Beginning a new school year is such an awesome experience – It’s great to see students returning to school while learning fresh perspectives from a re-energized staff. One of the things that I enjoy most is beginning the planning process for the next school year…in this case, the 2019 – 2020 school year. Because of the complexity of aligning all systems, processes, and resources, it takes a full year to plan for the September 2019 school-opening. There are many planning variables that we have to consider to ensure that the needs of our students are met, but it all starts with a public dialogue with our Board of Education concerning the goals and objectives of our community. On September 13, the Board of Education met to consider its goals for the 2019 – 2020 school year. Here are the goals that our governance team is considering:
A. Student Achievement Goals:
- CULTURAL and INFORMATION LITERACY for students who are able to conduct reliable research and apply their learning to real-world problems, discuss and debate human, cultural, and societal global issues, and appreciate different cultures and points of view;
- CONTEMPORARY LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS that are aligned with student-centered learning and address the structures of TIME (schedules); SPACE (facilities, classroom spaces, digital spaces 24/7, field experiences); STUDENT GROUPINGS (personalized interest-based learning in integrated settings) and ADULT GROUPINGS (how staff are grouped to support students);
- CIVIC LITERACY and SOCIAL AWARENESS through integration and promotion of the study of history, literature, current events, and human behavior so that students can understand complex social, civic, and political issues and make ethical choices that will have a positive effect on society.
B. Staff Development Goals:
- ACCOUNTABILITY will be promoted through a culture of transparency, all pedagogical and leadership job descriptions will be updated and procedures to evaluate extra-curricular clubs and leadership positions will be implemented;
- PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES will be improved by working collaboratively with the building and department leadership teams, Human Resources (HR) staff will establish training structures for instructional support staff, thus improving student experiences and other organizational outcomes, including the increased job satisfaction of staff;
- PROCESSES AND INTERNAL CONTROLS will be strengthened for the HR functions of the district and, to ensure the “continuity of effort” of the HR department, an updated procedures manual will be published.
C. Communication and Community Engagement Goals:
- SYNCHRONIZE the COMMUNICATIONS EFFORT by establishing a Communications Committee. This committee will be comprised of stakeholders from our staff and the community;
- FAMILY ENGAGEMENT CENTER COLLABORATION will be established to enhance the school-home partnership in support of student success. The goal is to increase parent participation in school-sponsored activities and initiatives;
- ENHANCE ACCESSIBILITY to enrichment services by collaborating closely with district administrators and special education and pupil personnel services. Facilitate the exchange of information with students and families (particularly for those who have limited or no access to technology at home);
- PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR) enhancement through increased outreach to community organizations by participating in more community-sponsored meetings and events. We will increase the number of meetings with key community groups and leaders to support collaboration between the school district and the community.
D. Health and Safety Goals:
- Embed SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL learning benchmarks into an enhanced, districtwide, comprehensive Guidance/Counselor Program;
- Improved FAMILY SUPPORT through the Family Engagement Center (FEC) to promote parental engagement and provide support to all our families Pre-K through College;
- ALLOCATION of RESOURCES for students and families will be strengthened by improved support networks. Establish lines of communication to strengthen our student and family support structures internally and by establishing a community partnership to enhance programs focused on mental health, substance abuse and access to related supports.
E. Continuous Improvement and Resource Management Goals:
- STRATEGICALLY ALIGN the five focus areas into a comprehensive, cohesive plan (Operation and Budget Development Process – detailed plan available in January 2019) that effectively supports the District’s academic vision and opportunities for growth;
- ALLOCATION of RESOURCES will be done in an efficient and cost-effective manner in order to continuously invest in district programs and new initiatives, maintain and improve district facilities and equipment, retain highly-qualified staff committed to the success of the school district while maintaining fiscal stability and sensitivity of tax increases imposed on our community;
- COMMUNICATE and COLLABORATE with all key stakeholders in the operational planning and budgetary process to inform higher quality decision making, develop a common understanding of the District’s vision, nurture a positive working culture, and ensure relevant and timely information is presented to the Board of Education and school community.