Strategic Memorandum

  

Final Draft

 

This Memorandum has been prepared by the Strategic Planning Team of Minnesota School District #542.  It is a work in process commissioned by the District’s school board and reflects findings and recommendations to elevate the academic, co-curricular, financial, and organizational underpinnings of the school over the next several years.   The information provided in this memorandum is intended to provide clear communications to the various constituents of School District #542, drawing upon a widely held shared-value that our school is the cornerstone of our rural community, and will be strengthened by wide community support of a compelling strategic plan. Any questions related to this document may be directed to Superintendent Mr. Jeffrey Drake at jdrake@battlelake.k12.mn.us.

 

 

 

The date of this memorandum is June 8, 2008


Table of Contents

 

Planning Background

Independent School District #542

Planning Approach and Frameworks

Strategic Planning Background

Planning Instrumentation

Situation Analysis

Enrollment Trends and Projections

Financial Situation and Projections

Test Scores

Parent Focus Groups

PSEO Student Interviews

Other Observations

Future Situational Research

Strategy Assessment

Hedgehog Assessment

Strategic Triangle Assessment

Target Market Identification and Assessment

A Shared Vision for School District #542

Visioning Background

Vision of School District #542 in Five Years

School District Long-Term Goals

Stated Goals Related to the Vision

Key Measurements (Work in Process to be completed in summer 08)

Strategy Development

Enrollment and Financial Recommendations

Curriculum and Whole Product Team

Communications and Community Team

Facilities and Capital Improvements Team

Organization and Culture Team

Implementation and Next Steps

Implementation Overview

School Board Recommendations

Administrative Recommendations

Committee Recommendations

Next Steps

 

 


Planning Background

 

Independent School District #542

School District #542 is a well-regarded public school system that serves a large geographic area in Otter Tail County in central Minnesota. District #542 is known for its complete offering which includes Pre K-12, and college coursework.  The school offers expansive co-curricular and fine arts programming, strong athletics, and a national caliber FFA and environmental studies program. In addition to its core curriculum, the district provides complete Early Childhood Development, School Readiness and Community Education services.  The population in K-12 is approximately 500 students.

 

The mission of the district is:  

 

“Striving toward educational excellence in a safe, respectful, accepting environment; preparing all students to meet the challenges of a changing world.”

 

The Superintendent is Dr. Charles Cheney, and the High School Principal is Mr. Jeffrey Drake. There are approximately 37 faculty members on staff.   The district employs a total of 86 team members.

 

The district is served by a six member elected board, consisting of:

 

Barry Bergem, Chair                                        Joyce Herbranson

Paul Ness                                             Brenda Mathiesen

Theresa Ukkelberg                               Emily Larson

 

More information about the school demographics, administration, curriculum, and faculty may be found on the school’s web site:  http://battlelake.k12.mn.us/index.html

 

In March of 2008, the district’s school board resolved to complete a strategic planning process to provide clear vision, goals, and a strategic context for the next several years.  The board committed to a process that will elevate its strong school system to even greater outcomes for district students.   The process is designed to identify key challenges, trends, opportunities, and academic innovation to achieve these outcomes.  

 

At a fundamental level, the school board established several over-arching goals for School District #542:

 

  1. Preserve the strong fund balance position
  2. Restore lost district enrollment
  3. Refine curriculum and methods to improve academic results
  4. Prioritize and improve the District’s “whole product”
  5. Consider innovative academic concepts to transform open enrollment to an ally
  6. Enlist broader community support and involvement
  7. Improve the District’s brand and market exposure
  8. Integrate school concepts with area economic development
  9. Improve team culture as a leading indicator of future success
  10. Align facility investments with “whole product” priorities

 

The remainder of this document outlines the planning process, the current situational context, and strategic recommendations to achieve these goals over time.


Planning Approach and Frameworks

 

Strategic Planning Background

School District #542 is regarded as a strong district, which establishes an excellent foundation for planning.  Radical and urgent change was not an expected outcome, but rather transformation and innovation were addressed to leverage the district’s existing strengths and untapped assets.

 

The school board secured the services of a consulting firm to facilitate planning process, bring rigor to strategic plans, and outline practical implementation of the plan. North Point Professionals is a global, consulting firm with offices in Battle Lake, Minnesota. North Point has provided strategic planning to several non-profit entities with great success, including other schools in the region.

 

North Point utilizes a highly collaborative process involving participants from across the School District’s stakeholders, including; board members, administration, faculty, students, and community members. The Planning Team included:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

Planning Instrumentation

At the heart of the planning process is a modified version of the McKinsey Consulting “7-S Model” for organizational excellence.  This well-documented planning framework is a used in the private sector to incubate new companies or divisions, launch new products, pursue organizational excellence and plan for complex initiatives.   The model – with minor adjustments – is suitable for strategic planning in the public sector as well, as it begins with a powerful process to establish shared vision, which becomes bedrock for concise strategy and organizational development.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the front of this model are the most important components of any great organization – a compelling sense of mission and vision. This is fundamental to strategy formulation and teamwork. The model draws upon Peter Senge’s remarkable guidance on shared vision in his book, The Fifth Discipline.

 

The model also draws upon several instruments found in Good to Great by Jim Collins, including the useful Hedgehog assessment to determine optimal focus and economic performance in an organization.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, the process incorporated Strategic Triangle disciplines to pinpoint the needs of the District’s target student segments and refine its “offerings” to ensure value and differentiation as a leading academic institution in the region and state of Minnesota.

 

 


Situation Analysis

 

This section of the document attempts to provide a quantitative and qualitative portrait of the school’s situation.  Clearly, it is not intended to be a composite analysis of every attribute of the School District #542.  The strategic planning process did not include a budgeted research component; therefore, the following sections reflect information and findings that were assembled from publicly available data, structured interviews, and focus groups. 

 

Given that context, North Point worked with the district’s administration and stakeholders to derive situational perspective in the following areas:

 

ü      Enrollment trends and projections

ü      Financial situation and projections

ü      Historical test scores

ü      School board perspectives

ü      Parent perspectives

ü      PSEO student perspectives

ü      Other random observations

 

Throughout the situation analysis, it will be important for the readers to view data and findings in the context of the question “How does this fact or perspective affect the goal of producing prepared students?”

 

In any organization, there are leading indicators that foretell future outcomes (e.g. “pupil enrollment level” is a leading indicator to “budget surplus or deficit level”, or more complex relationships such as “faculty satisfaction level” as a leading indicator to “student satisfaction” as a leading indicator to “student test results”).

 

There are also lagging indicators, like ACT scores, that portray outcomes. Although it is important to monitor lagging indicators, they have the inherent disadvantage of speaking to history. 

 

To achieve organizational excellence, it is important to determine the school’s “key” leading and lagging indicators, establish benchmarks and goals related to them, and monitor them on an ongoing basis.  It is especially important to gauge relationships between the indicators to enable corrective adjustments before problems or issues arise.

 

Special Note:  Given that a Situation Analysis has a natural orientation toward critical thinking, the readers of this document should be advised that issues and challenges will naturally be amplified above the many strengths of the School District as the team seeks to improve its overall offering. 

 

School District #542 is an excellent institution, with a desire to become even better!

 


Enrollment Trends and Projections

Recent pupil enrollment for the 2007-2008 school year was at 505 pupils, with next year projected in the 470 range, and further declines projected. School District #542 is experiencing declining enrollment due to several factors. First, population demographics are changing in the district.  Surrounding townships are growing rapidly, however it is largely driven by seasonal and retirement population, most without school age children. Second, open enrollment has caused a net pupil loss to surrounding districts and to post secondary enrollment options. There is also a significant non-convenient, economic factor for parents.  Parents commuting out-of-the-district for employment may find it convenient to transport kids to schools near their job destination. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another view of the enrollment situation is “enrollment capacity”.  Essentially the district has an “organic capacity”, or the number of students residing within the district that “could attend” District #542. Organic capacity, plus the number of students that enroll into District #542 from other districts, could be viewed as the total “enrollment capacity” (e.g. 628 = 583 + 45 in 2008). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The current situation would suggest District #542 is experiencing a significant erosion of its organic capacity of pupils, therein affecting the overall net enrollment (e.g. net loss of 81 pupils in 2008).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a driving factor in the strategic planning process, as enrollment is the fundamental leading indicator of the school district’s economic model. State funding correlates directly to pupil enrollment.  We have a great school and must determine how to retain students and restore lost enrollment by adjusting the “whole offering”.

 

This enrollment situation is somewhat paradoxical.  Families are ecstatic about living in the lakes area and raising kids in such a positive environment.  However, the demographic realities of an aging population will yield a decline in district pupils over time.  This fact, combined with a shortage of jobs locally and commuting to the regional employment centers, has an impact on overall trends.  District #542 is encouraged that Lakes Area Development Association will attract working families, but the District must adjust its own offering to affect the enrollment loss trend line. 

 

Financial Situation and Projections

The declining school enrollment is having detrimental budget implications in the district, and has required prudent financial management over the past few years to maintain a positive budget position. 

 

Fortunately, the school district has been operating with a positive fund balance.  This surplus was created by an operating levy referendum more than 10 years ago.  The balance was approximately $1,500,000 at the beginning of the 2007-2008 year.  During the current year, the district operated at a $293,655 deficit in general operations, leaving a projected balance of $1,253,722 in the spring of 2008. 

 

Budget cuts for the 2008-2009 school year have been determined and approved by the Board, with an intention to minimize the operating deficit to the $250,000 range during the next school year, and sustain the fund balance surplus, while student enrollment is expected to fall to 477 pupils. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The table shows the projected fund balance assuming that current year budget cuts are simply carried forward, and enrollment numbers align with projections.  No further budget cuts or deeper enrollment losses have been assumed in the table.  The planning process addressed fund balance preservation with a combination of enrollment recovery, budget reduction readiness, and a future operating referendum.

 

Aside from the demographic and economic factors in the environment, a key element of the planning process focused on identification of factors within the district’s model that may be influencing enrollment losses, and establishing plans to preserve and restore pupil enrollment in the short-term. 

 

Test Scores

The essential mission of a school district is to educate and prepare its students for college and careers.  Ideally, a variety of quantitative and qualitative measures should be utilized to determine if desired outcomes are being realized.  And preferably, those measures would be a combination of leading and lagging indicators that are highly predictive to those intended results.

 

Various testing results were assembled to provide certain quantitative perspectives; however, there are inherent historical issues with some data, given recent changes in Minnesota’s testing paradigm.

 

The primary testing data was derived from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests.  These tests are administered in grades 3-12, and involve math, reading, science and writing.  One issue with the MCA was a lack of student motivation in higher grades, as originally these tests were not used as criteria for graduation.  The tests have been revised, and will have greater relevancy going forward.  As such, the MCA results do not bear significant historical validity, and must be viewed as relevant in only the most recent school years.

 

In reviewing recent math and reading proficiency, the data would show that District #542 achieves exceptional testing results in K-3 at 98% proficiency, in fact the highest ranking among a dozen area schools. However, a decline occurs in both MCA reading and math during 5th and 6th grades.  Reading proficiency appears to plateau through graduation, whereas math proficiency continues to decline. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a comparative basis with other schools, this decline is not as concerning as District #542 is in line with other institutions.  Comparatively, reading test scores fall from a 98% proficiency in K-3 to a 70% mark, and temporarily below other schools in the area in 5th and 6th grade.  Similarly, the district outperforms all area schools in math proficiency in K-3, yet experiences a decline in grades 4-6.  This decline, although less steep, continues through graduation. 

 

District #542 will address the 5th and 6th grade “pivot-point” with an objective to reverse trends and elevate test results above area schools and state averages through high school and graduation. 

 

The ACT is a standardized, national test used to assess college and vocational readiness.  It has been used within School District #542 for many years.  The results indicate that Battle Lake students have performed slightly below Minnesota averages on the ACT for eight of the past twelve years. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are several observations that can be drawn from the results.  A smaller sampling of students in Battle Lake took the ACT a decade ago.  This selectivity may partially explain the higher scores compared to state averages in the mid-90’s.  However, recently the profile of students taking the test in the district nearly mirrors the state profile, thereby minimizing the impact of “sampling differences”. 

 

The district’s administration has also observed that few District #542 students score in the high 20’s on the test in any given class year, and rarely does a district student score above 30. 

 

Further examination of specific academic disciplines tested within the ACT provides further insight on the results.  The drop in scores can be loosely correlated to English and Math performances on the test. 

 

It is likely the district is experiencing a lagging indicator in the English test score outcomes related to attrition and turnover in the English department during the 2004–2007 testing periods.  The planning teams addressed ACT testing preparation, with specific emphasis on curricular gaps in the district correlated to concepts on the ACT that are problematic for district students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Board Perspectives

The following section highlights several perspectives from school board members who were not members of the formal Planning Team, but were sought out for contributions prior to the process commencing.  A structured session was held on March 18th with three board members and resulted in the following perspectives. 

 

The board members discussed the distinct sociological changes related to current generations, specifically how they communicate, how they use technology to do so, and their acclimation to a variety of media.  As board members, they wanted to know how the faculty and curriculum has or will be influenced in the future by these profile changes among students. This commentary extended to a question regarding faculty and administration’s time, exposure, and training on technologies that may enable relevant learning approaches.

 

They also expressed a point-of-view that some students were not challenged by the high school experience. (Note:  this concept was expressed in other stakeholder venues as well, with the term “boredom” used in several instances).  These board members acknowledge the dilemma of trying to implement tailored academic paths for students within a scheduling model that feels constrained.

 

The board members also expressed a concern that as leaders, they do not possess an adequate understanding of trends in education. They desired that perspective to equip them to support faculty, innovation, programs, and to make key decisions in the future.

 

Commentary was offered regarding the school’s culture.  The board members were desirous of a stronger collaboration across the district that resulted in a broad sense of ownership for the school.  They were clear to make a distinction between “excellent people” and “teamwork”.  They believe the district has excellent staff and community members, but would like to see greater levels of collaboration.  In the same context, they wondered if teachers are supported well enough in their professional development to become better educators.

 


Parent Focus Groups

Structured, facilitated focus groups were conducted with 24 parents from across the district in two sessions on March 27th.  They were intended to solicit feedback on ten questions spanning:

 

ü      Aspects of the school they were pleased with and could differentiate the district

ü      Assessment of appropriate “balance” in the school’s offering – emphasis areas

ü      Perception of the school district in the region

ü      Preparation of elementary children for junior high

ü      Preparation of high school students for college, vocational education, and careers

ü      Degree of technology usage within the district

ü      Trends or issues the district should be addressing during the next five years

ü      Job market changes that should influence education in the future

ü      Challenges that administrators will face during the next five years

ü      Primary expectation from a school if you were considering a move to Battle Lake

 

Overall, parents surveyed were very satisfied, and expressed appreciation for the small class sizes, opportunities for student involvement in co-curricular activities, a balanced education, and a caring faculty.  They see District #542 as a strong school system.

 

The following parent commentary describes points of improvement derived from the focus groups, but again should be weighed in the context of a highly satisfied parent group that did not voice any points of tension or concern, which is quite unusual for randomly selected focus groups.  The following suggestions were offered with a tone of constructive improvement for a strong school system.

 

Parents desire communication improvement from the school district in some select areas.  Specifically, they would like the counselor to become more visible to parents; specifically related to high school class scheduling guidance, career paths, college evaluation and selection, and scholarship availability.

 

Parents would also like to see consistent utilization of technology, with specific reference to faculty consistently using the web site to post grades and assignments.  The use among faculty appears to be quite varied, and a source of frustration among parents.

 

A very revealing observation, and perhaps somewhat rationalized, is that pure elementary parents were surprised by certain things high school parents knew about or participated in at the school.  There was a general confusion at several junctures among these parents.  It was almost as if there were two separate school districts represented, and there were often comments like, “oh, I wish I would have known about that”.

 

Parents were generally concerned about the overall health of the school district and wanted to know why enrollment was declining, and what the district was doing to market the strengths of the district and recover lost students.  There was also interest in plans to attract new families to the district.

 

A topic related to enrollment was the current pre-school program.  Several families in the focus groups had previously enrolled their children in the district’s School Readiness Program and were disappointed.  Two of the families now transport their children to pre-school programs in Fergus Falls.  The facilitator noted a concern that such an occurrence gives district families a reason to transport their kids out of the district, which may evolve into an established routine as these kid enter elementary.  Pre-school will be evaluated as a strong feeder program to the district’s free kindergarten offering.

Several random tactics were offered by parents that have relevance to the strategic plan, such as a “Counselor’s Corner” in the BL Review, orientation for 7th and 9th graders that are making significant school transitions, the high degree of interest for a Parent-Teacher Organization and community involvement in the school, and structured research regarding student enrollment losses, and marketing the school (especially during the summer season).

 

PSEO Student Interviews

As cited earlier, open enrollment – at the current time – is a detractor from the school’s economic paradigm. In an effort to understand the underlying reasons leading students to leave the district during high school for alternatives, North Point conducted several interviews with students who have chosen the post-secondary enrollment option.  It should be noted that PSEO students represent a very small percentage of the overall open enrollment defection to other school districts; however, the number does equate to approximately 10% of the current senior class in the Battle Lake district. 

 

It is North Point’s observation that the district may not have preserved the PSEO students, and should not focus considerable energies in that regard during the short-term, primarily given the high weighting of independence and financial factoring for such students. 

 

However, there are some PSEO observations that “may be” relevant across the broader student population, such as academic challenge, relevant application of curriculum and methods, and class selection variety.

 

The method used to interview these students was a structured and consistent survey tool completed by each student.  In some cases, personal interviews were conducted to clarify certain perspectives. The instrument assessed the value of the PSEO experience for the student, degree of financial motivation, personal and academic goals, college prep experience at BLHS, degree of challenge at BLHS, and the timeframe when PSEO consideration began.

 

In summary, the underlying motivations of these students to pursue PSEO could be summarized in two primary factors.  They all “wanted more” from their educational experience, and in some cases the financial attractiveness was a significant factor.  On the latter point, PSEO essentially allows a student to attend college for up to two years while in high school, with the cost largely covered by the Minnesota student funding that follows the student to the college institution of their choice.  The financial element for these students would be difficult to contradict for the district; however, we can learn from the “wanted more” comments.

 

The feedback provided by the students clarifies what “wanted more” from their academic experience meant.  First, they all desired more challenging academics.  A qualitative assessment of their responses by the surveyor would indicate that in all but one of the surveys “more challenge” did appear legitimate, as they exhibited eloquent and thorough expressions of their logic.   

 

The concept of experience was very consistent.  These students desired coursework that was more challenging and provided direct application to what they were learning.  Specific examples were offered.  In one case, the dollars saved on two years of college tuition was used by the student to travel on educational seminars.  This was a high impact experience for this student.  The primary takeaway in this regard was the importance of engaging and relevant experiences beyond the traditional textbook.

 

Several other factors, with a lesser degree of uniformity, were also cited.  These students were seeking more independence.  This was expressed in a variety of forms, ranging from lack of maturity levels in high school and desiring more respect from staff members – to be treated as adults.  These students were willing to give up high school to achieve the experience they desired.

 

Other Observations

During the gamut of research, interviews, focus groups, and initial planning meetings across the stakeholders of the district, it is North Point’s observation that certain culture and communication obstacles exist in the district which could impede improvement and plans for innovation. 

 

Although there are highly capable and caring people in the district, there are distinct pockets of fragmentation.   Although fragmentation may not diffuse excellence in specific classrooms, it appears to be impacting a common sense of team, communications, and even cohesive curricular programming. 

 

Future Situational Research

This situation analysis was accomplished with guerilla tactics, often amassing publicly available information, and conducting qualitative research.  In the future, North Point would recommend two additional types of useful qualitative research to coincide with long-range planning.

 

ü      Existing Parents:  Input and satisfaction related to the entire district offerings

ü      Former Graduates:  Input regarding preparedness for college and careers

 

Additionally, the Planning Process assessed the district’s complete offering, with intent to evaluate its strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in a pursuit of a “valuable and differentiated” offering for target students.  This assessment of the “whole offering” was relegated to an important – but qualitative review – among the Planning Team members. 

 

Ideally, the district’s offering would be evaluated discretely, comprehensively and quantitatively – per subject and program – by stakeholders across the district with a routine survey instrument to monitor value and results of the whole product. 

 

A useful example of such an approach can be seen in the 2007-2008 annual report of the Math and Science Academy in Woodbury, MN.  Such instrumentation and discipline would give the school board, administration, and faculty strong decision-making insights that corroborate with other quantitative testing outcomes.  (Detail available upon request)

 

 


Strategy Assessment

 

Hedgehog Assessment

Great organizations understand their paradigm, strengths, weaknesses, and strategy gaps incredibly well and continually reinvent themselves in the pursuit of excellence.  During the planning process, District #542 performed an abbreviated assessment of its own operations.  The Planning Team utilized proven strategic assessment instruments. 

 

One such assessment instrument is the Hedgehog Concept from the best selling book, Good to Great by Jim Collins.  The finest businesses of all-time share a common trait – an intricate understanding of their strategic model – and like the literal hedgehog (groundhog), use such thinking to drive a simple and tireless focus on the primary elements to sustainable success.  Essentially these organizations intimately understand three things about their model, and the important intersection of those three things.  They apply attention and refinement to the point of intersection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School District #542 performed a “hedgehog” assessment of its own model, incorporating the relevant addendum from the Collins Group to address public and non-profit organizations, which naturally lack the profit motivation of private businesses.  The assessment gave considerable insight to the school’s current operations and how they must transform in the pursuit of integrated excellence.

 

Hedgehog Assessment

Today

Future

What Drives Our Economic Engine

Pupil enrollment, primarily from within the district, and marginally from adjacent districts

Restoration of organic enrollment and attracting new students with innovative and valuable academic offerings.

What Are We Passionate About

Co-curricular events

A school system that uniquely prepares young people for success and confidence in life, learning, and vocational pursuits.

What (Are We) Can We Be Best At

K-3 academic results, FFA and environmental studies, choir, certain athletics, and caring for kids

A tailored pathway for each student that is defined by a caring culture, innovation, relevant experiences, academic excellence, and student success.

 

 


Strategic Triangle Assessment

Every organization must understand the needs of its ultimate consumers – and their alternatives – in an effort to serve them effectively.  A school system is no different, as it must clearly understand its target student segments and develop a “whole offering” that addresses them better than alternatives. 

 

A whole offering is everything about the school’s offering to students and their families in the district.  That would include such things as: academics, faculty, administration, facilities, co-curricular programs, coaching, reception, communications, food service, transportation, Etc.

 

A great school must understand how to create superior “value” relative to the things that are important to students and their parents, and do so with “differentiation” (uniqueness) in contrast to schooling alternatives. 

 

Essentially, school leaders must determine how to “be better than competition at what’s important to students” by thoroughly understanding and optimizing their whole product. That was precisely the work of the Planning Team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In doing a general assessment of the district’s strategic triangle, we essentially asked the question, “If we viewed the district’s whole product from a current student perspective, and again from an outsider’s perspective, how would the attributes of the offering appear to them?”   

 

Simply said, what are our strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the whole offering?

 

Strengths

Average

Weaknesses & Gaps

Strong elementary

Free kindergarten

FFA program

Science curriculum

Choir program

Caring, safe school

Small class sizes

Complete co-curricular

Class selection

Accessibility to teachers

Facilities and maintenance

Residential construction

Visible community leadership

Athletics overall

Overall test scores

Community’s image of school

ECFE / School Readiness

Financial management

Leadership and teamwork with staff

Fine arts overall

 

 

 

 

MCA test scores in late elementary

Fragmented faculty groups

Lack of unified curriculum K-12

ACT scores

Lack of teacher time for innovation

Limited staff development

Scheduling restrictions

Rigidity to change

Parent communications

Marketing the school district

Limited volunteer opportunities

English turnover / results

 

Proper reaction to this strategic assessment is important. It is essential that leaders and faculty within the district do not personalize certain things – either those that are very positive or those perceived as weaknesses.  It is essential to process the items in terms of priority.  In strategic terms, it is important to recall the Hedgehog Concept.  Great organizations do not try to be “the best” at everything.  Great organizations are astute at understanding their markets and isolating the most important (strategic) things they can and must be the best at, and focus relentlessly on those things rather than be random and average at many things. 

 

In a school system, there will certainly be those things that must be done because they are required.  However, there should also be those things the district galvanizes as priority that receive elevated attention, innovation, resources, and measurement. 

 

Our strategies, found later in this plan, seek to strengthen the district’s “whole offering” to serve our target student segments as we pursue excellence.  We will do this with a focus on certain strengths, addressing some of the noted gaps, and leveraging many of the natural assets available in our model with innovative academic approaches.

 

Target Market Identification and Assessment

The school district serves several student segments, and the primary emphasis in the strategic plan will be to identify how to elevate the offering to serve the district’s organic population even better – both currently enrolled and open enrolled students.  

 

The district will also focus on the pre-school segment to ensure a relevant offering, and create positive experiences as an entrée to the elementary program.

 

The district will seek academic innovation and marketing to reach students outside of the district that will have an affinity for the District #542 whole offering.  In the future, this reach will extend to students well outside of the district who will have a preference for an innovative liberal arts foundation with applied math, science, and the arts at the core.

 

In all segments, it is essential to contrast the district’s whole offering to the requirements of the students and parents within those segments to ensure “value” and “differentiation” relative to alternatives they may choose.

 

 

 

 


The following table is a summary of what the school district has determined about its target student segments.

 

Student Segments

Their Priority Needs

What We Must Offer

How We Will Be Unique

Pre-school Students and Parents

 

 

 

 

§       Age appropriate curriculum

§       Readiness for K

§       Socializing / interacting

§       Small class size

§       Convenience

§       Review class size – need Small, stratified classes

§       Curriculum unity with K

§       Marketing as prep for K

§       All day options

 

§       Marketing

§       Offer busing

§       Pair with Headstart

§       Pair with daycare

§       Academic as well as social

§       K curriculum unity

Existing Students K-6

 

 

 

 

 

§       Keep the learning challenging

§       Create passion to learn

§       Continual math process

§       More phy.ed

 

§       Small class size

§       Integrated Math

§       Continuous Math K-12

§       Courses on: getting along, conflict, comm.

§       Playground restructuring

§       Identify learning styles

§       Gifted & talented options (Math Masters, Project Challenge)

§       Elementary choir

Existing Students 7-12

 

 

 

 

 

 

§       Prep for post-grad

§       Stronger math skills

§       Stronger reading skills

§       Social needs –belonging

§       Success in something

§       Confidence

§       Balanced curriculum

§       Strong math / science

§       Relevance / application

§       Strong co-curr. activities

§       Social / emotional needs being met

§       Advisement

§       Counseling

§       Tailored HS pathway

§       Academic advisors

§       Homeroom

§       Well-rounded curriculum

§       Applied learning

§       Inspired learning

§       Fine arts integration

Open Enrolled High School within the District

 

 

 

 

 

 

§       Convenience

§       Parent job location

§       More freedom / options

§       Independence

§       College offerings

§       Marketing of the Value

§       Communication to parents 

§       Communication from student to student

§       Regular public relations

§       Removing convenience obstacles

§       Inspired educational opportunity

§       Fine arts integration

§       Personal success of each student

§       Tailored education per student

§       Applied learning

Adjacent Districts –        Open Enrolled High School

(Intermediate Term)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elevated and challenging education as a unique preparation for college.

TBD:  An exceptional applied science and engineering curriculum.  Co-curricular programming.

TBD:  The Academy at Glendalough.  Exceptional integration of science, biology, mathematics, experimentation, ecological studies within the context of a superb District #542 School District.

Out-state Districts –      Open Enrolled High School

(Intermediate Term)

 

 

 

 

 

Elevated and challenging education as a unique preparation for college.

TBD:  An exceptional applied science and engineering curriculum. Co-curricular programming.  Housing. Surrogate family services.

TBD:  The Academy at Glendalough.  Exceptional integration of science, biology, mathematics, experimentation, ecological studies within the context of a superb District #542 School District.

 

 

 


 A Shared Vision for School District #542

 

Visioning Background

School District #542 is a strong school with a legacy of providing an excellent academic service to its stakeholders.  There are various economic, demographic, and academic challenges outlined in the Situation Analysis, which must be considered as we envision and realize a stronger school in the future. 

 

Fortunately, District #542 has an array of assets in its students, faculty, community and environment to refine the current model, and also apply significant innovation to achieve these outcomes.  Over the course of several weeks, meetings, and iterations, the district Planning Team framed up a compelling vision for the school in the future.

 

Uniqueness of Shared Vision

Although “vision” has become standard fare in the corporate realm, the Planning Team at the school district has a completeness of thought, vision, imagination, and purpose that cannot be relegated to a one-time exercise or a simple vision statement.  The district has embraced a thorough, articulated, and shared vision to foster a unified sense of purpose across all stakeholders. 

 

This type of vision is conveyed by Peter Senge – author of the best selling book, The Fifth Discipline. 

 

A shared vision is not an idea….it is, rather, a force in people’s hearts, a force of impressive power.  It may be inspired by an idea, but once it goes further – if it is compelling enough to acquire the support of more than one person – then it is no longer an abstraction.  It is palpable.  People begin to see it as if it exists.   Few, if any, forces in human affairs are as powerful as shared vision. 

 

At its simplest level, a shared vision is the answer to the question, “What do we want to create?”

 

A shared vision is a vision that many people are truly committed to, because it reflects their own personal vision. 

 

The Planning Team for the district has articulated a vision of “what we are seeking to create”.  It’s not a mere vision statement.  It’s more than that. It’s a word picture – with meaningful explanation – of a preferred future that we can visualize in our minds-eye over the next several years. 

 

It’s intended to be shared across all stakeholders in the district with openness and completeness.  It should be used to guide tough decisions and trade-offs that are certain to emerge. This vision will be tempered and refined as we learn through experience.

 

The shared vision will serve as the backdrop to develop our goals, measures of success, key strategies, and marketing to drive our school in the future.

 

Things of greatness are created twice; and the first time is in the imagination. 

 

 


Vision of School District #542 in Five Years

 

Over-arching Vision

Student individuality will become the centerpiece of School District #542.  We hold to a strong belief that each student possesses unique abilities – sometimes obvious and at other times hidden or latent.  Our vision is to transform our educational model to an innovative Pre-K through Grade 12 system that identifies each child’s unique learning style, enables academic and co-curricular success, and develops successful students within their tailored pathways. 

 

Our vision is to provide a “whole product” in District #542 designed to nurture a student’s abilities to produce a confident graduate, whether it is found in the arts, academics, athletics, or social networks.

 

Our school provides a balanced education for its students.  We will build upon that bedrock in the pursuit of excellence.  Our environment will portray a heightened respect for intellectualism.  Our children will exhibit excitement about thinking, learning and solving problems.  In a changing world, with a gamut of new economic, technological and sociological changes, our educators intend to embrace transformation and provide our students with an outstanding preparation for life. 

 

At the end of the day, we will deliver a unique blend of the “Three R's" in our visionary model.  We will become known for retention, relevance, and relationships as we serve our students.  We envision a school where students of all ages are proud of their education and educators.

 

Academic Approach

Our vision will be accomplished with a liberal arts approach that is built on a core foundation of math, science, and fine arts.  These core disciplines will be emphasized early for a variety of reasons. 

 

Beyond the gamut of career options associated with math and science, research has shown that these disciplines form a strong foundation for logic, public speaking, music, and artistic expression, which will be a powerful combination our students will carry with them for life.  Over the next several years, our students and community will realize the academic benefits of correlating the arts with the more technical disciplines.  This liberal arts approach will capitalize on the inherent environmental and artistic culture in the lakes area, which will differentiate our academic paradigm.

 

Our integrated curriculum must address students early and be supported with continuity through graduation.  Our School Readiness program will become stratified to specific age groups to identify individual strengths, learning styles and challenges as we prepare these students for a fast start in the kindergarten curriculum in District #542.  We envision School Readiness that is attractive and convenient to the lifestyles of a population that is highly mobile. 

 

Our academic approach builds upon our strong math and reading outcomes in the K-3 years, with a complementary and integrated curriculum through grade six.  We expect our students will exhibit increasingly higher math and reading proficiencies in grades 4–6, and will be confident and prepared for the important academic and social transitions in junior high school. 

 

Our pursuit of curriculum continuity insists a deep level of integration between disciplines in high school. We expect to create meaningful integration points between math and science studies, drawing upon an axiom that “mathematics is the language of science”.  Re-ordering of curriculum sequences will become commonplace as our faculty discovers points of intersection in their courseware.

 

We will introduce philosophy courseware, which will foster critical thinking and reasoning skills.  This blend of logic and processing will establish an outstanding platform to develop cogent written and oral communication skills, which will be relevant to many college, career, and life pursuits.

 

This approach to an integrated academic experience for our students will complement the offerings in our vocational discipline as well.  The trades can springboard from strong math and science concepts, especially as they are applied to engineering, drafting, construction, forestry, conservation, and wildlife management among other things.  Our faculty in the math, science and vocational curriculums are anxious to leverage countless points of alignment in their courseware.  Such relevancy will elevate Battle Lake as an icon for academic innovation and student satisfaction.

 

To accomplish these objectives we foresee a modified block scheduling approach in the high school to allow greater diversity and class electives for students.

 

The district's faculty, administration and counseling professionals will ensure tailored curricular paths for each high school student.  Individualized planning will cater to the college-bound graduates, and also those headed for a trade or vocational program. 

 

Academic Outcomes

Ultimately, our vision extends far beyond graduating prepared students.  The intended outcome of a relevant education will be effective citizens, leaders, and life-long learners. 

 

At the highest level, our Board of Education will monitor a set of academic indicators as a barometer of effective policy management. Likewise, the school’s administrators will formulate common team goals for the district staff that will elevate teamwork, curricular innovation, intellectualism, student satisfaction, and outcomes.  These things will become the common language of a district team.

 

We believe relevance in education will produce students who are capable and motivated to produce strong testing results.  Testing will be approached with anticipation as our students will lead the region with their performance; however, we will resist too much emphasis on “teaching to the tests”.  Our students will understand the importance of such results to their graduation standards and careers, and will be prepared to test well. 

 

Our integrated curriculums from preschool through graduation will incorporate the appropriate concepts to enable strong test results.  Concepts that are regularly found in the ACT college entrance exam will be prominently covered within the high school coursework to ensure our college-bound students compete well for placement and scholarships.

 

Academic Innovation

We will accomplish our academic and social goals in creative ways to apply curriculum concepts. 

 

We will deviate from the traditional classroom with an elective lecture series and a “J-Term” over time.  Our students would attend lectures, apply critical thinking in workgroups, and prepare brief essays and presentations reflecting their applied knowledge.

 

On a similar thread, our students will be exposed to industry, professional firms, and government to foster application, experience, and relevancy.  Many lessons of math, science, and vocational application can be experienced in the context of businesses, organizations, and government.

 

Unlike many small communities, our area is endowed with highly accomplished retired professionals from around the world.  Our instructional methods will incorporate guest speakers to address specific themes such as technological innovation, entrepreneurship, health, medicine, art, music, and physical fitness. 

 

Our math and science focus also lends itself to a unique educational partnership with Glendalough State Park.  The close proximity of this resource represents a golden opportunity for certain academics and physical fitness to be built upon environmental and ecological experience.  This will draw out the inherent intrigue, inspiration, and creativity from within each student, in a way that only the environment can do.  Initially, District #542 will use the newly renovated Trail Center for classroom instruction.

 

A lofty vision would foresee an Academy at Glendalough.  This concept would incorporate the natural assets of the State Park and construct new educational and biology labs within a Park Visitor Center Complex in cooperation with the State of Minnesota, while leveraging all the existing assets of District #542.  This will result in a showcase “school within a school” so-to-speak. 

 

Our vision logically contains an element of technology innovation.  However, we are not insistent on technologies that may be “in vogue in society”, but rather technologies aligned with application and experimentation within our model of learning, such as; engineering tools, music synthesizing software, specialized microscopes, water testing tools, and experimentation kits needed in specific coursework.

 

Co-curricular Priorities

We envision co-curricular activities on the pathway to confident students; maturing as men and women that are learning work ethic, teamwork, success, expression, and socialization.

 

During our planning process we assessed what the district could “be best at” and what it was “passionate about”.  Unanimously, athletics and certain elements of FFA and the fine arts are sources of passion. 

 

In the future, we do not envision a diminished passion for co-curricular involvement, but rather augmenting that spirit with passion for the things “we must be best at”.  “Best” means that we envision a school that has 90 – 95% of students participating in a co-curricular activity, and ideally more than one.  This level of involvement will be driven by an encouraging staff, faculty, coaches and parents.

 

As a school pursuing excellence, we must prioritize our co-curricular programs as well.  Like all great organizations, we will support our core programs with intensity, and likewise accept certain peripheral programs as “good enough”.  To do otherwise will breed broad mediocrity. As investments are made in faculty, facilities, and systems, we will emphasize the academics and co-curricular programs that will elevate our “whole product”. 

 

Certain co-curricular programs form the core.  Just as our vision has cited key elements in the academic realm, we understand them in our co-curricular programs as well.  The Fine Arts will be elevated as our students become part of an expressive liberal arts experience.  Our strong FFA program will be amplified given the increased usage of Glendalough.

 

Athletically, we envision that our strongest sports will continue to receive prominent attention.  We anticipate our high performing students will bring great success to the field of play. 

 

Network of Support

Pursuit of success for each student will be fostered by caring relationships. We understand that kids face many socialization challenges while they are students.  It is our vision that faculty, administration, and counselors will be prepared to enable healthy processing and learning as students face these challenges.  This is a matter of principle in our culture, not simply counseling resources or time.

 

Our vision calls for an adviser-advisee program in the high school.  This is designed to foster direct connections between faculty and students beyond the normal interactions that occur in the classroom.  Such a model may incorporate a home room concept, which enables a faculty member to observe students on a regular basis and establish meaningful relationships.

 

It is our intent that each of our students knows a faculty member who truly cares about their success, and becomes a “trusted advisor” during their time at Battle Lake Public School.

 

Organization / Culture

We envision a staff that is unified – equipped with individuality and excellence – and driven by a set of common goals in the school system. 

 

Our culture will be strengthened by a system that allocates time for collaboration and innovation among faculty members, and rewards team outcomes, especially as it pertains to stronger integration of coursework across disciplines.  Our district will encourage professionals to be life-long-learners. 

 

Communications

The linkage between District #542 teachers and parents will be strengthened over the next several years. In the elementary grades, we will encourage direct interactions between parents and faculty to ensure learning is supported by the family unit.  In the high school, consistent use of InTouch will be implemented among the faculty to enable parents to affect academic outcomes ahead of test outcomes.

 

The visibility of the high school counselor will also be elevated for parents, to ensure college preparedness, placement evaluation, scholarship availability, and day-to-day counseling.

 

The District #542 brand will be improved over the next several years.  Public relations routines – perhaps using a volunteer “writers’ guild” in the area – will expose the region to the many positive elements of the Battle Lake school system on an intentional and regular basis.  We expect the brand to be an icon for educational excellence in the area, and our enrollment numbers to exceed projections.

 

Community

Our vision will be supported by community capability and capacity.  One key item learned in the planning process is that School District #542 possesses a massive untapped reservoir of parent and professional volunteers.  We will implement routines for these willing and ready volunteers to add capacity to our district staff.  This may result in a “volunteer coordinator” role to inventory the various experiences and availability of our community members, and map them to needs within the district. 

 

We will draw upon “significance” as our system of payment.  We are quite certain our community members are motivated by the success in a child’s eyes, discovering a natural truth, growing in confidence, or overcoming a life-long obstacle. 

 

We also envision an active Parent-Teacher Organization to support our vision.  This organization will take a prominent role to enlist community involvement, support our teachers, and provide recognition to faculty. 

 

Enrollment and Financial Strength

The School District will build upon its history of strong financial management.  To do this, we envision heightened attention to restoring lost enrollment by delivering a combination of a superior educational experience and complete marketing of that reality. 

 

We also envision a new educational foundation starting up over the next few years to support the school system.  This will be done with community involvement, and within the guidelines of Minnesota law pertaining to educational institutions.

 

Facilities

Our School District maintains excellent facilities; however, we understand they are simply resources to “support” the work that our faculty completes with our young people.  In the future, we will continue to modify, improve, and add to our facility resources to ensure our environment is conducive to teacher and student success.  As we determine facility needs, we will align decisions with the priorities in our “whole product”. 

 

We also will consider land acquisition to mitigate playing field limitations – space and safety – in several of our prominent spring athletic and summer recreation programs.  We also foresee a surfaced track to support a program that has grown immensely during the past few years, and forms a core to other programs. 

 

The remainder of this document will elaborate on the strategies to realize this vision over time.

 


School District Long-Term Goals

 

Stated Goals Related to the Vision

At a fundamental level, the school board established several over-arching goals for School District #542:

 

1.       Mitigate the projected financial operating shortfall

2.       Preserve and restore district enrollment

3.       Refine curriculum and methods to improve academic results

4.       Prioritize and improve the District’s “whole product”

5.       Consider innovative academic concepts to transform open enrollment to an ally

6.       Enlist broader community support and involvement

7.       Improve the District’s brand and market exposure

8.       Integrate school concepts with area economic development

9.       Improve team culture as a leading indicator of future success

10.   Align facility investments with “whole product” priorities

 

Key Measurements (Work in Process to be completed in summer 08)

Many plans fall short by simply stating goals, without determining appropriate measures of success.  It is particularly important in School District #542 to establish unifying vision, goals, and a scorecard that inspires teamwork and collaboration.  The Planning Team has gone to great lengths to ensure that our students and stakeholders will be served with results.  Even if we fail to achieve all measures and goals, we will have visibility to our shortcomings and will adjust our plans and strategies accordingly.

 

 


Strategy Development

 

Strategy Development Approach

The approach to developing strategy involved small planning teams, each with a discrete focus.  These teams were organized around broad thematic areas, and were expected to determine relevant strategies and tactics to achieve the vision and goals.

 

The primary strategy teams were:

 

1.       Enrollment and Financial Strategies Team

2.       Curriculum and Whole Product Team

3.       Innovation Concepts Team

4.       Communications and Community Involvement Team

5.       Organization and Culture Team

6.       Systems and Facilities Strategy

 

The time horizon given for strategy and tactical development was three years, even though the vision cast for the district was five years.  Tactics outlined for the 2008-2009 school year were detailed, with a decreasing level of detail as the time horizon moved out.  Establishing detailed tactics beyond a three year time horizon is ineffective.  

 

Systems-thinking requires an understanding of inter-relationships between tactics. All strategies and tactics were evaluated in terms of “inter-dependency” and “resources”.  

 

Noting such interdependencies raises the probability of effective implementation, and will alert administration to the need for plan modifications if assumptions change over the course of the plan.

 

 


Enrollment and Financial Recommendations

 

Team members

 

Rick Bleichner

Jan Eitzen

Elizabeth Klintworth

Dan Malmstrom

 

Fundamental Strategic Issues and Opportunities Addressed

1.       Implement strategies to extend the fund balance surplus

2.       Mitigate the deficit spending model

3.       Preserve existing enrollment

4.       Attract and restore lost enrollment

5.       Determine budget reductions / additions aligned with enrollment revenues

6.       Make plans for a potential operating referendum

7.       Determine capital funding plan for facilities and system improvements

8.       Establish an educational foundation

9.       Creation of a metrics and Scorecard for District #542 staff aligned with goals

 

Overview of Strategic Recommendations and Expected Outcomes

This strategy section addresses the financial performance and enrollment strategies related to District #542. Specific attention has been given to enrollment restoration, operating expense levels, capital budgeting, financial modeling systems, and scenario planning to guide potential capital and operating referendums in the future.

 

Strategic Detail:  Enrollment and Financial Team

 

Strategy:  Implement budget and enrollment strategies to extend the fund balance and mitigate budget deficit

 

Commentary:  District #542 maintains a fund balance that currently exceeds $1M.  Without further budget cuts or enrollment increases over the coming years – even when considering our annual operating deficit – this fund balance would carry District #542 approximately three and possibly four years into the future.   The objective of this strategy section is to determine tactics to extend the fund balance further into the future, which may alleviate an operating levy referendum to replenish the balance, or delay it for several years.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Continue strong fiscal management

·          Set budget metrics and period specific goals

·          Develop additional 2008-2009 budget cuts with trigger points if budget goals are missed due to enrollment declines mid-year

·          Develop 2009-2010 budget cuts / additions to align with enrollment results during the year

08-09

Board approval

Supt.

Completed on a yearly basis – revisions done as needed based on class enrollments.

Preserve current enrollment during 2008-2009

·          Determine key positive messages to existing parents

o         New vision and compelling plan

o         Elementary strengths

o         Innovation at Glendalough

o         Tailored pathways

o         Teacher / student mentoring

o         PTO

o         Volunteer model

o         Etc.

·          Communicate regularly with detailed messaging to existing parents using a variety of media; Paper, web site, letters, flyers home, public relations, Etc.

08-09

Marketing kit

Supt.

2 faculty meetings with the faculty and 1 meeting with the community to introduce the district’s vision and strategic plan. 

Elementary strengths – testing scores, staff & student celebrations.  Press releases.  MAEF.

Glendalough – presses releases, 2009/2010 schedule, use of the park. 

Tailored Pathways – robotics, critical thinking, service leadership, career education, Mandarin, ethnic foods,  music appreciation, art appreciation,  entrepreneurship, Teacher/Student Mentoring:  advisor/advisee.

PTO – 2010 goal.

Volunteer Model – 2010, P.S.E.

Communicate regularly – being done, Instant Alert, Test Tracker, In-Touch Online, electronic grade books, superintendent’s columns, counselor’s corner.   

Achieve lost enrollment restoration during 2008-2009

·          Research and rank top three reasons for attrition

·          Profile families within those top three factors

·          Determine messaging, approach, and communications

·          Utilize messaging from the “Preserve Current Enrollment” tactic, but personalize the approach

08-09

Marketing kit

Supt.

Personalized letter/survey  and visits with families.  Letter sent out in August 2008.  District brochure was designed and marketed.  LADA membership.  Exploring off campus housing for potential foreign exchange students.  Sister city exchange with Korea. 

Increase potential free and reduced student count thus increasing compensatory revenue.

Fall 08

 

Secretary

 Carol sent letters and made personal phone calls.

Pursue various educational Grants

·          e.g. ECFE program, rooms, and equipment

·          e.g. Glendalough PT faculty grant

Sum 08

Grant writer

Community Ed/volunteers

Toshiba grant received.  Lakes Region Arts grant received.  EMA Greenprint grant applied, but did not receive.  R.D. Offutt $500 grant received, Carbon Cutting grant - $500 received,  Arvig grant this spring.  History grant – Jenny Roisum received through Lakes Country Service.

Strategy:  Incorporate scenario planning to determine the need and timing of an operating levy referendum

 

Commentary:  Depending upon the success of compensatory revenue increases associated with enrollment recovery, along with practical budget reductions, an operating levy referendum may be needed to subsidize the budget with a replenished fund balance. The intent of the following tactics is to incorporate strong financial analytics that will produce financial scenarios based upon “variables” such as enrollment, fund balance, budget cuts, etc.  These scenario tools will allow modeling of the variables to accurately project financial outcomes and depletion of the fund balance, and predict the timing of a levy referendum.  The communications plan associated with this strategy will begin conditioning the public in 2008-2009 about the potential for an operating referendum, complete with tactics that attempt to mitigate or delay it, such as budget reductions, grants, and enrollment increases. 

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Develop 5 year enrollment/budget tools to create accurate financial visibility based upon variables in the model

§       Assemble a financial committee

§       Inventory the variables that will impact the financial model during the coming years; such as state funding, enrollment numbers, budget numbers, inflationary factors, new operating expenses, etc.

§       Build an Excel Pivot Table analytical tool to manage and modify the variables to produce scenarios for administrative and Board of Education review

08-09

Excel and financial resource volunteers

Supt. / Finance Committee

3 year projection is in place.  “What If” model used.  Region 1 revenue projection model. 

Build financial scenarios by modeling the variables based upon projected results, best case, and worst case over five years

08-09

Excel tools completed and tested

Supt./ Finance Committee

3 year projection in place.

Determine the projected timeline for fund balance depletion and operating referendum need based upon Board of Education consensus on the most realistic scenario

08-09

 

Supt./ Finance Committee

3 year projection in place.

Develop a multi-year, multi-tactic public communication plan ahead of a “potential referendum”

§       Utilize a communication committee

§       Determine timeline

§       Outline key and sequenced messages

§       Determine appropriate methods (meetings, PR, letters, Review)

08-09

Communications Committee & integration with Facilities Committee & timing

Supt.

To be discussed as a strategy with budget committee and school board as a whole. 

Begin communicating with the public regarding the financial outlook, and current measures attempting to mitigate the need for a referendum:

§       Budget reductions

§       Enrollment preservation

§       Enrollment attraction

§       Academic innovation

§       Etc.

08-09

Communication Committee, messaging, and schedule

Supt.

 Ongoing – community events, faculty meetings, LADA, facilities committee meetings. 

Continue referendum communication plan as needed

09-10

Communication  Cmtte.

Supt.

In progress.


 

Strategy:  Assist to establish an Education Foundation

 

Commentary:  The district will work within the community to determine the best approach for developing an educational foundation – either a foundation solely focused on education, or a fund within a broader community foundation that would earmark monies for educational purposes.  In either case, such a foundation would not be perpetuated or managed within District #542, but rather would be supported with assistive tactics.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Determine community foundation plans related to LADA, LACC, and other local NFP’s that are considering fund raising

09-10

Community foundation development

Supt.

Ongoing. 

Assist to provide alumni marketing contact information

09-10

 

Supt.

 LADA   & Marge Quammen – gathering contact information.

Evaluate use of a #542 alumni newsletter to solicit contributions

09-10

Communications team plan for newsletter

Business Mgr

In progress.

Facilitate financial contact points between foundation

09-10

 

Business Mgr

 

Strategy:  Create performance metrics and scorecard for District #542

 

Commentary:  We need to “inspect what we expect” to happen in the district during the next several years. As outlined, we have several important financial, academic, and enrollment goals.  Our baseline must be clearly established, appropriate metrics determined, and annual goals set for each metric.  Communication systems must be put in place to ensure all relevant stakeholders – faculty, parents, and Board of Education – have high visibility to our collective progress.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Establish a District #542 Scorecard

·          Review Vision and Strategic Goals

·          Determine relevant metrics related to #542 performance

·          Develop a simple District #542 Annual Scorecard

08-09

Board agreement

Supt/Principal

Reviewed November 10th and again March 9th – a total of 3 formal reviews will be carried out annually.

District tracks testing information and other pertinent data.

Implement  08 scorecard

·          Determine goals per each metric for the school year

·          Implement staff, faculty, and board reporting

·          Hold faculty meetings to create awareness and understanding of the plan, goals, and scorecard

08-09

Board agreement & systems support

Supt/Principal

 

Review and refine metrics between school years

09-10

 

Supt/Principal

 

Implement scorecard 09

·          Determine metrics for the school year

·          Revise and implement improved reporting systems

09-10

Board agreement

Supt/Principal

 

 

 

 


Curriculum and Whole Product Team

 

Team members

 

Jeff Drake

Paul Ness

Joyce Herbranson

Stacy Lundquist

Matt Endreson

Jodi Himmelspach

Patsi Kugler

Sam Bellig

Courtney Cline

Lori Charest

Alaine Risbrudt

Tom Leuthner

 

 

Fundamental Strategic Issues and Opportunities Addressed

1.       Mitigate the current grade 4 – 6 MCA testing decline

2.       Implement an ACT improvement plan

3.       Modify the ECFE offering to ensure it’s a compelling feeder to Kindergarten?

4.       Design an integrated Pre-K – 12 curriculum plan that supports the liberal arts vision

5.       Integrate core curriculum planning with Glendalough and innovation recommendations

6.       Create tailored academic paths for students

7.       Recommend prioritized co-curricular enhancements aligned with the vision

8.       Determine other “whole offering” improvement priorities aligned with the vision

9.       Determine methods to evaluate the value and satisfaction with the “whole offering”

 

Overview of Strategic Recommendations and Expected Outcomes

The recommendations in this section are driven primarily by three factors.  

 

First, the entire academic and co-curricular offering will be enhanced to elevate District #542’s value and attractiveness in the face of open-competition for enrollment in the region.  

 

Secondly, the District believes it possesses several opportunities to evolve its academic offering to an integrated liberal arts platform with a deliberate emphasis on math, science and the arts.  

 

Third, in this transformational process, great attention has been given to tactics – beginning in the Pre-K experience – that will tailor academic, and ultimately co-curricular experiences that align with each student’s learning style, preferences, and inherent interests.

 

As stated in the vision, is a fundamental goal of District #542 to ensure that each student connects with faculty, coaches, and staff in a manner that directs them to places in the district’s whole offering where they each can develop confidence, life-skills, and success.

 


Strategic Detail:  Curricular and Whole Product Team

 

Strategy: Improve student test results

 

Commentary: This strategy is intended to build upon the exceptional elementary test results experienced in K-3 and mitigate testing declines that occur in later elementary years in math and science.  Additionally, math testing results will be addressed through the high school curriculum. ACT student performance improvement will also be an intended outcome of the following tactics.  Although, “training for the test” is not an objective of District #542, it is well understood that testing metrics are important barometers of progress and post-secondary placement and scholarships.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Attend NWEA Training with a team of teachers.  This will be held in August at LCSC.  The goal of the training will be to understand how to utilize our data to improve curriculum and instructional practices.

 

August 2008

 

Principal and Karen

Done in August 2008.  Results shared with faculty & instituted Study Island for 8th grade math preparation.

Utilize MCA and NWEA scores to assess instructional strengths & weaknesses.

August 2008

 

Principal and Karen/Testing Team

Ongoing – data retreat in August 2008 and results shared with K-12 faculty. 

Develop learning goals for individual students in academic areas based on NWEA scores.

August/Fall 2008

 

Faculty

In-service 10/27/08 and fall meeting held with the high school staff as well.

Research the practices/strategies of schools demonstrating outstanding test results in Minnesota/nation.

Fall 2008

 

Karen, Principal

Departments

MAEF Award. 

Allocate staff time for integrating test skills and concepts into current curriculum

Fall 2008

 

Supt. and the School Board and Staff Dev.

Study Island, teacher integration of skills in curricula.  ACT seminar in Ashby.  Staff development met 10/28/08 regarding this.  English teachers meeting with students before/after school.  Test questions each day as an instructional strategy. 

Provide an ACT Prep Course for juniors.

In place

 

Principal

Scheduled for March 18th & 19th. 

Evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies using test results from the MCA, NWEA & ACT. 

Ongoing

 

Test Coordinator, Principal

Ongoing.

Strategy:  Implement tailored academic paths for each student

 

Commentary:  Parent, school board, and student focus groups and interviews cited a need for academic tailoring per student.  This will be accomplished by unique attention at the Pre-K and elementary level, complete with high levels of parent and faculty communications.   The following tactics are geared more to the high school student, where the current academic schedule has placed limitations on courseware variety and selection for students, as well as limitations on student-to-faculty connections and advisement.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Create a modified schedule that allows greater flexibility and more access to elective courses.

·          8 Period Modified Block

2009/2010

Faculty

Principal & Committee

Completed.

Develop and implement a career education curriculum for high school students. 

·          Senior Strategies Course

·          Create Career Pathways Brochure

·          Course Guide provided to every student.

·          6-year plan /portfolio

2009/2010

Faculty

Career Pathways brochure is being developed through Tech Prep.

Principal/Counselor/

Annette

Blaine

Senior Strategies Course completed.

Career Pathways – completed in business. 

Boy Scouts career curriculum

Advisor/Advisee to be in effect 2009/2010.

Implement an Advisor/Advisee Program that will provide individual guidance to each student and ensure that every student is well known to at least on faculty member.

2009/2010

Faculty

Principal & Committee

In progress.

Provide a “School Within A School” system as an alternative educational path for those that do not fit a more traditional model. 

Ongoing

Abbey/Dan

Principal, Counselor, Committee

Done

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Strategy:  Implement an integrated liberal arts Pre-K – 12 curriculum

 

Commentary:  This section specifically addresses the goal of a highly integrated and contiguous curriculum from Pre-K through Grade 12 and our vision of an innovative liberal arts orientation.  These pursuits will have a distinct emphasis on Math, Science, and Arts at the core.  District #542 will continue to provide a balanced education; however will strive toward excellence by leveraging the unique attributes of a liberal arts approach and the natural assets of our region, which include an inspirational environmental learning platform and artistic culture.  Documented research has shown the academic and critical-thinking benefits of uniting math, science, and artistic expression, which is the intent of the following tactics.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Implement a preK-12 curriculum review cycle and incorporate curriculum mapping/alignment as a fundamental requirement to this process.

·          A high school curriculum cycle is in place & utilized which could be easily modified.

Ongoing

Faculty

Principal/Karen

Done – Fall 2008.

Integrate a liberal arts education (exposure to curriculum across a breadth of disciplines) through required core classes for graduation.  Areas to be included: 

·          Fine Arts – music, art

·          World Languages/cultures

·          Service learning/leadership

·          Critical thinking/problem solving/philosophy

·          Science/math focus- ecology/environmental stewardship

·          Business/Entrepreneurship

·          Applied/Technical - Pre-engineering /drafting

·          Integrate exposure/utilization of technology to enhance instruction & learning

Plan 2008

Implement 2009/2010

 

Principal/Counselor/Faculty

Plan in place, scheduled for implementation 2009/2010.

Increase staff development time for curriculum work. 

Fall 208

 

Supt/School Board

Best Practices in Reading Instruction for elementary and the high school had Differentiated Instruction.  Everyday Math.  Environmental Curriculum staff time paid.  Minnaqua.  Robotics curriculum.  Math Academy. 

Strategy:  Enhance the ECFE and School Readiness Program

 

Commentary:  The tactics related to ECFE enhancements have three primary outcomes.  First, ECFE will improve to acknowledge its roll as a “feeder program” to the district’s free Kindergarten offering.  We must give parents and students exposure to the district early, to serve them as enrolled students later.  Second, parent focus group feedback indicated that current school readiness offerings in the district do not sufficiently stratify the programs by age groups.  That will be done more completely.  Third, ECFE and school readiness will be an important student preparation and faculty learning period as the district pursues its tailored academic goals for each child.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Develop an age-appropriate syllabus to let parents know what is being taught & when.

December 2008

 

School Readiness Staff

In progress.

Research successful Pre-K curricula and assessment measures.  Articulate goals within a curriculum aligned to match kindergarten school readiness standards.

2008-2009 Development

Implement

2009-2010

Kindergarten Teachers

School Readiness Staff

Kindergarten teachers have met with ECFE staff – in progress.

Survey present users for ideas on how to improve the program.

Completion December 2008

Contractor

Advisory Council

Spring 2009.

Increase publicity of programs through newspaper ads, newsletters, pamphlets & word-of-mouth.

Summer 2008

 

Marketing Group

Ongoing. 

Increase staffing or offer more classes lowering teacher to student ratios and allowing for more tailored/structured instructional practices.

09-10

Budget

ECFE Advisory Board

School Board

Done – increased staff time for 3 year old group.


 

Maximize program accessibility.

·          Provide mid-day transportation

·          Provide before-school drop off

·          Create an opportunity for pre-school students to access the After School Enrichment Program.

Plan 2009

 

Implement

2009-2010

 

ECFE Advisory Council

 

School Board

Transportation on an as-needed basis.  A couple of students stay all day.  Pre-school students can access the after school enrichment program.

Assess growth of students in the program through pre and post testing. 

·          Research what measures other area schools use.

·          Determine correlation between School Readiness and kindergarten success

Ongoing

 

ECFE & School Readiness Staff

Ongoing.

Give the School Readiness room a makeover to make it a more appealing learning environment. 

·          Create an Early Childhood Center

·          Explore existing space as well as former First Lutheran building.

2008-209

Exploration

Facilities Committee

School Readiness Staff

 

School Board

Done – August & September 2008.  Exploratory area.  Equipment purchased spring of 2009.  Fresh paint and new furniture. 

Strategy:  Enhance the co-curricular programming in alignment with whole product priorities

 

Commentary: The following tactics address three fundamental principles in the District #542 vision.  First, tactics will be deployed to increase student participation in co-curricular activity, drawing upon a belief that students must be involved in various pursuits to uncover areas of interest, preferences, and to develop successes and confidence outside of the academic realm.  Second, the district will elevate attention to co-curricular activities that align with the core of the “whole offering”, such as the arts. Third, certain athletic activities will receive heightened attention given their relationship to “what we can be best at” as noted in the plan and high levels of student participation.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Develop a mission statement for co-curricular activities and put all activities under a review cycle as are the academic areas.

·          Research other high quality programs as part of review cycle.

·          Survey participants/past participants, coaches, advisors at the end of the season.  Utilize data for program improvement. 

2008-2009

 

A.D.

Coaches

Advisors

Surveys are ongoing, 360 degree evaluation in progress. 

Increase student participation in extra-curricular activities with a goal of 90 – 95% participation. 

·          Every student personally invited by a coach or advisor to join some activity.

·          Contact parent via postcard, phone call encouraging their child to participate.

·          Increase % of multiple activity participants

2008-2009

 

A.D.. Coaches

Advisors

Data collected & analyzed spring of 2009.  Advisor/advisee program, work being done on co-curricular school philosophy.  

Hire a dynamic and passionate Speech head coach. 

Summer 2008

 

Supt., Principal, A.D.

Done.  Fall 2008

Improve athletic facilities, with the following priority:

·          Softball and summer recreation complex

·          Track and field.

Explore 2008-2009, action 2009-2010

Facilities Committee

School Board

 

In progress, 3-7-09 meeting with land owners regarding property.  Track in progress.

Improve music facility.

·          Address space needs.

·          Increase instrument availability

Explore 2008-2009, action 2009-2010

Facilities Committee

School Board

 

In progress, meetings with architect and music instruction – target completion is summer 2009.

Improve science facilities with remodel, new rooms, or in the context of Glendalough enhancements.

Explore 2008-2009, action 2009-2010

Facilities Committee

School Board

 

In progress, meetings with architect and music instruction – target completion is summer 2009.


Innovation Team

 

Team members

 

Blaine Larson

Jeff Lukken

Dave Marso

Al Domke

Teresa Blatti

Grant Malmstrom

Chelsea Colton

Al Boyum

Dan Malmstrom

 

Fundamental Strategic Issues and Opportunities Addressed

1.       Implement methods and innovation into the existing model to increase relevancy and inspire learning among students.

2.       Determine a short-term Glendalough usage plan that incorporates environmental science into various coursewares across elementary, junior high school, and senior high school on a rotational basis.

3.       Integrate short-term Glendalough concepts with the work of the District curriculum.

4.       Determine a process for evaluating the merits of deploying the Academy or not.

 

Overview of Strategic Recommendations and Expected Outcomes

The goal of the innovation team is to raise the level of relevancy and applied experience for students by incorporating innovative academic approaches and exposure to applied concepts in the real world.  

 

The use of Glendalough State Park will be one means of providing Battle Lake students with an educational experience that is relevant to our unique geographical location.  With nature as our backdrop, environmental science becomes a springboard for the incorporation of all educational disciplines into a broad, general education for all our students.  

 

We are proposing a pilot program within the existing schedule that would include weekly use of the park by elementary, junior high and biology classes.  In the second year of the program, creative scheduling could provide an expansion of the program to include more courses and increased time at the park.  The ultimate goal would be the creation of a science and technology academy on the grounds of Glendalough State Park.  

 

Strategic Detail:  Innovation Team

 

Strategy:  Expose 5th-8th graders, 10th grade biology and env. science students to Glendalough on a weekly basis.

 

Commentary:  The focus will be on science with the incorporation of classes such as math, physical education, and English.  The intent is that this will be a pilot program for future opportunities.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Determine a #542 class schedule acceptable to Park scheduling

Spring 08

 

Principal & Supt

Done.

Evaluate Trail Center classroom suitability / influence renovation

Sum 08

Fall renovation done

Innovation Team

Done.

Negotiate Memo of Understanding with MN DNR for Trail Center

Sum 08

 

Principal & Supt

Done.

Determine transportation and Park Logistics

Fall ‘08

 

Supt

Done.

Arrange blocks of time that include multiple courses

Fall ‘08

Current schedule

Principal

Done.

Develop appropriate curriculum

Fall ‘08

 

Instructors

Ongoing.

Provide internet access at the park

Fall ‘08

Sprint or Verizon Cards

Alaine

Park responsibility.

Assess equipment needs

Fall ‘08

 

Instructors

Ongoing.

Periodically evaluate the program

’08-‘09

 

Principal & Supt.

Ongoing. 


 

Strategy:  Explore a flexible 2009-10 block schedule to enable Glendalough innovation.

 

Commentary:  Possible options might include a modified block, 8 period days, or simple pairing of courses in similar time periods.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Determine the benefits of different scheduling options

Dec 1 ‘08

 

Principal

Done.

Develop and test a mock schedule with a group of students

Dec 20, ‘08

 

Principal

Done.

Determine curricular extensions in expanded school

June ‘10

Previous pilot success

TBD

Done.

Present a scheduling recommendation to the school board

Jan ‘09

 

Principal

Done.

Schedule students in the new schedule

Feb ‘09

 

Counselor

Nearly done. 

Strategy:  Explore technologies currently used in research and industry that could be utilized to enhance student learning, faculty instruction, and expose students to real-world applications.

 

Commentary:  The following tactics are intended to maintain a relevant, yet practical incorporation of applied technologies into the district’s curriculum.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Each faculty member investigates technologies currently used in research, industry, and notable academic (preferably curricular specific) settings.

08-09

Faculty time and initiative

Each instructor

Smart Boards.  Sent teachers to area school for training.

Determine the “fit” of recommended technology to current and proposed curriculum.

08-09

Faculty time and initiative

 

 

Prioritize a ranked list of equipment to acquire and deploy

08-09

 

Supt/Principal

Technology Committee recommendations.

Determine funding for specialized technologies

·          Grants

·          Operating budget

·          Capital / Facility budget request

08-09

 

Supt/Principal

Ongoing.

Acquire technologies

Ongoing

Ranking of priorities

Supt/Principal

New copier, networked, Smart Boards, audio enhancement systems, new student management software 2009/2010.

Provide staff training

Ongoing

Acquisition

Vendor

Being done as needed. 

Establish partnerships with private and public resource personnel to develop relevant research for classroom applications

Ongoing

 

Each instructor / PTO

P.S.E.  to work with Jan Eitzen on potential technology needs and solutions.

Strategy:  Establish a process to evaluate the relevancy of the Academy Glendalough.

 

Commentary:  The academy could take on a number of forms ranging from advanced college prep or applied environmental science school to a general curriculum for all students that will integrate many disciples around an environmental theme.  Additional concepts could include a North Dakota State School of Natural Sciences and/or University of Minnesota Extension education, summer environmental coursework for visiting students, and possibly out-state and global courseware in the heart of the lakes areas.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Establish an Advisory Committee to initiate Academy Planning

Spring 09

DNR Parks interest

TBD

 

Determine the goals/mission of the academy

Fall 09

 

 

 

Determine curricular offerings and target student population

Fall 09

 

 

 

Determine staffing requirements

 

 

 

 

Determine facility needs in an expanded model

Win 10

Coordinate with St. MN

TBD

 

Consider the concept of Industrial Tech students building their own Academy at Glendalough:

·          Combination Visitor Center and Classroom complex

·          Built in phases over several years

·          Innovative construction methods

·          Environmental and CAD

·          Green techniques

Win 10

Park Officials

TBD

 

Build coalitions and public support for the plan, including:

·          DNR Parks, DNR Water and Ecology, MN Dept. of Education,  U of M, USDA, US Fish & Wildlife

Win 10

Political process

TBD

 

Explore additional funding sources

June‘10

 

TBD

 


Communications and Community Team

 

Team members

 

Lisa Malmstrom

Brenda Mathieson

Teresa Blatti

Dan Malmstrom

George Hausske

 

 

 

Fundamental Strategic Issues and Opportunities Addressed

1.       Implement a marketing plan to restore district enrollment and attract new students

2.       Implement a public relations system to improve the District #542 brand

3.       Improve communication between faculty and parents

4.       Create stronger counselor visibility with students and parents

5.       Increase district capacity with a complete Volunteer Organization

6.       Implement a Parent-Teacher Organization

7.       Incorporate a “Royal Events Schedule” to elevate exposure to the school & fine arts

8.       Develop a plan to engage alumni in the support of a school foundation

 

Overview of Strategic Recommendations and Expected Outcomes

This strategy section recommends a number of strategies to support key district initiatives.  Marketing strategies are outlined to support enrollment increases, public relations strategies will increase district exposure and positive brand building in the region, various tactics are outlined to improve district to parent communications, and a gamut of strategies are recommended to address the community’s desire for more involvement in their school.

 

Strategic Detail:  Communications and Community Team

 

Strategy A:  Implement a marketing plan to restore district enrollment

 

 

Commentary:  BL schools currently lose 117 students out of the district to open enrollment. We will develop marketing and communications surrounding our vision, strategies, and innovation to encourage families and students to reconsider District #542.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Draft letter to all district families highlighting new vision, plan, key innovations, and strength of the school.

Sum 08

Writer / Editor

Supt.

Sent a letter and called individual ECFE families

Learn / Research why 117 are leaving (patterns? Ages?)

Win 08

Possible contractor

Supt.

Redundant – already addressed.  Survey completed.

Develop flyers / brochure / or packet for current ECFE students to promote BL kindergarten (and that it’s free!)

Spring 09

Writer / Editor

Designee

Done.


 

Strategy B:  Implement a marketing plan to attract new students

 

Commentary:  Students and families are clearly considering open enrollment, evidenced by our losses and gains in the district. We will become more aggressive to attract students who may be considering open enrollment options.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Obtain list of current ECFE students from out of our district; draft letter to those families outlining BL kindergarten advantages.

Sum 08

 

Supt

Called individual families.  Students are all accounted for.  Summer 2008.

Create #542 recruitment materials and website messaging

Win 08

Writer / marketer

 

 

Promote our Kindergarten offering to area nwsp. thru releases

Spring 09

Press plan

Supt

Promoted March 2009

Develop informational posters for area businesses

Sum 09

Marketer

Supt

Economic Developer - LADA

Create a #542 YouTube recruitment video

Sum 09

Marketer / Students

Supt

 

Strategy C:  Implement a public relations system to improve the District #542 brand

 

Commentary: Considerable strengths, accomplishments, and good news occurs within the school district and can be conveyed routinely and regularly to a variety of constituents with planned messaging. This strategy is designed to establish the appropriate media, contact relationships, press templates, scheduling routines, and distribution to elevate District #542’s brand in the region. PR is a very inexpensive and effective method of brand building and will support other enrollment and community goals.  An assumption is a minimal marketing budget per month.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Approve monthly budget for press writing / distribution

Sum 08

School board approval

Supt

Press releases are being written.  Marketing budget in place.

Contract with a media firm / writer / community volunteers

Fall 08

Budget parameter

Supt

P.S.E. - ??

Build a repeatable public relations system

§       Determine target media outlets for best exposure

§       Develop a common template and press kit for all releases

§       Build media contact list

§       Modify website landing page to contain current “good news”

Fall 08

Admin – logos, etc

Writer

Alaine will be consulted regarding the implementation of a “good news” page to our website.  There is already a “what’s new” page.

Recruit a local volunteer writer’s guild and edit ring

Win 08

 

Writer

Local resources are available. 

Create a press schedule with District

Win 08

 

Writer

 

Write 1-2 press releases per month

Win 08

 

Writer

Approximately 1 per month. 

Secure two Feature interviews / profiles

Spring 09

Worthy stories

Writer

Done.  Blaine Larson & Jeff Drake

Expand target media beyond region to MPLS / FM

Fall 09

 

Writer

 

Strategy:  Improve communication between faculty and parents

 

Commentary:  This strategy is intended to address several key issues and requests from the parent focus groups.  Tactics will be outlined to create consistent InTouch use among faculty, which may include training on key parts of the system. Additionally, student assignments will be posted for parents to foster parent involvement in academic progress prior to testing, rather than seeing test results after the fact.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Implement course “syllabus” for high school courses

2008/09

 

Principal

 

Improve faculty usage of current systems

§       Evaluate “best practices” on faculty usage

§       Conduct faculty workshop on system usage

2008/09

Workshop schedule

Principal / Alaine

PhotoShop Class – Summer 2008

Implement ALERT program for automated school messaging

2008/09

 

Alaine / Krys

Done

Facilitate parent – teacher dialogue ahead of issues:

§       Post homework assignments on InTouch

§       Bi-weekly drop-in open room for parents B4 school

§       Implement faculty procedure to call parents at observed issue

2008/09

 

Supt/Principal

In progress.  Test Tracker tests and major assignments.

Evaluate Email Subscriber list for “pushed” one on many communications per faculty member or Home Room

§       Evaluate various email subscriber list tools

§       Implement subscriber list per faculty member or course

§       Implement “Test Alerts” in automated email subscriber list

2009/10

 

Alaine

 

Strategy:  Create stronger counselor visibility with students and parents

 

Commentary:  This strategy will increase parent and student exposure to the counselor and related resources.  Specifically, parents would like more visibility to scholarship, college and vocational resources and guidance, and class scheduling assistance. Increased communications is also an objective.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Implement co-curricular evening schedule for parent visibility

§       Determine Counselor’s work schedule and flexibility

2008/09

 

Principa/ Counselor

Evening college planning/financial aid night and parent-teacher conferences.

Write “Counselor Corner” in The Review

2008/09

BL Review agreement

Counselor

Counselor corner article written Fall 2008.

Implement regular parent communications for 10–12 graders

§       Evaluate a Counselor’s email subscriber list for

2008/09

Alaine / System

Counselor

Possibly through Naviance Counselor Software – training in March 2009.

Strategy:  Increase district capacity with a complete volunteer organization

 

Commentary:  District staff capacity can be increased and guest lecturers implemented by drawing upon the vast array of community resources. Parents were vocal during surveys about serving in the school district. Additionally, the lakes area has many highly capable retirees who are willing and available to serve.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Research other schools’ programs and volunteer coordinator positions (visit with Becky VanErp)

Fall 08

 

Comm. Team

P.S.E.

Implement volunteer coordinator

Win 08

See PTO Strategy

Supt/ PTO

P.S.E.

Map District capacity needs to volunteer skills

§       Determine staff capacity constraint areas

§       Assess those needs with appropriateness of volunteer assistance

§       Solicit volunteer candidates with BL Review announcements

§       Inventory area residents (retired, non retired) who have career expertise for tutoring or guest lecturing

§       Implement “Volunteer Email Subscriber List”

Win 08

Database / spreadsheet

Volunteer Dir.

P.S.E. – mini J-term guest lecturers.

Strategy:  Implement a Parent-Teacher Organization

 

Commentary:  This strategy will outline the process and activities to start a vibrant Parent-Teacher Organization, including the establishment of a clear charter, structure, and activities to ensure that value is being delivered to the school, faculty, and students.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Establish a parent “Incubation and Formulation Team”

·          Research PTO models in other schools

·          Determine BL optimal model

·          Incorporate “grandparent asset” into BL model

·          Outline PTO goals

·          Formulate initial parent / grandparent board

Fall 08

 

TBD

 

Incorporate the PTO as a 501 (c) (3)

·          File with the State of Minnesota

·          Hold first board meeting

·          Elect officers

·          Determine committee structure

Win 08

Kathy K

TBD

 

Appoint “Volunteer Coordinator”

Win 08

Kathy K

PTO Board

 

Create Parent Awareness and Memberships

·          School website

·          BL Review

·          Parent letters

·          Determine membership dues

Win 08

 

PTO Mktg. Commt.

 

Conduct broad PTO meeting with relevant topics

 

 

 

 

Implement the “Volunteer Tactics”

Win 08

Gaps / Inventory DB

Volunteer Coord.

P.S.E.

Implement a comprehensive “whole product survey”

·          Research survey instruments (Woodbury Academy)

·          Develop a District #542 instrument

·          Determine data capture, storage, and analysis process

·          Determine survey sample

·          Deliver survey electronic and snail mail

·          Tabulate and analyze results

·          Review results with Admin / Board of Education

·          Review results with PTO membership

Spring 09

Systems / Budget

TBD

 

Establish a scholarship fund

2009/10

Foundation in place

PTO Finance

 

Establish a Room Mom program

·          Research other school models

·          Interview elementary faculty / present ideas

·          Develop a District #542 elementary program

·          Recruit candidate moms

·          Implement program

2009/10

 

Volunteer Coord.

P.S.E.

Determine a plan for a District #542 Foundation

·          Coordinate with other non-profits (LACC, LADA, BL Community Fund, Etc.) that are considering foundations

·          Determine if a Community Foundation with an Education Fund is relevant or if an independent #542 Foundation is a better route

·          Establish a Foundation

2009/10

Coordinate with local NFPs like LADA, LACC, BL Community Fund, Etc.

PTO Finance

LADA

Establish Foundation Marketing Plan

·          Consider Alumni newsletter (see Concordia /Hillcrest)

·          Determine foundation fund-raisers

2010/11

 

PTO Finance/Mktg

LADA

Strategy:  Support a “Royal Events Community Schedule” to elevate exposure to the school and fine arts

 

Commentary:  This strategy contemplates an integration of “Community Events at the Royal” with the District #542’s management and scheduling of the physical asset – the Royal Auditorium. It is likely that a schedule of “community events” will be developed by a professional within one of the new non-profit organizations that has emerged within the community, and one key venue will be the Royal Auditorium to fulfill the schedule. Such events may be professional musicians, dramas, religious productions, concert series, Etc.  It will be important to coordinate such scheduling and community usage with the District #542’s schedule and coordination.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Rick evaluates #542 scheduling position with a potential Royal events position emerging

2008/09

 

Supt

LACC

JoAnn Orpen creates a point of contact with new Royal events director/volunteer

2008/09

Royal events coordinator is placed

JoAnn

Kathy Kensinger/LACC

 


Facilities and Capital Improvements Team

 

Team members

 

Rick Bleichner

Al Boyum

 Jeff Lukken

Dave Marso

Barry Bergem

Dan Malmstrom

 

Fundamental Strategic Issues and Opportunities Addressed

1.       Determine the key facility improvements required to support the academic and whole product priorities, complete with prioritization, costs, and scheduling.

2.       Determine capital improvements and technologies to improve academic outcomes, staff effectiveness, and community communications.

3.       Obtain funding and electorate approvals to implement improvements.

4.       Evaluate land acquisition to ensure future expansion options.

 

Overview of Strategic Recommendations and Expected Outcomes

This section of the plan addresses the various maintenance, equipment, capital improvements, and facility enhancements that are required to maintain a successful school, and also needed to fulfill District #542’s vision and strategy during the coming years.

 

Strategic Detail:  Facilities and Capital Improvements Team

 

Strategy:  Implement a FACILITY AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE 

 

Commentary:  This team will be chartered with the work of identifying all capital, facility, and technical improvements in District #542 that would not be addressed in the operating budget.

 

Tactics

School Year

Interdependencies

Champion

Progress

Establish a “Capital Improvement and Facilities Committee” with representation from Administration, Athletics, Fine Arts, Elementary and HS curriculum, Community, and possibly the City of Battle Lake. 

June 08

 

Supt

Done.

Implement an abbreviated, but consistent project input process

June 08

 

Committee

Ongoing.

Strategy:  IDENTIFY AND RANK all Capital and Facility Improvements that should occur in the 3-5 year timeline in alignment with the whole product priorities called out in the strategic plan