Delavan-Darien School District sets action plans
DELAVAN It's one thing to say, "We're striving to be the best."
It's another to create a tangible, step-by-step plan to become the best.
On Monday, members of the Delavan-Darien School Board and about 50 teachers, staff and community members listened to the district's strategic plan for the future.
More than 116 people from the district and the community were involved in the process, which was lead by Howard Feddema, a strategic planning specialist who has led almost 200 organizations through the process.
The plan was developed, in part, in response to community concerns about the culture and quality of the district.
In particular, parents had expressed concerns about student safety, test scores and district leadership and communication.
All those issues are addressed in the plan, which the district hopes to implement during the next five years.
"It was about tough conversations," said Jen Paepke, associate principal at the high school. "But we had to have those because of our kids."
The process generated five strategies, each designed to reach specific results. They include:
-- Creating positive collaboration between staff and administrators.
-- Strengthening teachers' skills.
-- Engaging families and strengthening partnerships in the community.
-- Identifying, modeling and reinforcing valuable character attributes.
-- Preparing students for successful lives after school.
Each of the strategies was accompanied by a list of desired results and action steps to help staff, students and families reach their goals.
For example, strategy calls for positive communication and collaboration between staff and administration. One of the results will be "no fewer than quarterly opportunities for face-to-face sharing information among administration, school board members and staff."
Nine action steps, such as "approve ground rules," "make sure all requirements of open meeting laws will be met," "share feedback" all are assigned to specific people to make sure the work gets done.
Overall, 32 plans for improvement were developed.
If approved by the school board at a meeting next Monday, district teachers, administrations and families will take on 12 of those 32 plans. They include:
-- A twice-annual "climate survey" to help evaluate communication, collaboration and leadership within the district.
-- Exit interviews for all employees.
-- Curriculum throughout the district will be tied to what educators refer to as "common core standards." These are a set of rigorous academic standards that were developed to be a nationwide standard.
-- The district will work to ensure that all communications with families is offered in English and Spanish.
-- Character attributes "valued by our community" will be identified and be the basis for character education.
-- Implement career curriculum in grades 9-12.