WBCSD seeking input on five-year plan

I’d like to take a moment to thank all who were in attendance at the Feb. 18 board meeting.

I hope that I was able to succinctly explain the new WBCSD five-year strategic plan so that it was easy to absorb. The draft of this plan, as well as information for Quantum Learning (The Anchor for Pillar 1: Teaching and Learning), are now available on the district website, sd83.org. Please take some time to review this information and lend me a call if you have questions.

Again, Quantum Learning will be utilized to bring continuity to K-12 instructional practices. These practices correlate with how our brains process information most effectively, and target the importance of building positive learning cultures within our schools. After watching the available videos you should be able to identify what we mean by providing our students with a “home court advantage.” Think of instructional practices as “THE HOW” of what we do to meet learning goals.

Although effective instructional practices are paramount to student achievement, of equal importance is “what” we teach. Of course, we all know this to be the curriculum. Last week we provided you with a glimpse into a curriculum known as: “American Classical Education.” This curriculum was brought forward by community members during our 3C meetings (Critical, Community, Concerns). It has since, generated a lot of interest as a means of providing our students with a rich back-to-basics curriculum. Once the curriculum committee is re-established, this curriculum will be explored in greater depth. In the meantime, and as requested by our teachers, we are bringing the guest speaker, Stephen Lambert, back to our district so that they can learn more. Although this curriculum is, at this time only used in private and public charter schools using five-day schedules, we are confident that we can assert this curriculum, like any others we may choose to use, very effectively within our new four-day schedule .

The 3C meetings were specifically designed to provide the community with “a voice.” Since day one, I entered the district with a 90-Day entry plan based around “learning and listening.” I did a lot of both. I clearly heard and learned that the community was expecting more from the school system and that citizens were tired of supporting supplemental levies that did not merit community expectations for student learning. Upon completion of my 90-day entry plan, and armed with as much information as possible, I began my pursuit to lead the district in designing an effective road map for change. We worked, and we worked… and we kept on working.

Alas, we have the draft of what will become a huge opportunity for all of us, but most importantly our students. As you peruse the WBCSD five-year strategic plan, you will note that it is indeed comprehensive. It will demand, above all, time. This is why the proposal and study of the four-day school week began. Having assigned Fridays for the entire leadership and teaching teams to come together to implement Quantum Learning, and the action plans established in the 6 pillars — instruction/learning, communications, culture and climate, technologies, transportation, and facilities — are critical. (As promised: The budget providing transparency in taxpayer funds is soon to come.)

We also anticipate that the four-day school week will help us solve complications caused by a shortage of bus drivers, recruitment and retention of great teachers, and attendance issues.

Since board adoption of the four-day week on Jan. 18, we are already planning ways that we can serve high-need students in Friday community and school-related activities. We are committed to making sure that those parents/students in need will be supported. A meeting of community members was initiated today, and people are at work.

It is my sincere hope that you realize that the community spoke, and we listened. We truly believe that we are on our way to seeing vast improvements and look forward to sharing our future accomplishments with you.

Jackie Branum is the superintendent of the West Bonner County School District. She can be reached at [email protected]

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