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Developing a District Vision and Core Beliefs. A Basis for Continuous Improvement in the Simsbury schools. Why we’re here. “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about” -M. Wheatley, 2002. Context of our Work. Purpose:

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developing a district vision and core beliefs

Developing a District Vision and Core Beliefs

A Basis for Continuous Improvement in the Simsbury schools

why we re here
Why we’re here
  • “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about”

-M. Wheatley, 2002

context of our work
Context of our Work
  • Purpose:
    • To foster a shared sense of purpose and direction for the Simsbury Public Schools
  • Process:
    • To engage stakeholders in a collaborative process of defining the difference we want to make in student learning and performance

Introduction of District Steering Committee members and guests

building on our past
Building on our Past
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Statement of Purpose
building on the present
Building on the Present

System-wide Student Achievement Goals 2005-10

Achievement Goal 1

All Simsbury students will demonstrate achievement of the district's performance standards in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and world languages.

Achievement Goal 2

All students will demonstrate an achievement in the fine and performing arts as measured by district performance standards.

Achievement Goal 3

All Simsbury students will be prepared to function effectively in a complex, multi-cultural society as evidenced by achievement of the district's performance standards in the areas of health, personal responsibility, citizenship, career awareness/life skills and technology.

System-wide Quality Goals 2005-10

Quality Goal 1

To create curriculum that will respond to the learning needs of all students and prepare them for life in the 21st century.

Quality Goal 2

To ensure that teachers in the Simsbury Public Schools meet the district performance standards in both subject matter expertise and in teaching skill.

Quality Goal 3

To ensure that the system as a whole as well as each school/program engages in a continuous improvement and self-evaluation and holds itself accountable for increased levels of performance over time as measured by national and international standards of achievement.

Quality Goal 4

To develop a comprehensive plan that describes the future needs of the district and associated costs including capital as well as operating needs.

simsbury board of education
Simsbury Board of Education
  • Richard Hogan, Chairman
  • Jack Sennott, Vice Chairman
  • Lydia Tedone, Secretary
  • Charlie Moret
  • Mike Goman
  • David Horowitz
  • Donna Lyons
  • Chris Kelly
an overview of our timeline
An Overview of our Timeline
  • Summer retreat
    • Work with Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick
  • 2006 - 2007 Process
    • School Based Study Groups
    • District Steering Comm.
      • Nov. -- Orientation
      • Apr. -- Draft of Vision and Core Beliefs
      • Sum. – Final version completed
the significance of vision and guiding beliefs
The Significance of Vision and Guiding Beliefs
  • Vision
    • Clarifies the general direction of continuous improvement efforts
    • Motivates people to take action in the right direction
    • Coordinates the actions of different people

- James Kotter

the role of vision for a school system
The Role of Vision for a School System
  • Should convey a vivid picture of what the future will look like when the system’s beliefs and expectations are in place.
    • It should identify expected results: System-wide expectations for student learning, and
    • A description of the future school system needed to achieve these results
core beliefs
Core Beliefs
  • Beliefs are CONVICTIONS that drive our everyday actions
  • They become the basis of all policies, procedures, guidelines, and day-to-day decision making.
  • Should be reflected in how our schools are organized and the instructional practices we use.
our process
Our Process
  • The relationship between the SBSG and the DSC
  • To create an wide and deep discussion in the district about the values and aims that will guide future direction for the district.
  • Tony’s role
we need to surface
We need to surface
  • The HISTORICAL successes of the district
  • The current BEST PRACTICES in our district
  • The current RESEARCH, and
  • The FUTURE needs of our students

Influence of Teacher Qualifications on Student AchievementGains in Math Achievement from 3rd to 5th Grade Due to:

policy can improve teacher quality the connecticut case
Policy can Improve Teacher Quality: The Connecticut Case

Over 14 years Connecticut

  • Increased and equalized salaries for qualified teacher
  • Raised licensing standards & improved teacher education
  • Provided scholarships for preparation in shortage fields
  • Ensured mentoring for new teachers
  • Invested in widespread professional development, e.g. Reading Recovery
  • Gave extra aid to high-need districts
we can accomplish our work by
We can Accomplish our work by
  • Building on the COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT of the district
  • Accessing STUDENT VOICE
  • Ensuring a GUARANTEED CURRICULUM for all students
  • Employing COMMON ASSESSMENTS across the district
  • Strengthening the INSTRUCTIONAL CORE
  • Personalizing the educational experience
relation to board goals
Relation to Board Goals
  • Achievement Goals
    • District Performance Standards
    • Function Effectively in our Complex, Multicultural Society
    • Will see school experience as respectful, challenging, and supportive
    • Will become independent, confident, resilient, goal-directed decision-makers
relation to the board s quality goals
Relation to the Board’s Quality Goals
  • Responsive curriculum that prepares students for life in the 21st century
  • Teachers who are highly qualified
  • All schools/programs engage in continuous improvement efforts
  • Develop a plan for future needs
relation to district work
Relation to District Work
  • Rigor
  • Relevance
  • Relationship
relation to national work
Relation to National Work
  • A new vision for Education
    • 21st Century Skills
      • Core Subjects
      • 21st Century Content
        • Global Awareness
        • Financial Literacy
        • Civic Literacy
        • Health and Wellness Awareness
learning and thinking skills
Learning and Thinking Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Contextual Learning
  • Information and Media Literacy
information and communication technology
Information and Communication Technology
  • Using technology to learn content and skills
life skills






People Skills


Social Responsibility

“The goal is to be deliberate, strategic, and comprehensive in our development of these skills”

Life Skills
21 st century assessments
21st Century Assessments
  • Measure results that matter in all five areas
  • Integrated with assessments of core subjects
  • Must use modern technologies
  • Balance standardized, classroom and performance-based assessment
employers educators and policymakers agree
Employers, educators and policymakers agree . . .

“If schools incorporate all six

Elements of a 21st century education, students will indeed have a Rigorous, Meaningful, and Relevant education.”

thinking about the future
Thinking About the Future
  • Gary Marx

Sixteen Trends

other resources
Other Resources
  • How People Learn – National Research Council
  • Annenberg Foundation: School Communities that Work
  • Beyond Islands of Excellence – Learning First Alliance
  • Change Leadership – Tony Wagner
the role of the district steering committee
The Role of the District Steering Committee
  • Re-convene in the Spring
  • Synthesize the comments from the schools
  • Draft a Vision Statement for the district
  • Draft a set of Guiding Beliefs for the district
  • Finalize Vision and Guiding Beliefs
next steps
Next Steps
  • Tony and the Administrators
  • SBSG convene and begin considering elements of vision and core beliefs for:
    • What we want students to know and be able to do
    • How Simsbury personnel should work together
    • How to partner with parents and others to ensure success for all students
sbsg will examine
SBSG will examine
  • Current Best Practices in Simsbury
  • Past Successes
  • Current Research on Teaching, Learning & Schools/School Districts
  • Future Needs
  • Shared Leadership
  • Parental Involvement
then this committee goes to work
Then this committee goes to work!
  • Thanks for participating

“Curiosity, persistence, and genuine interest are the main power sources for future thinking”

- G. Marx