By Jennifer Jimenez
Dysart Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Gail Pletnick presented information to the Governing Board about a recent focus group during their March 14 regular meeting on the focus group report for 2017-18.
The focus group covered Goal B of the strategic plan, which includes innovation, personalization, communication and leadership.
“Each year, I hold focus groups and report on topics related to strategic plan and this year the focus was on goal B and also intertwined with goal A of innovation and personalization,” Ms. Pletnick said. “This reflects teachers, parents, support staff and stake holders and you (board) have received the brainstorming items that came out of these meetings.”
In the area of district innovation, Ms. Pletnick said the feedback indicated the district is doing some innovative things that are positive. Iexplore piloted this year and will be in all classrooms next year. The feedback also said flexible classrooms and pathway are all positive things happening in this area.
“For innovation, suggestions to improve include growing opportunities for clubs, create more competitions and have more resources available, grow community involvement using industry partners and parent programs and build on student’s passions and interests to give them choices,” Ms. Pletnick said.
Personalized learning includes online options and to designate areas where students can really connect with and give them real-life experiences, which is ideal for partnerships around the community.
One recommendation in communications included developing an app where everything is stored that is happening in the district. A place to locate calendars and notices and bulletin information, such as when to pay for caps and gowns.
“Another idea is to involve the community in a variety of partnerships and events,” Ms. Pletnick said. “How do we get more people to engage and have real-life experiences. And more collaboration with our high schools; how do you have more of that?”
Building leaders is an important aspect and suggestions included pathways for classified staff and leadership training for everyone, including parents, students and anyone engaged in the district. The district is looking to engage with experts in different areas using professional development.
Aligning to the strategic plan and expanding partnerships is really Goal B and this year the district took inventory of who the district’s partners are so next year they can add more who can help with student conferences and town halls.
“We used to have town halls and they contributed a great deal. Anything we can do to replicate that would be ideal,” Ms. Pletnick said.
Dysart Governing Board President Traci Sawyer-Sinkbeil agreed having a one-stop-shop to access all district related information in the form of an app would benefit everyone.
Ms. Pletnick said they are looking in to how the innovation academy can be incorporated into all the district’s schools. She said the district is already using a lot of digital resources and now they have systems in place that can help students track their own progress in different areas.
“We have been working on our journey of personalized learning and every administrator and school staff are working on how we personalize learning in their schools and making progress down that road,” Ms. Pletnick said.