Espe: Strategic plan sets course for next 5-7 years

Since it is midyear, this is a good time to give you an update on our Strategic Plan goals.  As you may recall, here are our goals for the next 5 to 7 years:
• Provide personalized instruction for every student.
• Prepare 21st century students to be career and college ready.
• Implement innovative programming.
• Guarantee creative and relevant digital learning.
• Improve communication and engagement with staff, parents, business and community partners in order to maximize student success.
Provide personalized instruction for every student.
Our instructional model uses a framework, which helps the teacher and student to know the student’s progress towards competency.  Professional development has continued this year, to strengthen the framework.  Teachers had a deepening day, in which they selected the training that they felt they needed most.  There was a technology day, in which teachers learned to use technology strategies to implement the instructional model.  On March 14, teachers will work on learning progressions and activities that match learning progressions.    Looking ahead, our District Instructional Leadership Team is working on a plan for next year, furthering our work with formative assessment.
Prepare 21st century students to be career and college ready.
There are four strategies for this goal:
• Ramp up to Readiness curriculum, which is being implemented weekly for grades 6 through 12.  This curriculum was designed by the University of Minnesota, and it helps students to learn the process of career investigation and post secondary preparation, including certificates, 2 year programs, 4 year colleges and armed services options.
• There is a 3 part series for parents, related to being career and college ready.  These are aimed at parents with children in grades 6 through 12.  A Central Minnesota data analyst in job opportunities spoke to parents in January.  The February focus will be on parent readiness for guiding future careers, and in March, the session will be on local career pathways.
• The Learning and Living Committee is working on bringing posters, sponsored by local businesses, to learn about local career opportunities and career pathways.
• The staff development plan in November 2017 will be to allow teachers to visit businesses and discuss further implementation of career and college ready information in the classrooms.
Implement innovative programming.
The intent of this goal is to nurture the innovative programming that we have already put in place, helping them to become sustainable:
• Spanish Immersion continues to be added each year, and we will have preK, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades next year.  We have been able to retain our own students as well as recruit students in this program.
• This is the second year of Princeton Online Academy. Enrollment is growing, and a second teacher was added to meet the demand.
• The Area Learning Center (ALC) has transitioned back to Princeton.  A site for Student Services has been purchased, and the move in is complete.  The teacher is working on career placement opportunities, such as volunteer service learning or on the job training, for the students.
• Through a grant, we were able to add a full time guidance counselor for Student Services.  Services include assisting with enrollment, credit monitoring, career and college education, personal development, etc.  This counselor serves the Area Learning Center, Educational Options (Care and Treatment Program at Accurate Home Care), and Princeton Online Academy.
• STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) coursework continues to be developed at our 3rd through 8th grade, with robotics in grades 3 through 12, a STEM course in grade 8, and STEAM in grades 6 through 8.  In addition, we have developed facilities for a fabrication lab at the high school, with programming beginning in 2017-2018.
• Beginning in the fall of 2017, there will be an analysis of existing programs to identify successful programs, gaps in our current instructional offerings, and necessary revisions and support for existing programs.
Guarantee creative and relevant digital learning.
Here are the actions that have taken place this year:
• This year was the pilot year for a three-day course of study for teachers, called Digital Learning Boot Camp.  It was designed to help teachers learn the tools they need to begin teaching students in a digitally enhanced classroom.
• Working with Teaching and Learning, a plan was developed to intentionally integrate digital resources and strategies into the classroom.
• Teacher leaders developed a framework for supporting digital citizenship in all schools during this school year.
• This is the first of a four-year rollout for one to one digital learning devices in Princeton.  This year’s roll out impacts four grade levels:  grades 3, 6, 7, and 9.  Three more grade levels will be added for the 2017-2018 school year–for grades 4, 8 and 10.
Improve communication and engagement with staff, parents, business and community partners in order to maximize student success.
• We are communicating with “little Tigers” from birth to age 5, by sending letters to parents twice per year.
• We are communicating more with staff, by offering them quick updates right after board meetings.
• I am visiting 200 classrooms during this school year.
• We are inviting staff and student participation to select a tiger logo, and this should be completed soon.
• Our new website will launch on July 31, 2017!!
As you can see, we have been very busy in our district, improving our services for our students.  We certainly appreciate the support from our community and parents.  Without that support, we would never have been able to progress as far as we have.
Thank you, Princeton community!