Class of 2020 Initiative — Executive Summary
- Published: October 6, 2011
Yellow Springs Exempted School District
Class of 2020 Initiative Strategic Plan, 2011-2020
…a school of creativity and innovation
A Strategic Plan for the Yellow Springs School District
The Yellow Springs School District constitutes one of the community’s most vital assets. Without our excellent schools, Yellow Springs would not be the place that it is.
Yellow Springs Schools are consistently ranked “Excellent” or “Excellent with Distinction” by the State Of Ohio Board of Education. Our students are talented, motivated, and successful. Yet Yellow Springs Schools face a number of challenges. The challenges include:
§ Redesigning what we teach and how we teach to better prepare our students for the world they will enter;
§ Aligning our financial resources to match our educational ambitions;
§ Recruiting, retaining, and developing the best faculty; and
§ Making sure the schools continue to be central to the life of the community and continue to be worthy of support by community residents and businesses.
How Did We Create the Strategic Plan?
From challenges come opportunities to refashion our schools in profound ways. The Yellow Springs School Board and administration have approached the challenges and opportunities carefully and inclusively.
§ First, we encouraged expansive thinking about the future of Yellow Springs Schools (hereafter referred to as YSS), including a commissioned report from the KnowledgeWorks Foundation and subsequently an education speaker and film series for the community.
§ Second, we created a Steering Committee composed of teachers, parents, community members, school administrators, and board members.
§ Third, we engaged teachers, students, parents, and community members in creative, innovative, and courageous thinking about what should be expected from our schools and our students.
§ Fourth, we sent a survey to every household in the Village of Yellow Springs and to the middle and high schools.
§ And, finally, we held a public forum to identify actions that could be taken to improve learning and our programs, staffing, and finances.
The plan has clear priorities and goals. The plan also includes suggested strategies to achieve the goals. School administrators, teachers, and students will further develop the plan by identifying specific initiatives, individuals responsible for them, and timelines to aid in carrying them out.
Implementation of the plan will begin in late 2011. Like all plans that are based on today’s facts and knowledge, the 2020 Plan will be revised and amended from time to time. Evaluation of our initiatives will be key to making progress and deciding what to revise in the Plan.
The Class of 2020 Initiative will reinvent the Yellow Springs Schools to meet the needs of current and future students. The plan’s priorities and goals will guide the reinvention rather than provide a blueprint for change. Therefore, evaluation is critical to making progress. These are our priorities and goals.
Priority 1: Making Sure Our Students Succeed
YSS will 1) raise the academic achievement of all students to ensure graduation from high school and success in careers or post-secondary education; 2) prepare students for their civic responsibilities to community and society; and 3) develop self-directed learners who will succeed in a competitive and global world.
1.1 Expect more from students.
1.2 Foster the knowledge, skills, and virtues necessary to become active citizens.
1.3 Engage parents in the educational development of their children.
1.4 Narrow the achievement gap.
1.5 Support and challenge top students.
1.6 Support and challenge special needs students.
1.7 Prepare all students for post-high school education.
1.8 Prepare all students to be competitive in the workplace after high school and/or after college.
Priority 2: Create an Innovative YSS Teaching and Learning Model
YSS will strengthen the curriculum, increase student choice, develop creative programs, and increase opportunities for experiential learning.
2.1 Design the common core curriculum for the 21st century.
2.2 Identify and integrate skills for the 21st century (e.g. be adaptable, solve problems, think critically, and value diversity).
2.3 Expand project and inquiry based instruction.
2.4 Research and adopt technology to facilitate the delivery of curriculum and support student success.
2.5 Open opportunities to nontraditional learning options.
2.6 Assess the effectiveness of the curriculum.
Priority 3: Develop High Performing and Diverse Faculty, Staff, and Administrators
YSS will retain, recruit, develop, and recognize diverse faculty, staff, and administrators. In an ever-changing world, the YSS workforce values intellectual curiosity and imaginative approaches to learning.
3.1 Develop a positive, collaborative, and innovative workplace culture.
3.2 Recruit and retain the best faculty, staff, and administrators.
3.3 Link evaluation of performance to the mission of YSS and critical objectives such as skills development, student learning outcomes, and innovation.
3.4 Recognize creativity and extraordinary performance.
3.5 Become a demonstration center for teacher training and novel educational approaches.
Priority 4: Funding for the Future
YSS will continue to be fiscally responsible by diversifying funding sources to achieve long term sustainability and to support and fulfill the District’s mission and strategic objectives.
4.1 Maintain a balanced budget.
4.2 Build cash reserves.
4.3 Enhance current revenue streams.
4.4 Develop new funding sources.
4.5 Create a communication plan for the larger community.
4.6 Advocate for increased state and local support for public education.
Priority 5: Functional and Supportive Learning Infrastructure
YSS will develop and support a physical and technological environment that aligns with the curriculum, school and community values, and ideas of expansive learning.
5.1 Create a physical environment to support the YSS vision, mission, and values.
5.2 Implement a comprehensive program to reduce, reuse, and recycle as many resources as possible.
5.3 Introduce alternative energy and conservation measures to reduce the YSS carbon footprint.
Priority 6: Explore New Structures for the Yellow Springs Educational System
YSS will explore different ways of structuring the education system in light of changing economic and demographic trends.
6.1 Research alternatives to the YSS institutional structure.
6.2 Evaluate the cost to benefit of various alternative institutional structures.
Details of what Strategies have been suggested for achieving Priorities and Goals and how the Outcomes of the Strategies will be evaluated are found in Section 4 of this report.
How Will We Follow Through On Our Plan?
Implementing and sustaining the progress made are challenges that can be met through four approaches: leadership; resources; communication; and shared accountability.
The Yellow Springs Exempted School District Superintendent and his/her Implementation Team will:
§ Assign individuals to be responsible for specific Strategies and Actions in the Plan;
§ Report to the YSS Board of Education quarterly;
§ Provide an annual written report that summarizes progress on the overall plan during the past year and expected progress that will be made in the next year.
Individuals assigned to Strategy and Action Teams will also provide leadership to the Plan. Many of these individuals will be on the frontlines of implementing change and are critical to monitoring progress and the effectiveness of the changes on student success, instructional environment, and other priorities.
Finally, the Board of Education must ask the tough questions about progress and effectiveness of strategies and set deadlines for achieving goals and objectives. Board members also will decide about when it is appropriate to revise the Plan.
To succeed in implementing the Class of 2020 Strategic Plan, resources will be required for investing in people, programs, and projects. The Board of Education will take responsibility for raising implementation funds from private sources. These funds will supplement funding provided by the school district.
Vital to successful communication is dialogue among Plan and strategy leadership and between Plan implementers and the Board, students, teachers, parents, and community. YSS must also tell its stories of student and teacher successes, personnel innovations, and the emerging YSS model of learning to a wider audience. In general, effective communication requires careful thought and inclusion. At a minimum, a communication’s plan should:
§ Inform all stakeholders about the Plan and the Plan’s Priorities, Goals, and Objectives.
§ Inform stakeholders about progress being made and when Goals have been reached. This communication should also recognize individuals who made significant contributions to the Plan.
§ Utilize the District’s newsletter and website to provide updates, especially telling stories of successes.
§ Encourage teachers and administrators to share the Plan and progress being made at regional and national conferences.
§ Design the message according to the audience, the purpose of the communication, and the communication medium.
While it is the responsibility of the Superintendent, Strategy Teams, and School Board to give life to the Strategic Plan, their efforts need support from teachers, parents, students, and community members.