A total of 672 people completed a strategic planning survey conducted for the Washington School District.
The district is seeking input from staff, parents, students and community members as it develops a new five-year strategic plan to drive improvement and innovation through 2023.
Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer shared a summary of the findings with the school board Wednesday night. More in-depth analysis of the results is ongoing.
VanLeer said 96 students, 261 parents, 18 community members, 102 certified staff and 30 support staff members completed the electronic survey. Another 150 also participated, but did not indicate what group they were with.
The survey was conducted by Patron Insight, which summarized the findings.
Survey participants were asked questions in five focus areas — achievement; facilities and learning environment; partnerships; assets and sustainability; and safety, health and well-being.
Participants also had the opportunity to share their ideas on how best to measure success for each one.
VanLeer said the district’s strategic planning team will meet this month to review the survey results. Following that, implementation teams will be formed to begin working through the action steps associated with each established focus area.
Under achievement, the top three priority areas identified by survey participants are as follows:
• A student-centered learning environment to improve teaching and learning through personalized strategies and support for teachers/students;
• More opportunities for students to have hands-on learning experiences; and
• High expectations for teaching and learning.
Indicators for success in achievement included students being college and/or career ready; higher test scores on MAP, SAT, ACT, etc.; increased student engagement/success; higher graduation/lower dropout rate; and a focus on individual students’ needs, higher overall grades/GPA and students setting and achieving goals.
The top five responses to what skills students need to acquire are as follows:
• Communication — both oral and written;
• Literacy — language/digital;
• Critical thinking and problem solving;
• Decision making; and
Under facilities and learning environments, the top three priority areas identified included:
• Up-to-date learning spaces that provide conditions for direct instruction, hands-on activities, collaborative teams and appropriate use of technology;
• Appropriate overall building capacity for the student population and programs; and
• Well-maintained facilities, both internally and externally.
The indicators of success for this category included renovated/well-maintained/clean buildings; smaller class sizes; updated/adequate space; updated technology; and safety/security.
The top three priority areas for the partnership category identified include:
• Family engagement and communication between school and home;
• Partnerships with higher education to offer college credit opportunities; and
• Influencing economic growth to sustain and improve funding sources for the schools and community.
The indicators of success included increased parent/community involvement and engagement; more communication on student progress/issues; increased collaboration/sponsorships/support with businesses and the community; and continued multiple communication methods and frequency.
Assets and sustainability was another survey category and the top priority areas identified include:
• Attracting and retaining high-quality staff;
• Providing staff with effective teaching resources and support; and
• Responsible use of taxpayer dollars.
The indicators of success identified include attracting/retaining high-quality staff; managing the budget and debt and spending wisely; competitive salaries and benefits; providing funding for classroom resources/teaching materials; and teachers enjoying their jobs, motivated and caring.
VanLeer said she was pleased to see the results because district officials and the school board have worked hard in the top three priority areas.
Under safety, health and well-being, the top three priority areas identified include:
• Programs to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students;
• Access to the arts and other enrichment activities after school; and
• Access to after-school intramural programs to support more physical activity for students.
Indicators for success were more/better security measures and drills; keeping students healthy and active; variety of activities; all feeling welcome/happy/part of community; and tougher discipline, accountability and respect.