• Feedback Gathered at Strategic Planning Town Hall Meetings
    April 3, 2013 • April 4, 2013

    Meeting attendees were presented with an overview of the Long-Term Planning Process, the District’s Mission, Vision and Core Values and the steps of the Strategic Planning process and the results of the work (SWOT analysis and SWOT priorities) completed by the retreat participants last February. The group at each meeting discussed the SWOT analysis and priorities and provided their own feedback and perspective.

    General Feedback
    • Overall info is great … but what are the key areas of focus? (TBD)
    • The “backwards design” of this process is well done.
    • We must acknowledge that good things don’t always go together and maintaining a narrowed focused will require making tough choices.
    • The divergent focus of all of these issues could be confusing.
      • How do you address across the board and with consistency when many of these issues differ by level (PK-5, 6-8, 9-12).
      • Elementary/middle/high school are three very different environments.
        • Do objectives need to vary based on levels? Or, will the real breakout (by level) occur at the initiative level?
        • How you get there should vary from school to school.
    • How do you separate the academic support from emotional support?

    • VST is absent from the list. How to we ensure it continues to make an impact?
    • We are only as good as the curriculum we deliver to our students.
    • We must define the role and meaning of technology.
    • Where do the basic technology proficiencies integrate/incorporate into the curriculum? Keyboarding, Excel, etc?
    • What about increased learning outside the classroom?
    • What can we realistically develop/control in the PK-12 learning environment?
      • Solid foundation, challenge, love of learning?
      • We need to focus on what we can realistically do
      • Do we focus to many resources on things that kids don’t get until later in life?
      • The “rubber meets the road” in the actual doing.
    • How long do we wait to determine effectiveness?
      • Especially with curricular areas/follow-up on curriculum changes
      • Have a goal of specificity to determine if students are learning stuff they need to learn.
    • We must set expectations for time to invest in initiatives
      • Staff responsible for initiatives need to be picked based on time, expectations and skill set
    Feedback on Strengths
    • Emphasize that schools are about academics and rigor – this is a good thing
    • There is a difference between rigor and high expectations (4 vs 7 on strengths list)
      • Are they both encompassed by the Core Value of excellence?
    • Are the lists too long? How do we make sure we’re not just focusing on the same old thing and getting caught up trying to do too much?
    • High Quality teachers -> Can’t always be 100%
      • How do we address the gaps? (See weaknesses/threats)
    • Rigor should apply across the board and not just for honors/AP classes

    Feedback on Weaknesses
    • Do we risk undermining our strengths when we focus on weaknesses and threats? (Example: addressing stress by having “homework free” weekends)
    • Underperforming teachers – this needs to be on the list
    • Technology is all over the place (appropriate use of) and is on every SWOT list
      • What is the intent? Tools? Curriculum? STEM?
    • Teacher content knowledge and pedagogy expertise

    • There should be a standardized parent-teacher conference protocol
      • Learning goals should be clearly articulated during conferences/curriculum nights
      • How do K-8 parents conference with all teachers?
        • Homeroom/Team teacher isn’t always the teacher for everything
    • Programming for non-college bound students – “Where” vs “Are” you going to college?
    • Test scores seem to dip at the middle school level

    Feedback on Opportunities
    • What can we do to measure the growth of each child each year?
    • Public speaking is missing from the list
    • Keyboarding skills for PK-5
    • Facilities – are there things we don’t use?
      • How have new facilities impacted learning? Do we evaluate this?
      • Need to be conservative with facilities to ensure bang for our buck
        • Especially since we will eventually ask for a tax increase
        • Tension created when cutting services while people have the perception that we have such great facilities.

    Feedback on Threats
    • Acknowledge the tension (stress) between finances and teacher quality (e.g. hiring younger teachers to reduce expenses). Is this the right model?

    • What is meant by difficult parent? Where is the line?
      • Is this just a semantic issue (the word “difficult”)?
      • Difficult is a pejorative term …maybe “unreasonable” instead?
      • Is this about parents being difficult or about parents who monopolize staff/admin time?
    • Is a similar issue (^^^^) there with disruptive students as well?
    • Losing master teachers
    • Addressing the issue of underperforming teachers