Making Today Count: Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year!
We are off to another great start to the school year. Students arrived to school on August 28 with a mixture of emotions – enthusiasm, nervousness, and the excitement that accompanies something unknown and new. What will my new schedule be like? Will my friends be in my classes? What will my new teacher(s) be like? Will the work be a lot harder? Will I do as well as last year? What if …??
With several members of our District Office administrative team, I spent the first day of school visiting classrooms and welcoming students and staff. The newness of that first day held unbridled excitement– a fresh start for students, parents, and all school staff.
Over the past five weeks, we’ve already embarked upon some of our district initiatives. The iPads have been distributed to designated grade levels of students as part of our district-wide K-12 mobile learning initiative. And there are more iPads to be distributed in early October. Teachers spent many hours in professional development this summer preparing for the use of iPads in the classroom. This is the beginning of a multi-year plan for using technology to enable students with the skills necessary for effectively living and learning in the 21st century. In many ways, we are truly preparing students for jobs that have not yet been created.
Another initiative for the 2017-2018 school year involves the development and implementation of science/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics) labs and curriculum for students in grades K-6. With the establishment of STEAM labs in four of our six elementary schools (labs will be coming to the remaining two schools), our teachers and supervisors are working hard to create curricular resources and materials that are consistent among the schools and accessible to all students.
Some additional initiatives for the 2017-2018 school year include (but are not limited to) the creation of a Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework for grades K-6, and a new district Comprehensive (Strategic) Plan. MTSS is a structured, multi-tiered system of support for students that uses specialized curriculum resources and interventions that are consistently implemented throughout all district elementary and intermediate schools. Our Comprehensive Planning process will integrate core elements of MTSS and identified priorities into the school level and district level plans.
We are also rolling out a new district-wide Communication Plan, the culmination of data gathered from an online survey provided to school staff, parents, and the larger community. The Communication Plan holds four (4) key goals to drive district communication efforts. An important part of those efforts involves obtaining student voice and perspective, grades 7-12, on educational programming, extra-curricular activities, and overall student life. I will be providing more information about these initiatives, and others, in upcoming blog posts this school year.