Dave Ulrich: Strategic plan in place for Moffat County School District | CraigDailyPress.com

Dave Ulrich: Strategic plan in place for Moffat County School District

Dave Ulrich/For Craig Press

Dave Ulrich

I cannot believe another school year has passed. I am happy to report that we have been successful in aligning our efforts tightly to the MCSD Five-Year Strategic Plan. Students, parents, community members and district employees developed the plan and, in February 2017, the Moffat County Board of Education adopted it. The plan is divided into five focus areas and keeps our sights set on educating and inspiring our students to thrive in an environment of change.

Focus Area 1: Governance.

Since July, the board of education has aggressively tackled the backlog of policies needing to be updated. The majority of the work was done by October, but even as recently as May’s board meeting, there were 17 board policies updated or rescinded. During this school year, members of the board of education have increased their presence at Colorado Association of School Board events. MCSD is represented on the CASB Board of Directors by Dr. JoAnn Baxter.

Focus Area 2: Student success

While we do not yet have the state student achievement results for 2017-18, we have reason to be optimistic that we will show continued improvement on these measures. Implementation of the Early Literacy Grant has gone well. It is a comprehensive approach to reading, and our teachers have risen to the challenge.

Next year, all three of our elementary schools will implement the Project Lead the Way Launch curriculum. PLTW Launch is a nationally recognized approach to engaging students in science, technology, engineering and math related learning.

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PLTW Launch brings student learning to life. Students are challenged to implement a "design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them." Since 1999, PLTW has grown to more than 10,500 schools across the country and enjoys a presence in all 50 states. According to the Colorado PLTW website, there are currently only 10 elementary schools in Colorado that have implemented PLTW Launch.

This was the first year for all Craig Middle School students to have an iPad. CMS teachers provided demonstrations to the board of education, as well as the Strategic Plan Team. Board of education members also went on walk-throughs of the school with CMS administration to observe classrooms. It is clear that, with CMS's focus on student-centered learning, the iPad can be a valuable tool for learning.

Focus Area 3: is Engaging the community

The partnership with Memorial Regional Health has gone well again this year. Specifically, we worked with MRH to get closer than ever to being in full compliance with student immunizations. Also through the partnership, next school year, we will be back to having full-time health techs in all of our buildings in Craig.

Also, we have successfully established a relationship with Junior Achievement in our schools. Specifically, East Elementary and Sunset Elementary each held JA Days this spring, and the CMS leadership class students attended a JA student leadership experience in Denver.

Focus Area 4: Fiscal management

A plan for spending down of reserve funds has been developed and is included in the 2018-19 budget. Working with a team of school personnel and community members, priority was placed on making a significant investment in the MCHS Vo-Ag Building. More than $350,000 of upgrades and equipment have been earmarked for that space through the next several months. I am happy to report we are realizing the anticipated savings from the closure of East Elementary School. Recapturing those operating funds allows us, among other things, to implement PLTW Launch, as well as increase student support at all our schools.

Focus Area 5: Culture and climate

I believe our increase in parent and community communication can be held up as a strength this year.  Principals and other district leaders have prioritized this, and I’ve received positive feedback throughout the year. The work on the teacher salary schedule is ongoing, and I expect concrete changes to be in place for the 2019-20 school year. Our HR department prioritized clear and consistent norms and expectations for all staff behavior at the beginning-of-the-year activities. We will continue to reinforce this message each year.

As you can see, the work of the MCSD Strategic Plan team has provided great guidance for us this year. We are off to a great start, and I am anxious to see what we can accomplish for the 2018-19 school year.

Have a great summer!

Dave Ulrich is superintendent of the Moffat County School District.