engaged in the analysis of root causes and are eager to explore further how to better engage students in the process of learning.  A special thanks to our District Coordinator of Data, Assessment and Accountability, Ms. Jeanne Corcoran for her leadership towards a more meaningful approach towards data use. 

Inspire – We are encouraging our students to become inspired to make the world a better place as a component of their learning.  There are all sorts of examples of our SOCSD students who are actively involved in serving the community through co-curricular (interscholastic sports, academic teams, music performance) and extracurricular involvement (student clubs and activities).  Most recently, we have seen the efforts of our students participating in humanitarian and not-for-profit fundraising through the Powderpuff Football Game, FIRST Robotics Competition, and the “service components” of the many honor societies at our secondary schools.  A debt of gratitude is due to our community members who generously support these student endeavors with their “time, talents, and treasures” and to our Family Engagement Center (FEC) Coordinator, Ms. A.J. Walker. 

So…where do we go from here and how can the community become further involved (if you haven’t done so already)?  Well, at its January 23 workshop, the Board of Education will continue to develop and refine its mission statement as it relates to making us more cohesive as a community of learners with an emphasis on promoting and protecting our “Instructional Core.”  To make this meeting as productive as possible, again, we need your participation and want to hear from you. Please take a moment to read the message to the community and complete the short survey at:

https://blogs.socsd.org/2016socsd/2019/12/06/board-reflects-on-climate-culture-and-mission/

Thank you again for your continued support of our schools and I look forward to sharing updates on this important work.

 

Reference:

Richard F. Elmore, School Reform from the Inside Out: Policy, Practice, and Performance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Press, 2004)

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