MCSD provides updates on strategic plan, curriculum at latest school board meeting
The Moffat County Board Of Education met Thursday, September 24 for its monthly meeting with an agenda focused on the beginning of the school year, changes due to COVID, and their five-year strategic plan of which they are in the fourth year.
The strategic plan for Moffat County School District began with David Ulrich, the previous superintendent for the district, who facilitated the creation of the strategic plan. The mission statement for the plan is, “MCSD will educate and inspire students to thrive in an environment of change.” There are five goal areas in the strategic plan: governance, student success, culture and climate, fiscal management, and engaging the community. Underneath each of those focus areas, there are goal statements with achievable outcomes for each on the Balanced Scorecard to evaluate annually. These goal statements all apply to elementary, middle, and high school differently.
Scott Pankow, current MCSD superintendent, led the Balanced Scorecard discussion Thursday night. He shared with the board that this year’s Balanced Scorecard would be presented by the end of October, parallel with his 100-day report. Pankow will report on what he’s learned and what his recommendations are moving forward in the school district.
As superintendent, Pankow leads the process of a joint effort for the strategic plan. The strategic plan committee consists of community members, teachers, administrators, board members, parents, and even some students.
Zack Allen, director of curriculum for Moffat County, went over the curriculum update for this year. MCSD has been going through a curriculum adoption process that was predicated on a change in the state standards meant to be implemented at the beginning of this year.
“Curriculum-wise, this year is a very different year, having to be ready to support our students and teachers with a variety of learning conditions from virtual learning to hybrid learning, to in person learning,” Allen said. “Our curriculum is a big part of trying to support the flexibility of making those changes. The curriculum adaptation work was focused on in-person learning. Up until March, that’s all we were really anticipating. We’ve had to make some adjustments to that work, some of those adjustments are temporary for this time frame and some of it is on hold with the intent to finish it up in June for implementation next year.”
Speaking on the curriculum update, Allen said, “What we do is take a curriculum that exists and adapt it to our local needs. We use open education resources as much as possible, or ‘freeware’— that’s the open source version of curriculum, it’s openly licensed/ creative commons licensing. It’s free for us to adapt, copy, or change, as long as we provide attribution.”
“We learned that our Colorado state academic standards changed about a year and a half or two years ago, they were to be implemented in 2020 by state law,” Allen added. “Math and literacy changed very little, and we accomplished that curriculum adoption work last year. Science had the most changes. The state adopted the NGSS, which is the National Science Standards. The new state standards are what’s going to be assessed in Colorado Measures of Academic Success, the state school testing.”
No one knows when all schools are going back to in person learning, but for now, learning models differ by school (elementary, middle, and high school). Whereas elementary kids are in school every day, the state guidance for secondary level (6th through 12th grade) is that they need to maintain social distancing and wear masks. Since classrooms aren’t big enough, cohorts of students are in school one day and out of school the next day; half go on Monday and Wednesday, half on Tuesday and Thursday, and the two cohorts alternate Fridays.
Middle and high school students have seating charts with assigned seating as another safety measure. If one student contracts the virus, students who are considered close contact have to quarantine as well for 14 days, per state guidelines.
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For the first time in 18 months, the Moffat County High School auditorium will fill with music and singing from students, as the school performs MCHS’s musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”