2015-01 2015 School District of Chilton Spring Newsletter Introduction
First published on 05 March 2015 Posted in District Spring Newsletter
By: Dr. Claire Martin, Superintendent
Greetings and welcome to the School District of Chilton’s Spring Newsletter! Yes, you heard me right, I did say SPRING Newsletter! Believe it or not, it’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to spring as our winter season of sports and co-curricular activities begins to come to a conclusion.
Several years ago, on the recommendation of the Chilton community, the School District of Chilton started “publishing” its Spring Newsletter in the local newspapers as an efficiency and cost-saving measure. Each spring, we begin a series of articles about the School District of Chilton that’s intended to keep the community informed about their schools. My article, the Superintendent’s, is generally the first one to start off the series. Special thanks goes out to our two local newspaper organizations, The Chilton Times Journal, and the Tri-County News. Their support in this partnership allows this to happen, and we are very grateful for their willingness to publish our work. We hope you find the upcoming 2015 Chilton Spring Newsletter of interest.
HOW DO WE DEFINE A QUALITY K-12 PUBLIC EDUCATION?
During the 2012-2013 school year, the Chilton Board of Education asked this question of the Chilton Administrative Team. It’s a fair question, and one that we were eager to address. We started with reviewing the District’s Mission and Vision Statements that were developed by a team of Chilton community members during the 2007-2008 school year.
Those statements are:
Mission Statement: We, the Chilton Public School District, believe that preparing students to achieve their potential is our highest priority. In partnership, with all members of our community, we are committed to inspiring our students to be life-long learners and responsible, contributing members in a global society.
Vision Statement: Our vision is to:
- Be an innovative school system recognized for every student’s demonstration of the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
- Demonstrate continuous improvement through the delivery of a challenging educational program that fosters student achievement, accommodates individual learning styles, and values personal integrity.
- Develop an interactive partnership between the school district and the community that is mutually beneficial.
While those may sound like lofty statements, quite frankly, they help guide our work and set our priorities when faced with any number of challenges, and conflicting priorities, within the School District of Chilton. While the Mission and Vision Statements help to provide the framework for our definition of a quality K-12 Public Education, we knew we needed more specific, measurable goals in place to measure our progress and hold us accountable, as we work toward fulfilling them. To that end, we have developed District-wide goals and building specific goals. Progress toward these goals is reported annually to the Chilton Board of Education.
Those goals are:
- First and foremost, a quality education must be delivered by a highly competent and well trained staff at every level of the organization. Following State of Wisconsin mandates, the School District of Chilton has implemented a Teacher Effectiveness Performance Evaluation System. In this system, teachers and administrators are evaluated on 6 performance standards. Their work is frequently observed, and they develop a portfolio of work-related artifacts to demonstrate their proficiency in each of the 6 standards. We are in the second year of implementing this model. While we have learned a great deal, we know there is much more to learn. We are well on our way toward implementing a new, and perhaps more objective method, for assessing the proficiency of our educators.
- The District has adopted a District-wide Achievement Goal that states: All schools within the School District of Chilton will Exceed Expectations on the State of Wisconsin School Report Card. Currently, Chilton Elementary and Chilton High School have attained this goal. Chilton Middle School is only points away from achieving it as well. This goal is well within our reach, and we are committed to working toward its attainment.
Chilton High School goals:
- Every student at Chilton High School will graduate. We strive for a 100% graduation rate.
- Less than 5% of Chilton High School students will be habitual truants.
- 60% of Chilton High School students will participate in extra-curricular activities.
- All Chilton High School students will be at grade level or above in reading and math achievement.
- 50% of Chilton High School graduates will graduate with AP Coursework completion, Articulated/Transcripted Credit, and/or Apprenticeship/Industry Certification.
Chilton Middle School goals:
- Less than 5% of Chilton Middle School students will be habitual truants.
- 86% of Chilton Middle School students will participate in extra-curricular activities.
- All Chilton Middle School students will be at grade level or above in reading and math achievement.
Chilton Elementary School goals:
- Less than 5% of Chilton Elementary School students will be habitual truants.
- All Chilton Elementary School students will be at grade level or above in reading and math achievement.
We believe that these are ambitious goals, and in order to achieve them a number of fundamental resources must be established. Examples of those resources are: a fair and equitable compensation system that supports the retention of quality, veteran staff while also encouraging new staff members to seek employment with us, a scheduling system at the high school level that promotes and supports a wide variety of educational opportunities for high school students, the continuation of the “middle school concept” at Chilton Middle School which is appropriate and well suited for the developmental needs of middle school students, and equitable class sizes throughout our district – but with special emphasis given to lower class sizes in our elementary program to meet the needs of our youngest learners. These are examples of some of the resources needed to support this work, and we believe they are the foundational building blocks of our quality programming. The School District of Chilton has many resources available to meet the needs of our students, and we continually evaluate programs and resources for their effectiveness, modifying, changing and eliminating those that no longer provide a return on the investment of meeting the needs of our learners.
This framework of belief statements and specific, measurable goals to help reach them, holds us accountable in fulfilling the promise of providing a high quality educational experience for every student in the School District of Chilton. Our work as school district personnel is continually focused on working to achieve the District’s Vision and Mission statements through the identified goals. When all of these pieces are put together, we are confident that they contribute toward a high quality educational experience for every Chilton student. We know that we do this work in partnership with our community, and we are very grateful for the resources that the Chilton community provides in order to make the “delivery” of quality educational programming a reality for Chilton students.
In summary, a quality K-12 educational experience establishes a caring, nurturing and safe environment, within which students can choose from a wide variety of academic and co-curricular activities, that challenge their thinking, expand their vision, and help them discover their gifts as they strive to reach their potential. The goals that we have established for this work, help to measure our progress toward the fulfillment of “delivering” on the promise of a high quality K-12 public education. Clearly, however, as has often been said, “Not everything that counts, can be counted.” There are so many other factors that enter into this great undertaking. Without a doubt, some of those factors include: caring, nurturing staff members, clear communication methods/tools, engaged parents, a supportive community, policies and procedures that support student learning, adequate/appropriate resources, clean, safe and effective facilities, etc……… This list, as you know, can go on and on.
If you’ve read this far – THANK YOU – for hanging in there until the very end! I am very interested in hearing your feedback. How do you think we’re doing? In your opinion, are we delivering a quality K-12 education in the School District of Chilton? What can we do better? What should we consider doing differently? Please feel free to contact me about this topic, or any concern you may have about the Chilton Public Schools. I can be reached at: (920) 849-8109, or at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome and encourage your thoughtful and constructive input.
I hope you will enjoy the articles to follow in this Spring Newsletter format. They will be written by a variety of school personnel that have expertise on a wide array of topics that affect the Chilton Public Schools. I encourage you to stay informed and join us on our mission of helping every Chilton student achieve their potential.