The district’s plan for the future

Paul Janes, Editor-in-Chief

At the beginning of the month, students in the High School and Middle School took time out of their 3rd-hour classes to fill out the Strategic planning survey. Many students either filled out the survey because their teachers made them, or didn’t take the survey at all. “I didn’t take the survey because I didn’t really think it mattered.” Will Zimdar ‘20 said. 

This survey, however, serves a very crucial role in developing the future of the school district. By providing feedback as the state of the schools now, students are essentially providing ideas for change in the future.

“If districts don’t look at where they are going and plan for the future, then they are not innovating. We need to plan for the future in order to provide our children with the best education possible. ” Superintendent Dr. Heidi Kattula said about the purpose of the survey. “The most important thing that we need to do is hear from the people we serve.”

In recent years the district has slowly been changing not only the learning environment but the culture within the schools. The most prominent shift has been from academic achievement to a “whole child” approach. 

“We have had a tremendous focus on the whole child… if we aren’t creating a space where our students are ready to learn, they’re not going to be able to learn.” Dr. Kattula said, “We have to continue to take care of and nurture our academic achievement. But tending to the whole child  is a variable where if we aren’t taking care of our students and staff, then we will never be able to continue to improve.” 

The survey didn’t go out to only students, however, staff and community members took part in the survey as well. In doing this, the district is able to see where discrepancies are within the community.

“We want to triangulate the data and see if we are in sync. If kids tell us that X% don’t have a trusted adult to talk to, but if the adult thinks that they do, then we need to know that.” Dr. Kattula said.

In regards to the culture, this survey also helps to give a snapshot of how kids feel within the schools. Changing the culture in the school takes time, but it helps when the students within the schools are actively trying to change it as well. 

“Our kids do so well all the time, sometimes in spite of the cultural forces around them.” Dr. Kattula said in regards to student activism. “I’m so proud of our students for choosing the same color cap and gowns last year.”