Plan is foundation for reducing class sizes and restructuring District staffing – The Davis Joint Unified School District 2014-2019 Strategic Plan is all about the students. Specifically it says every student will set and pursue academic, social, and personal goals; meet or exceed district academic standards; and demonstrate individual and social responsibility. The rest of the 53-page document sets out the plan for how the school district will help students achieve these goals.
First and foremost according to DJUSD Superintendent Winfred Roberson, the district is committed to building employee capacity, creating flexible facilities, and expanding its technology.
“Current funding is still not enough for us to increase the number of teachers, classified employees, and administration employees back to 2005 levels,” stated Roberson, “But we are allocating resources and building capacity at every level within the DJUSD to achieve the goals in the strategic plan. This means more teachers, more training, more classified employees, and a restructuring of how we do business at the administrative office.”
“Our human resources department is going to be very busy during the next five years,” said Roberson. Due to attrition, retirements, and new FTEs to achieve class size reductions, we expect to hire up to 50 teachers a year. They will need someone to train and provide professional growth opportunities for them. With common core and other changes in education, applying resources into site-based classified employees and administration will ensure we continue to grow and advance as one of top school districts in the state.”
Included in the document are plans for wireless capability at all district campuses; increased training, evaluation, and parent feedback on the new Common Core Curriculum; and retrofitting and building improvements at various school campuses to improve student safety, meeting space capacity, and esthetics. Other areas address goals for lower class size, school cultural issues, and district communication.
Gina Daleiden, DJUSD board president acknowledged the many hours of work involved in creating the plan saying, “A lot of time and critical thinking went into the development of our strategic plan and we thank the members of our staff and community who participated in this process.”
Key strategies in the plan approved by the Board of Trustees on March 6, 2014 include:
- Implementing a system to support students in pursuing academic, social, and personal goals;
- Offering comprehensive professional growth and development opportunities to the district’s teachers and staff;
- Implementing a district-wide assessment system for the Common Core Standards; and
- Developing the physical space and technology infrastructure needed.
Part of the support for students will include frequent district-wide assessments regarding the Common Core Standards to analyze student performance with the goal of improving instruction, closing the Achievement Gap, and ensuring all students meet or exceed district standards. These evaluations will include regular feedback from students, parents, and teachers.
Starting in July the district will begin a three to five year process to upgrade technology and facilities. Plans include seeking public and private partnerships for installing wireless at all DJUSD campuses during the next three years.
The district also will implement three-year staggered repairs of facilities and grounds with an emphasis on campus safety, preventative maintenance, and deferred projects such as roofs, flooring, and HVAC. These plans will include retrofitting many of the science, music, and library spaces. An assessment will be done of the exterior spaces for gardens, athletics, physical education, and welcoming gathering spaces. Once needs are identified, they will be prioritized and then work will be completed in order of priority.
Plans for interior upgrades include construction for multi-use and flexible-sized rooms, small conference rooms, and larger sized spaces for staff collaboration, student group, and parent outreach meetings.
According to Roberson, “New programs, services, and improvements will be evaluated relative to their demonstrated benefit compared to the cost; and we will balance the educational opportunities with the community’s ability to pay.”
School site cultures also will be assessed using a cultural assessment tool to be developed by a district taskforce made up of representatives of teachers, administrators, parents, and middle and high school students. According to the strategic plan, “Particular focus will be on cultural attributes that correlate to the success of groups identified in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).”
Added Roberson, “This may lead to policy recommendations to the Board of Trustees.”
The plan also talks about lower class size, creating small learning environments, and creating “schools-within-a school” to facilitate goal setting, college and career readiness, and school-connectedness for secondary students.