I have been invited to participate on the district strategic planning team.  I am honored to work on this project because of my role as high school principal and also because my children attend one of the local elementary schools.

We started our day with the superintendent sharing his vision and expectations for the district.  We met our facilitator from the Rhode Island Department of Education.  A few short videos on 21st century learning were shared with the group.  We spent quite a bit of time highlighting our success since the last strategic plan.  I am proud to share that most of the initiatives from the previous plan were achieved.

After lunch each group completed a data gallery walk.  This was a meaningful task that generated a great deal of discussion.  The data came from multiple sources both locally and nationally.  One significant piece of data regarding high school students focused on how our graduates fair in college.  SHS puts a high number of students into college but two years later a significant number of students are no longer enrolled in college.  This is an issue that we need to investigate further.

At the end of the gallery walk, each table reported out significant findings and asked clarifying questions.  The facilitator provided a preview of the next two days of work.

I found the first day pretty interesting.  We have a great mix of parents, teachers, administrators, and community members.  There are common themes developing around communication, professional development, infrastructure, and what learning might look like for our students five years from now.  I am also happy to see some modeling of technology.  For many in the group, it is the first time they are using an iPad, Elmo, or LiveBinder.  It was refreshing to watch a school committee member attempt to master the touch screen on the iPad.

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