Embrace the future
On December 11, 2008 Marcy School's Site Planning Team held its annual meeting. Members included Ann Hayden, Tami Menting (both Marcy parents), Kaye Hunt, Tricia Mayer, Amanda Linstedt, Katie Smith, Pam Biron, Erin Pandya, Jen Emory, Lori Schlapman, Sue Haertel and Michele Trawicki. John Roubik served as facilitator. At that meeting, the Site Planning Team reviewed progress on three tactics developed in December of 2007. In addition, John Roubik gave an update on the district strategic planning process. Mrs. Trawicki reviewed data in the school profile and discussed briefly the building changes that have emerged beginning in August 2008. This overview provided the foundation for our tactic review.
Relationship to Strategic Plan
Mr. Roubik’s update of the district strategic planning process gave the team an overview of the future direction and emphasis of the school district. The work done on the mission statement is congruent with the work of our tactic two team regarding the Marcy vision.
Review of Data
The site team reviewed the WKCE data and district writing data that was provided in the profile. It was noted that the demographics of the Marcy community have remained stable over the last few years. The Marcy students continue to score well in comparison to district and state data. Although scores remain high, we have seen a slight dip in the scores. The most significant dip was seen in our fourth grade. This data was not a surprise to the staff. The fourth grade group has performed below the average consistently on district and state assessments. It is a grade level in which a significant number of students require additional support from special education and resource teachers. The team felt that the students have received additional services and we continue to work to maintain high expectations in a supportive environment for our students. When reviewing the challenges in our data, it was noted that we may need to look more closely at students entering Marcy in later years. Students that have been at Marcy since kindergarten score higher than students new to the school system. We also noted that another area of focus may be providing opportunities for children who perform well and would benefit from enrichment opportunities.
Progress on Site Tactics
The three site tactics on which Marcy staff members are working and a few of the initiatives taken in the past year include:
- Marcy students, staff and parents will attain the highest possible levels of achievement through the use of effective and innovative practices.
The primary focus of this tactic is to examine literacy practices, along with the use of teacher language, to best support literacy growth. The vision of this tactic includes examining our current practices, defining our core beliefs about literacy learning, identifying what effective literacy learning is, and aligning our practices with these beliefs. This will be accomplished through the on-going conversations with other grade levels to discuss and share ideas and strategies, working together as a whole staff in continuing our literacy growth, and applying new learning to our classrooms. Our first step included reading about the characteristics exhibited in the most effective teachers and classrooms.
- The Marcy community will actively embrace the Marcy School vision.
This tactic group examined the current Marcy vision to determine whether it met the current building needs. Did we like the vision? What doesn’t work? We looked at examples of vision statements in business and school communities. The team brainstormed possible revisions to the statement to include core beliefs. The team decided on a revised vision with consensus from the Marcy staff. The new vision states:
Embrace the future
- Students will receive the academic support they need through the creative and efficient allocation of time and resources by all members of the Marcy community.
This tactic was the most difficult to align with the direction of the Marcy staff. We felt this tactic had an intent that was too broad. The team decided that the tactic needed to be broken into smaller, attainable goals. The new goals are included in the next steps section of this update.
Next Steps and Actions
The Site Planning Team had the opportunity to reflect on the work of each tactic team and provide questions to help guide us through our next steps.
- The first tactic team has read and reflected on several articles about quality reading instruction. This has prompted the team to explore reflection journals in which every staff member will define their beliefs about high quality reading instruction. Once the beliefs are written, teachers will then align their classroom practices with their beliefs. This team will guide the staff through this process. Time will be provided at each staff meeting for reflection and conversation about beliefs.
- The second tactic team began its work this year by examining the current Marcy vision in comparison to the vision statements of Fortune 500 companies and other elementary schools. The team came to the conclusion that a vision statement must be short and powerful. After several months of work, a new vision statement was proposed and consensus was reached among the staff. The next step is for the team to unveil the vision to the parent and student community. Embedding the vision in the Marcy culture will be the focus for the rest of the school year and next year.
- The third tactic has undergone the most revision. We will add the following foci to the tactic three statement.
**The tactic three team will identify barriers, needs and resources available to support students at Marcy.
**The staff will revisit the process for monitoring student progress over time to include: new students entering Marcy after kindergarten, reviewing cumulative folders in spring and fall, better communicating student progress from grade level to grade level.
** restructure scheduling and the physical structure of resource department.
**continue research and learning about Universal Design to determine best practice in classrooms.
The site planning meeting was successful endeavor for the Marcy site team. We felt this process allowed us to challenge our thinking, look at ideas that are creative and cutting edge and reflect on the processes and procedures that work well. We are confident that our tactics will guide us in our next steps in providing the best educational environment for our students.