A flourishing community is one where students have personalized, project-based learning opportunities that provide them the chance to engage deeply in topics they are interested in. Building steps down to the athletic field, building a grape arbor, and cooking are all examples of cross-disciplinary learning experiences that have proven engaging for our students. When students are engaged learning deepens and discipline issues are reduced.
As we transition to a proficiency-based learning system, we begin to see students taking responsibility for their own learning and demonstrating proficiency in multiple ways and with authentic audiences. As our students work on becoming successful communicators, collaborators, and problem-solvers, it is critical that we support them in becoming proficient with these transferable skills. These are experiences that can’t be reduced to a single grade.
A flourishing community is one where all staff work together in a collegial and collaborative environment. As I collaborate with educators across the country, I can say unequivocally that I really appreciate the culture and climate we have here in OCSU. Our staff’s dedication and commitment to our community makes OCSU stand out as a special place to work.
One of the things I am committed to is our growth-based supervision and evaluation model. I believe that by supporting educators to reflect on their own practice and to commit to next steps for growth, we will strengthen our system and provide high quality instruction for our students. Part of this growth-based system is professional development experiences that are differentiated to meet the needs of all our educators.
We are fortunate to have an excellent staff and it’s important to find opportunities to recognize them. As we build our social media presence we’ll be looking for ways to showcase the wonderful contributions of our staff members.
A flourishing community is one where school boards engage the community and establish a vision. This year the OCSU Board will be revisiting the strategic plan, and taking a look at the vision, mission, and core values.
One of the responsibilities of the School Board is to provide direction for the superintendent and to set priorities to focus on. Proficiency-based learning will be one of those priorities as we continue to shift our system in that direction.
Although OCSU does not operate under a policy governance model, setting policy is one of the Board’s main responsibilities. We are fortunate to have a dedicated group of Board members who don’t take that responsibility lightly and who are engaged and thoughtful contributors to policy discussions.
One of the Boards toughest jobs is to develop a budget that meets the needs
of both our schools and our community. Again, we are fortunate to have Boards who take this responsibility seriously and who work hard to find a balance between what our students need and what our communities can support.
A flourishing community is one where families and community members feel welcome in our schools. As the new school year begins I’ll be asking schools to consider ways that they make families and community members feel welcome, and ways to include families and community members in decision-making and learning opportunities. I’ll be encouraging schools to “tell their stories” so our communities are informed about the quality education being offered here in OCSU.
As we welcome our students back we will once again come face-to-face with the myriad of issues affecting our students’ lives. All of these issues affect how our students experience school. By partnering with families and community members we can share ideas and solutions for supporting our students.
OCSU truly is a special place to live and work. We are fortunate to have a community that works together to make it so.