Dear ColleaguesAs we approach the end of our school year, I wanted to express sincere appreciation for your work and give you information related to some important organizational and budget decisions. We have a lot to be proud of as we continue to receive results demonstrating the varied successes of our students and witness first-hand the collaborative, professional work in our schools.
Many of these Updates in this year and last have attempted to make sure that you understood the purpose and rationale for changes we have made in our principal and teacher evaluation system. Simply put, we felt that we had dedicated and talented people. Our belief was that if we could build a system anchored on meaningful and reflective goal-setting and a commitment to learning with and from each other, we would have innovative and collaborative school cultures that enhance the rewarding and professional experience of staff, and that bring great learning opportunities to our students.
In this regard, I can’t be more inspired and quite simply awe-struck by the work that our school teams have done this year. Your professionalism and dedication to the mission of serving children is incredible. More than anything else, there has been such significant effort around learning together and giving each other feedback about strategies and methodology. The environment of trust, mutual support and commitment to quality teaching and learning that has to exist for this kind of meaningful collaboration is simply not the norm in schools throughout America.
While everyone gains from such a culture, you could argue that our youngest teachers benefit more than any. When I hear our newer teachers talk passionately about what they have learned and how that will set them on the path to discover more about their practice next year, I can only imagine how much they will positively affect the learning outcomes for thousands of children through a rewarding and successful career.
Most importantly is that our students are the beneficiaries. Fine arts recognition, AVID student success, record-setting science research and robotics awards, exemplary CTE and JROTC competitive outcomes and varied academic measures where the positive gap between our students and their state and national peers got bigger (STAAR, ACT, SAT, AP, National Merit Semifinalists, Presidential Scholar candidates, etc.)—all happen because of the teaching and learning work done in our schools every day. On behalf of our children and our community, I want to say “thank you” for your commitment to the work and to each other.
In our most recent board meeting, our trustees approved the administrative recommendation to provide a 3% pay increase for all employees while at the same time increasing contribution for employee health insurance by $20 a month. Additionally, a request to provide funding for the utilization of retirees in substitute roles to provide additional planning time for teachers at every level was also approved. These actions certainly represent that our trustees also recognize the great work you do every day for Plano ISD and ultimately for the 55,000 children we serve.
Looking ahead, we will be moving forward with our plan to expand some of the same reflective goal-setting work explained above to many of our non-teaching employees in both schools and departments. We know that everyone’s work is important in helping Plano ISD make a positive difference for our children. With that being the case, it seems obvious that everyone should be supported in the same type of reflective learning and mutual support connected to their daily mission. If we set our sights on being a learning organization, and we have, then it makes sense that everybody learns—and we have an obligation to help make it meaningful and successful. We will provide that guidance and ongoing assistance. Just as noted above, our students will ultimately be the beneficiaries of this work as well.
Finally, I will remind all employees that we have a short district survey for both teachers and for other employees that asks for your feedback related to important strategic plan efforts. We really do want to have your input and opinions on these important questions. We use this feedback at both the district and the school level in critical planning and decision making. Thank you if you have already responded and for those who haven’t, we will keep the survey window open through June 30 to give you the chance to provide your important feedback to us. These surveys can be found at:
- Teachers: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KLQQQBK
- All other employees: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2H3WD2Q
I hope that everyone enjoys our students’ last week of school, and I wish for you a fantastic and restful summer.
Dr. Brian T. Binggeli
Superintendent of SchoolsSuperintendent's Update | May 26, 2017