Message from the SuperintendentWe are currently in the middle of our process to update the district’s strategic plan for the next five years. Essentially, we are at the halfway point of a 10-year strategic plan journey.
The purpose of the strategic plan is to provide a roadmap for fulfilling the district’s vision: “Systemic academic growth to promote educational excellence and continuous improvement for every learner in a digital society.” It is extremely important that our school district revisits this plan on a regular basis to maintain alignment with our vision.
It is now the appropriate time to make certain adjustments to ensure the success of the second half of the strategic plan. In addition to our annual work plan updates in the areas of curriculum, professional development, technology and facilities, this more comprehensive update will continue to guide our pursuit of educational excellence.
We have already completed a parent, staff and student survey that has provided us with initial feedback information. Results show that our parents believe our strategic plan has been effective in all four areas. Between 77 and 89 percent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed about the plan’s effectiveness, depending on the category.
Over the next few months we will gather valuable feedback from district staff regarding what is working, what needs to be adjusted and what we want to be known for in five years. The internal feedback sessions include a prioritization process to give the district further direction on its halftime adjustments. I will share more information as district leadership groups modify the strategic plan based on data provided.
I would also like to share about a unique new initiative in our intermediate school.
Zero Hour Wednesdays involve starting classes an hour later than normal once a week. On a rotating basis, teachers either supervise optional student activities or spend that time collaborating with colleagues to examine their methods and results. Specific questions they consider are: 1) What do we want our students to know? 2) How will we know when they’ve learned it? 3) How will we respond if they don’t learn it? 4) How will we respond if they already know it?
This extra time devoted to professional development will result in more individualized student support, as well as improvements in programs and curriculum going forward.
More immediately, students are also profiting from the opportunity to try activities during Zero Hour that would not otherwise fit into their schedule. Some of the current options include Newspaper Club, The Growl, Engineering Club, Math Club, Dance Club, Arts and Crafts, Team Sports, and more.
Student feedback, reported by representatives at school board meetings, has been overwhelmingly positive.
In short, this innovative arrangement has proved enriching to staff and students alike, and has become a valuable tool in our efforts to promote educational excellence and continuous improvement.
Matthew W. Schoen, Ed.S. Superintendent