Dear Colleagues,As promised, this is the first of four weekly updates that will walk through our Strategic Plan elements. As you may already know, the School Board has for years established two major goals for the district. They are:
- Ensure continued improvement in student learning
- Ensure efficient use of resources
It is hard to argue with the direction of these two goals. While they are very important, they are also broad. If they are going to more directly affect planning and action, there needs to be some specificity of purpose to better guide our work.
In my efforts to meet with hundreds of internal and external stakeholders, I included conversation related to what it meant to people when we spoke of improving student learning and using resources efficiently. These reflections were brought back to our Cabinet where we worked to develop "Operational Expectations." These expectations, four under each goal, are designed to bring both clarity and direction as we make critical organizational decisions. Below are the eight Operational Expectations that emerged out of this process.
Student Learning 1.1Maintain high expectations for all students through creative and effective instructional delivery, rigorous learning outcomes and a focus on eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps 1.2Foster student acquisition of 21st century skills 1.3Provide quality, diverse programming that maximizes choice and provides students with a personalized, well-rounded education 1.4Focus on responsible citizenship by developing and recognizing character traits of integrity, ethics, empathy and service and a strong appreciation for all people and cultures Efficient Use of Resources 2.1Demonstrate fiscal responsibility through efficiency and mission-driven priorities 2.2Attract and retain highly qualified staff and focus on strengthening the capacity of all employees 2.3Provide students and staff with high quality, safe and productive learning environments 2.4Maximize community connections to strengthen, support and promote our educational mission
I would like to make a few important points regarding these expectations. First and foremost, they keep us of the organizational belief that "student learning" has to be guided and measured by far more than any state testing.
Student acquisition of 21st century skills relates to learning outcomes that we know our students will need no matter what their future occupational aspirations. These involve being able to communicate effectively, utilize multiple data sources to solve significant problems—both individually and in collaboration with others, think critically, use technology in powerful ways, etc.
Obviously, Operational Expectation 1.4 is about helping students understand that the responsibilities of citizenship go beyond following the law. In this life, we can and should serve something greater than ourselves.
As far as using resources effectively, it is important that we all understand that it is more than being efficient and prioritized with our finances—although that is very important. We must see effective investment in building the capacity of our employees, as well as in the environments where they work and students learn, as critical components of strategic resource utilization. Finally, our community at-large should be seen as one of our best resources.
As you might recall from the chart that was included in my introductory Update, our Strategic Plan "golden thread" ends up with Outcome Indicators. These will be used to help us longitudinally measure our success. They have been developed through a significantly inclusive process that I will share in three weeks. What you should know is that they tie specifically back to these eight Operational Expectations.
As is noted on the chart, these expectations represent the "what" element of operationalizing our strategic plan goals. The "how – culture" element comes in the form of a small number of Operational Beliefs. I will share what those are, how they were developed and how they will guide our work in my next update.
Until then, I once again thank you for all that you do in the service of 55,000 students.
Dr. Brian T. Binggeli
Superintendent of SchoolsSuperintendent's Update | February 12, 2016