Feedback is used as a basis for continuous improvement for oneself, a team, an organization and the workplace.
Schools receive and provide feedback daily, and the New Albany-Plain Local School District is no exception. Actively listening and incorporating constructive feedback from our families, students, partners, community and faculty or staff members permit us to get better individually and as a learning organization each day.
Together, educators in the school district are committed to creating a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student.
As our staff members gathered to celebrate the start of the 2018-19 school year, I shared the results of our year-end staff survey received during summer break.
The annual faculty and staff survey enables our leadership team to receive anonymous and direct feedback from staff about our school culture, climate, initiatives and progress.
The feedback, input and ideas received contribute to improvement planning to benefit students, faculty, staff members, parents and our community at large.
This year's results illustrate that nearly 80 percent of staff respondents are completely to mostly satisfied with the accountable school culture we are building.
The improvements and updates to teaching and learning materials, student programs, focused initiatives, and facility usage are impacting school climates.
Just as we desire for students to demonstrate improvement daily in our classrooms, we, too, as a learning organization, must commit to do the same.
Based upon feedback received, some improvement goals for the 2018-19 school year include:
* Continuing to assess and improve safety and security across the campus.
* Adding enhancements to secured school vestibule entries, gates and doorways, installing new security cameras at the Early Learning Center, middle school, high school and on the bus fleet, requiring students to wear identification badges as the staff members do and hiring a director of student services, Safety and security are a few examples of such improvements implemented for the new school year.
* Establishing clear expectations for improved communications at the building, department and district levels.
* Emphasizing timely, consistent, clear and responsive communications for staff members, just like our families. This summer, we developed technological tools and resources to improve communications internally and externally. Our website now permits users and visitors to customize their language, contrast and visual preferences, and new teacher tools and communication resources will enable and provide consistency for portals and messaging options.
* Expanding and investing in high-quality, focused and aligned professional learning opportunities for faculty and staff members to enhance teaching and learning environment, fulfill mandatory compliance and safety regulations, and result in the development and implementation of interventions and support structures for students. Summer curriculum sessions in mathematics, writing and project-based learning were complemented by new technology tools to enhance teaching and learning in our classrooms. Though the majority of our students might have been away for the summer, the learning continued on the district campus.
* Establishing districtwide expectations for implementation of the R Factor.
* Training staff members last fall permitted us to begin to teach the R Factor to students at the end of the last school year. (Editor's note: The R Factor is a popular response-and-outcome training program.) During summer recess, new faculty and staff members received training, along with nearly 60 students in grades 3 to 12 who shall serve as R Factor Student Ambassadors. These ambassadors will join R Factor school teams to teach and practice the R Factor disciplines daily with all staff members. Parents will be invited to join in "Owning Your R" and learning the R Factor with everyone, too.
* Making data-driven decisions across the district's learning campus.
* Assessing data to confirm student strengths, gaps or social-emotional need and identifying opportunities for operational or technological efficiencies to make data-driven decisions essential to fulfilling our responsibilities as a school district. A clarity of purpose has stabilized district finances while continuing to increase academic outcomes and results for our students, which will be reflected in our upcoming state report card from the Ohio Department of Education in September.
The 2018-19 school year is underway, and constructive feedback is welcome. Contact information for the district is available at napls.us.
Join district leaders as we continue to fulfill our purpose, strive for continuous improvement, hold one another accountable and put students first.
Michael Sawyers is superintendent of the New Albany-Plain Local School District.