Comprehensive Plan July 1, 2012 â€“ June 30, 2018
Introduction The Comprehensive Plan is designed to provide a vision for the future of the Shenandoah County Public Schools. The Comprehensive Plan reflects involvement from various stakeholders including the School Board, Superintendent, staff, principals, teachers, parents, and citizens. This document aligns with the Standards of Quality as outlined in the Code of Virginia. It is rooted in local school board philosophy and is aligned with all division planning documents, specifically the School Board’s approved technology plan.
Mission The Mission of Shenandoah County Public Schools is to prepare each student for a future of life-long learning. We believe that:
The success of Shenandoah County Public Schools rests with how well we prepare our students for the future; All members of the learning community are valued and respected; A work environment must encourage and support trust, mutual respect, open communications, and risk taking; Processes which allow for continuous improvement and problem solving are essential; The education of all members of the learning community is a shared responsibility.
Vision The Vision of Shenandoah County Public Schools is to be the first choice for education by:
Producing individuals who have the skills, ability, and attitudes to succeed as productive citizens and develop a mindset of life-time learning; Demonstrating high standards and expectations for all school personnel; Maximizing the utilization of school resources; Fostering goals and values that will be embraced by those whom the school division touches; Recognizing superior performance; Comparing favorably with Virginia standards; Preparing students to compete in the global economy.
Shenandoah County Public Schools is committed to achieving a year’s worth of growth in students and staff by making learning-focused and professional growth decisions that will ensure success.
The Comprehensive Plan is submitted pursuant to § 22.1-253.13:6 of the Code of Virginia. This document is a comprehensive, unified, long range plan based on data collection, analysis, and evaluation. The development process is a continuous cycle involving staff and the community. As stipulated in the Code of Virginia, the School Board will revise the plan biennially in an effort to meet the changing demands that are placed on school divisions in the 21st century. In addition to biennial revisions, a report will presented by the School Board to the public by November 1 of each odd-numbered calendar year on the extent to which the objectives of the division’s Comprehensive Plan have been met during the previous two school years. Members of the Shenandoah County Public Schools Comprehensive Plan committee are as follows:
Comprehensive Plan Committee Jeremy Raley
Assistant Superintendent for Administration & Finance
Director of Elementary Education
Director of Human Resources
Supervisor of Transportation
Supervisor of Instructional Technology
Principal – Stonewall Jackson High School
Principal – Peter Muhlenberg Middle School
Teacher – Signal Knob Middle School
Teacher – Central High School
Teacher – North Fork Middle School
Parent – Northern Campus
Parent – Central Campus
Parent – Southern Campus
School Board Member
Culture, Climate, and Community
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Meade)
Our students must be prepared to compete for jobs in a global market and will need the skills to work with others around the world. It is imperative that every student in our schools maximizes his/her potential. Our students deserve opportunities to develop skills in academics, thinking, problem solving, technology, creativity, and communication. New jobs are developing all the time. These jobs will require different skills than the jobs in the past. Therefore, our students will need to have different training to be prepared to compete for these jobs. By 2018, nearly two-thirds of these 46.8 million ―new‖ jobs—some 63 percent—will require workers with at least some college education. Schools cannot do it alone. Our community must understand that the changes that are occurring in our world require our students to have schools that prepare them differently. Our community must come together to support our schools as they prepare our students for jobs which do not currently exist.
“Something magical happens when you bring together a group of people from different disciplines with a common purpose.” (Mark Stefik, Palo Alto Research Centre Fellow)
Long Range Steps
Develop a shared value and vision for our community and schools which includes a common mission and sense of urgency to educate each young person in Shenandoah County so that he/she is prepared to work in a global workforce and live as a productive citizen. Establish a comprehensive facility and infrastructure plan that analyzes student enrollment demographics and trends to prepare for future needs. Facilitate the development of schools as 21st century learning centers and cultural hubs for the community.
Through a public relations effort, provide our community with information about the tasks our schools are currently undertaking: preparing our students for jobs which currently do not exist and the highly skilled instructional staff this endeavor requires. Hold community conversations and conduct surveys to determine the community’s current values and vision for the school system and its graduates. Determine the community’s budget and educational priorities. Collaborate with community leaders to develop a long range plan to recover from the financial and educational losses experienced by the division. Identify and develop opportunities for students and the school division to provide service and to develop public/ private partnerships with the community. Establish and facilitate focus groups involving parents, community, the technology advisory committee, and business leaders to plan for initiatives in the school division. Publicly recognize staff who earn advanced degrees, receive local, state, and national accolades, and for their leadership in the community.
Building from the Start: Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Years
“Children are born ready to learn. They cultivate 85% of their intellect, personality, and skills by age five.” (National Resource Council & Institutes of Medicine, 2000)
The first five years of life are a critical development period. The family plays the most important role in a young child’s life. The responsibility for children’s readiness lies not with the children, but with the adults who care for them and the systems that support them. Child development occurs across equally important and inter-related domains – physical well-being and motor development, social and emotional development, approaches to learning, language development, as well as cognitive and general knowledge development. The school division plays a pivotal role in working with community agencies to prepare students for entry into elementary school.
Work with different public and private agencies and organizations to share information about the early years such as: Smart Beginnings Department of Social Services Shenandoah County Pregnancy Center A Small Hand Family Youth Initiative Infant Toddler Connection Healthy Families Imagination Library Reading, Rhyming, & Readiness. Share information with families regarding preschool services, special education, and early intervention initiatives through a variety of media, including websites, print media, television, and radio Educational tips Health tips Parenting skills Developmental milestones Speech and language tips. Implement early intervention strategies for the division’s preschool program. Provide opportunities for preschool and kindergarten teachers to collaborate. Plan events for preschool students entering kindergarten.
Long Range Steps
Collaborate with community agencies to ensure all children have the readiness skills to be successful in school. Identify at risk children and families when children are born. Explore opportunities to expand the number of site based preschool centers in the school division. Incorporate preschool centers into the division’s long range facility plans.
“If we don’t begin thinking about education in the early years, our children are at risk of falling behind by the time they start kindergarten.” (Robert L. Erlich)
Teaching and Learning
“Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another." (Marva Collins)
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” (William Butler Yeats)
Clear and attainable learning expectations are essential for high levels of learning for all students. Students are more successful when they have a measure of ownership in their learning and actively engage in their own learning. High-quality, job embedded professional development for teachers and leaders support the teaching-learning process. A comprehensive assessment system is an integral component of effective teaching. The integration of technology into educational practices is essential for student engagement. Quality teaching results in significant student learning that is driven by individual student data and research-based instructional practices. Strong curriculum is broad, balanced, continually improved, rooted in the real world, and based on a common set of learning experiences.
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” (Mark Van Doren)
Long Range Steps
Provide the necessary resources for continuous improvement in curricula, assessment, and instruction. Provide every middle school and high school student with access to an Internet ready device for use in instruction. Prepare our students for global citizenship which will enable them to compete for present and future global employment opportunities.
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” (Anthony J. D’Angelo)
Offer high quality professional development for all educators to advance teaching and instructional delivery in order to meet the academic needs of ALL students. Support, expand, and promote the division’s career and technical programs. Set and work towards achieving specific, measurable, and attainable educational goals which provide multiple opportunities for students to use technical and interpersonal skills so they can be college and career ready. Implement tiered systems of instructional support that will use assessments to guide learning, ensuring that every student achieves at least one year of academic growth each year. Integrate currently available technologies as outlined in the division’s approved technology plan to support learning and facilitate assessment. Work to attain effective pupil-teacher ratios to optimize student learning and achievement. Provide educators with time to continue to collaborate, revise and implement curricula in all areas of instruction.
“…the main responsibility of school leaders should be the improvement of teaching and student learning.” (J. Murphy)
“School leadership has a substantial effect on student achievement.” (Robert Marzano, Timothy Waters & Brian McNulty)
Leaders must have a clear vision and communicate to everyone that student learning is the school division’s most important mission. Collaborative leadership contributes to ongoing improvements in student achievement and at the same time, fosters the continued success of the school division. Effective leaders communicate and model the organization’s core values through interactions with ALL stakeholders. Building principals have a powerful influence on student achievement through their influence on teachers and support staff. Principals influence student achievement through their leadership style and their influence on school culture. Leaders hold themselves and others accountable.
Long Range Steps
Examine the division’s overall organizational structure to expand career and leadership opportunities for employees. Explore modifications to administrative structures to allow administrators to focus on being leaders, not managers. Maintain expectations to ensure that ALL students achieve a minimum of one year of academic growth each year.
“Great teaching is leadership.” (Richard Dufour and Robert Marzano)
Communicate the division’s shared vision and mission whereby ALL stakeholders including employees and the Shenandoah County community understand, embrace, and support public education in the community. Make division decisions based on the belief that ALL students and employees will achieve at least one year of growth each year. Provide support and training for the implementation of all new employee evaluation instruments. Implement a mentorship and support program for new building principals. Establish a leadership program that includes practical, hands on experience that is designed to build leadership potential across the division.
“Every great leader is teacher and every great teacher is leading.” (John Gardner)
Employee and Organizational Success
Agile organizations respond better to change. Effective leaders improve the retention of great employees. Highly effective employees lead to better student learning. The beliefs and values of an organization drives the behavior of its workforce. Continuous learning is a necessity. Attracting top talent requires significant investment. Monitoring results improves long term performance. Collaboration among employees improves problem solving.
“The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers and principals, since student learning is ultimately the product of what goes on in classrooms.” (PISA: What Makes a School Successful?)
Long Range Steps
Advocate for more rigorous teacher preparation programs in higher education. Establish salaries above the median within our labor market for all occupations. Create a multi-tier compensation program based on career pathways. Establish a staffing ratio system to equitably deploy talent. Develop an employee referral incentive program. Develop family friendly policies and programs.
Become a recognized ―Best Places to Work‖ employer. Partner with universities to improve the applicant pool. Align hiring selection criteria with professional evaluation standards. Monitor talent engagement and job satisfaction. Develop orientation programs to improve new employee performance. Strategically align all human resource functions to support student learning. Use data to guide training for all employees. Implement competitive and equitable starting salaries. Recognize employees for successful performance. Monitor talent performance ratings in relation to student learning. Implement leadership workforce planning and development programs.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” (John Quincy Adams)