Dear Members of the Uxbridge School Community,
In January 2019, Uxbridge Public Schools formally began the process to develop a multi-year district action plan that represents our community’s values and the strategies that we believe best support student achievement. The initiatives, outcomes, accountability, and identification of resources of the Annual District Improvement Plan drives the implementation of and the reflection on the goals and initiatives of the multi-year plan.
We followed the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Planning for Success process recommended for district strategic planning and continuous improvement. Our facilitator worked with the designers of this process for DESE and has worked with over 100 school districts and superintendents in Massachusetts to develop their strategies for district improvement. Under her direction, we kept pace with our aggressive timeline while able to authentically engage with stakeholders from across our community to examine, not only our concrete practices and outcomes, but to also challenge our own beliefs around education and identify what we want for our children both in practical and aspirational terms.
The purpose of this work is two-fold: (1) to further develop a cycle of continuous improvement at all levels of the school district including identified focus areas, relevant data, and benchmarking the impact on student achievement and (2) to improve collaboration and communication within the school district and Uxbridge community as it relates to the education of our children.
From the very beginning in January, there was an inclusive approach to the strategic planning process. By trying to build ownership and engagement at the outset, we were able to gain an objective look at our school district through the varying values, experiences, wants, and needs of our different stakeholder groups. Opportunities for parents, community members, students and staff were held throughout the winter and spring in addition to the numerous meetings and events that Superintendent Tiano conducted from June 2018 through March 2019 as part of his Entry Plan.
Facilitator Dr. Patricia Grenier and I guided the work through two major groups, the Steering Committee and the Administrative Council. The Steering Committee was comprised of 22 key stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members, and association representatives, who had and continue to have a vested interest in the delivery and outcome of this process. Meeting 6 times, including a full Saturday morning, the steering committee embraced their guiding principles of giving strategic direction by providing opinions, feedback, and advice while supporting the superintendent to ensure that the final product is relevant, meaningful, and engaging. The effort and passion of this collaborative group provided a diverse and insightful perspective by which many ideas were examined.
The Administrative Council was expanded this year to include all administrators to reflect the district’s commitment to an inclusive, collaborative decision making and two-way communication. Meetings of this team were increased from one to two times per month from January to May, as well as three additional days in June and August. Over the summer, we refined the Strategic Goals and Initiatives and developed strategies and actions designed to provide direction for organizational improvement and growth.
The 2019-2020 District Improvement Plan, which reflects year one of the strategic plan, includes the following components: action steps, resources needed to support implementation, expected outcomes, responsible staff, and timeframe. These elements will provide the means to monitor the plans and report both the progress and impact of the initiatives to the staff and public. Uxbridge Principals and Directors are in the process of developing their school/department-specific Improvement Plans for Success which they will bring back to the individual school councils and then to the School Committee this fall for approval.
Thank you for your continued support of our efforts to serve the children and families of Uxbridge.
Frank A. Tiano, Ed.D