Sunday, January 22, 2012

Strategic Planning Day #3

Day #3 began with a snow storm.  Despite the poor weather conditions everyone made it to Bryant University.  We set the tone for day #3 by watching the Dalton Sherman video.  We went back to our core problem groups to finalize goals and objectives.  On a side note, I had an excellent discussion with school committee member Al LaGreca and finance commission member Scott Robitaille around key financial issues facing the town.

Right before lunch, Bryant University Dean, David Lux spoke to us about globalization and what a college wants from a high school graduate.  Some key points from Dean Lux:

  • Globalization is not all about China but China does offer unique learning opportunities.
  • Colleges would like high school graduates to be better writers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers.
  • Think globally, act locally.
  • Thinking globally is a necessity for our young learners.

After lunch we analyzed our mission statement while a smaller group took the goals and objectives and streamlined them into a single document.  As a large group we discussed each goal and objective and "word-smithed" until we reached consensus.  This process was powerful but very slow.  After a great deal of debate, we reached consensus on five goals.

Our last task was to revise the mission statement.

Now that our three day strategic planning session is complete, the challenging work begins.  New groups will be formed to begin writing the action plans for each goal.

Strategic Planning Day #2

Day #2 started off with a review of data from the previous session.  Our facilitator answered many of the lingering questions that could not be answered on Wednesday.  As a large group, we began to identify core problems.  We were told that a core problem must affect a significant number of students and needs to be addressed if the district is to achieve its vision.  This created excellent discussion about the direction for the district.  

During lunch the 8th grade choir performed for the group.  Mr. O'Brien led a question and answer session with students about their experiences in school and what types of programs, technology and teaching they would like to see that would prepare them for the next five years.  The students discussed BYOD, transition to high school and additional hands-on learning opportunities.  

After lunch we split into smaller groups  so that each core problem could be addressed.  I chose flexible and student centered pathways.  We began the process of creating goals and objectives for this problem.  Our group discussed many topics, including full day kindergarten, virtual learning, and flexible pathways to graduation.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Strategic Planning Day #1

I have been invited to participate on the district strategic planning team.  I am honored to work on this project because of my role as high school principal and also because my children attend one of the local elementary schools.

We started our day with the superintendent sharing his vision and expectations for the district.  We met our facilitator from the Rhode Island Department of Education.  A few short videos on 21st century learning were shared with the group.  We spent quite a bit of time highlighting our success since the last strategic plan.  I am proud to share that most of the initiatives from the previous plan were achieved.

After lunch each group completed a data gallery walk.  This was a meaningful task that generated a great deal of discussion.  The data came from multiple sources both locally and nationally.  One significant piece of data regarding high school students focused on how our graduates fair in college.  SHS puts a high number of students into college but two years later a significant number of students are no longer enrolled in college.  This is an issue that we need to investigate further.

At the end of the gallery walk, each table reported out significant findings and asked clarifying questions.  The facilitator provided a preview of the next two days of work.

I found the first day pretty interesting.  We have a great mix of parents, teachers, administrators, and community members.  There are common themes developing around communication, professional development, infrastructure, and what learning might look like for our students five years from now.  I am also happy to see some modeling of technology.  For many in the group, it is the first time they are using an iPad, Elmo, or LiveBinder.  It was refreshing to watch a school committee member attempt to master the touch screen on the iPad.

Monday, January 2, 2012

This weeks resources! 1/2/12

All students have school on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

Some interesting articles to start the new year!

Midterm Exam Schedule

Midterm exams begin on Jan 24.  Check out the midterm exam schedule

SHS athletes earn Providence Journal All State honors

Congratulations to the SHS athletes earning Providence Journal All State honors.

Girls Tennis -

Field Hockey -

Girls Cross Country -

Boys Soccer -

Girls Soccer -

Happy New Year!

On behalf of the faculty and staff at SHS, I would like to wish all SHS families a Happy New Year!  We look forward to seeing all students on Tuesday, January 2, 2012.