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SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / January 2006 / School Improvement Director's Message

School Improvement Director's Message

It’s the STUDENT!!!!
Cynda Rickert, Director of School Improvement

photo of Cynda Rickert
Cynda Rickert

“School Improvement”…two simple words. The twenty-three members of the School Improvement Team have worked collaboratively the past year to create team core beliefs and a team mission statement focusing on the student. Increasing success for all our students is the foundation of our core beliefs and mission. So how does that translate into school improvement? The ways are endless! Is it as simple as it sounds? Not at all!

The School Improvement Team is comprised of three departments: Curriculum and Assessment; Migrant Education/English Language Learners; and Professional/Technical Education. Although these three distinct areas have their own specializations and expertise, SIT (School Improvement Team) is keeping our focus on graying the lines between our departments. In fact, one of our annual goals is the School Improvement Team will become an effective learning community in order to improve service to the SOESD region resulting in increased success for all students. We have identified the following activities to assure that we meet this goal:

  • Strategic use of mission, vision, values, and goals at all SIT meetings.

We want to model what we teach our schools to do as “best practice”. Strategically using mission, vision, values and goals is part of the continuous improvement cycle.

  • Certificated staff will participate in ongoing Effective Presentation Training. Team members will act as peer coaches for each other.

We want all of our staff to know the best practices in reaching and teaching classroom teachers. To be effective, we must continually be fine-tuning our presentation skills.

  • Classified staff will participate in training to learn how to better support certificated staff in Effective Presentations Training and Breakthrough CoachTraining.

Teaching our classified staff how to provide the best support possible helps our certificated staff provide more efficient, effective services to our districts.

  • SIT members will research and implement the use of “best practices” and share with other team members through on going professional development.

Ongoing professional development is a must so that we can be a cutting-edge resource to our schools. Sharing our learning maximizes the learning for all involved including the educators in our schools.

  • SIT members will write SMART goals. Goals, activities, and indicators of success will be reviewed quarterly to (a) determine progress made (b) make revisions, as needed.

Goal setting serves the same purpose for us as it does for the teacher writing a lesson plan. Without it, how will we know where we’re going and when will we know if we have arrived?

  • SIT members’ goals must be written with measurable outcomes relating to student success. This skill will be taught and practiced at department meetings.

We must continuously remind ourselves of our purpose. We are all here to serve students. Students are the reason we do what we do so we must keep focused on their success.

We have identified the following as our indicators of success in meeting our goal:

  • Shared mission, vision, values, goals
  • Collaborative teams focused on LEARNING
  • Collective inquiry into “best practice” and “current reality”
  • Action orientation/experimentation
  • Commitment to continuous improvement
  • Results-oriented

In closing, the School Improvement Team at SOESD clearly understands that it is our job to deliver the best services in the most effective, efficient manner possible to our component school districts. We strongly believe that by focusing on becoming one effective learning community, not three separate departments, that we can better serve you, our districts. Then we will reach our goal and all our students will be more successful! Simple? No. Possible? YES! Together Everyone Achieves More!!




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