Dear Families and Community,
It is time to give you an update about the great work that a Task Force has been doing this year, since last fall. Our District has been working our Strategic Plan, which we call the Collaborative Strategic Planning process. This is what has happened so far.
We started our work on October 20, 2014. The Task Force of 40 people, including representatives from every school, program and bargaining unit, gathered together to talk about our District’s accomplishments. Among the major accomplishments, we listed:
• Referendum Passing for New Elementary/High School Improvements
• Improved Student Behaviors through PBIS
• Marzano Model Implementation
• Increase in Available Student Activities
• All Day Every Day Kindergarten
• Unified Early Childhood/Access to Early Learning
• Renovation and Addition at North Elementary
• RTI at South Elementary
• Graduation Rates –highest in our region
• Programming for Special Needs Students
• Collaboration Time (Professional Learning Communities, Marzano Demonstration Schools, PBIS)
• Improved Test Scores
• Music & Fine Arts Options for Students
Next, the Task Force looked at all of our accomplishments, and we analyzed what actions we had taken to attain the above accomplishments. We came up with the following: Communication, Sustained Focus/Purpose, Effective/Shared Leadership with Delegation, Collaboration, Detailed Planning, Team Work, Positive Recognition, Passionate & Optimistic People, Sustainability, Support, Being Data Driven, Time/Resources, and Effort. We all agreed that these were actions that we need to continue in the future.
The Task Force identified future issues that we need to address:
District Facilities need to grow to include more early childhood programming and wellness areas.
Enrollment is stagnant. If it does grow, then we’ll need to adjust.
Online class opportunities and technology in general need to increase.
Early Childhood programs must increase for our District to remain competitive.
We need to attract and maintain high quality staff.
We must increase more 21st Century learning activities/preparation for students and staff.
We still need to increase achievement every year.
After putting together all of this information, the Task Force began studying recent assessments that have been completed. They looked in detail at our Enrollment Study, all of the surveys completed during 2013-2014 (parents, staff, students) and the Midwest Instructional Council Organizational Assessment. Findings included noting that there will be a slow, gradual decline in enrollment; families, students and teachers indicated a desire to increase achievement and communication; and curriculum needs to be aligned, along with assessments.
After all of this work was completed, in November and December, each of the Task Force Members went to their own stakeholders within the district, to get their input on our process. In all, there were 500 employees and 30 transportation contractors consulted. We amassed an enormous amount of data.
Then came a laborious process of making sense of the data. During the months of January and February, the Task Force set about looking at ALL of the data. It was an interesting, complex, complicated process.
One major theme was to use evidenced based instructional strategies and technology to shift to individualized programming, providing a wider range of offerings, to meet all needs.
Themes were distilled from the data, and Task Force members created Concept Papers. Draft Mission, Vision and Core Values were developed.
And now. . . we are ready to involve the community. On Tuesday, March 24, we will be holding a Vision Conference. It will be held at the Performing Arts Center at Princeton High School from 11:30 to 2:30. We have invited over 100 community stakeholders, and if anyone in the community would like to attend, we welcome your attendance. Please RSVP by contacting Kelly Bakker at Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 763.389.6198.
We are looking forward to hearing from the community. The Vision Conference will bring together external and internal stakeholders who will create a shared vision and plan for the future of Princeton Public Schools. Whenever we can bring together a large group of people who care about our District it helps to create a compelling and shared vision of our future!
Julia A. Espe, Superintendent of Princeton Public Schools