MCSD aims to address problems with attracting, retaining employees

School district’s plan focuses on five initiatives

The Moffat County School District Administration Building. District leadership is working on a strategic plan to help shape Moffat County schools in the future.
Amber Delay/Craig PressPhoto Credit: Photo by Amber Delay

Moffat County schools’ administrative and leadership team has been working on an updated strategic plan and identified five priority initiatives for the district over the next five years.

One of those initiatives will focus on the attraction and retention of qualified employees, as the district plans to utilize different methods to help build up its staff.

Renea Ogden, executive director of School Supports and Personnel for the Moffat County School District, said the district already has a lot going for it to help attract and retain employees.

She added that part of this initiative will be marketing and promoting the assets to new staff and continuing to build on strengths with existing staff.

Some of the major problems facing the district are housing and child care, which are shared challenges throughout the community.

Superintendent Scott Pankow participated in steering committee meetings for Craig’s Housing Action Plan, which will target housing development for local essential workers.

The district is also exploring working with an investor to develop some sort of housing for school staff. Ogden said the district has offered teaching positions to applicants from out of the area, only to be turned down because of the housing situation in Craig.

Child care is another challenge for school staff with younger children.

To address the issue, the district has been working with Yampa Valley Kids Daycare, which has offered to reserve a limited number of child care spots for district staff.

The district is also working with Colorado Northwestern Community College to provide a local training course for paraprofessionals that would allow parents and school volunteers to become certified to provide instructional support in the classroom.

Being able to offer more local professional training could one day lead to an alternative paraprofessional-to-teacher educational pathway. This would potentially allow for local talent to become certified as teachers without them having to leave the Yampa Valley to obtain necessary teaching certifications.

A big strength identified within the district is its instructional support for staff.

MCSD provides mentoring for new teachers with an experienced teacher, and the district offers professional development opportunities that are eligible for salary increases. There also will be Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, created under the new strategic plan.

The PLCs will allow time for teachers to discuss which instruction methods, social emotional learning approaches, and experiential learning opportunities are working best.

The new four-day school week is a major selling point for attracting and retaining school staff and will allow staff time to work on strategic initiatives and professional development.

“We would not be able to do all of this work without having Fridays for teachers from the four-day school week,” Middle School Principal Sara Linascum said.

The preliminary strategic plan has been a multi-stage process that sought feedback from community members, families and parents through a community survey and through a listening session on April 27.

There are five initiatives MCSD has chosen to prioritize over the next five years:

• Independent curriculum and instruction

• Social emotional learning

• Authentic learning experiences

• Connected initiatives throughout the whole district

• Employing high quality staff

There is an overlap in how the strategic initiatives were developed so they can be implemented in tandem.

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