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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo School Board Okays Proposed Goals

Issue Date: September 30, 2021

At the Peshtigo School Board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8, Superintendent Patrick Rau did a presentation on the Board Goals.

There are three categories of goals that will be focused on including School Safety, College and Career Ready and Communication.

With the violence in schools increasing along with the intensity of violent acts worsening, the old procedures, policies and building structures do not adequately provide save environments for students and leave buildings, students, and staff vulnerable. In addition, traffic congestion during drop-off and pickup times hinders safe routes to and from school.

The mental health of students is a also a growing concern with children and adolescents being exposed to more risk factors associated with substance abuse, poverty, social media and violence through their own lives and family. Currently, mental health wellness activities and support are inadequate; Traffic is congested during pick-up/drop-off along with parents and staff who do not follow policy and procedures and online safety curriculum for students and parents is absent or unknown.

On a positive note, monthly safety drills are completed that include fire, tornado and intruder drills. Evacuation drills are completed in both buildings. New Cameras/Door Security Systems were installed at Peshtigo Middle High School (PMHS) in Spring of 2019; A new district-wide phone system was installed in the summer of 2019 and includes 911 notification system and ALICE alert with continued ALICE safety training; In May of 2019, a Mental Wellness Committee was created to develop a plan to address mental health needs of students and staff. Trauma Sensitive Schools training was provided to all staff in November 2018; Suicide Prevention/QPR training was provided to PMHS staff in Fall of 2019 and in Fall of 2020, Stop the Bleed training and kits were provided to all staff in Winter of 2020, and in Fall of 2020, a Threat/Vulnerability Study was done.

The safety goal is to provide training and resources, policy and procedures, and physical resources so that our students, staff and building are safe. The district will make a concerted effort to improve safety practices and procedures through the use of professional development, time allocation and financial resources to improve student and school safety. The plan is to complete a walk-thru onsite with critical staff, provide parental training and ongoing Covid-19 Trauma support, staff training in the 2021-2022 school-year, QPR Training for Staff and a plan to research and implement a response and referral process to address needs of identified students.

Committee meeting follow up reports will be provided n January, March and June.

In the Communication category, the District currently is reliant on outside media sources to provide content to parents, students, and the community. This reliance prevents staff, students, parents, and the community from being knowledgeable of the many of the positive things the school does for its students. A lack of two-way communication is also observed.

Communication has improved between the District and the community since 2018 with the Bulldog Bark, increased presence on social media, and CONNECT. Feedback from parents during the Covid-19 Pandemic consistently includes an appreciation of the Districts communication efforts. The goal is to align technology, online, social media and media resources so that parents, students, and community members are informed of District successes, challenges and events.

The plan to see this through will include local government leaders, representatives and senators in the distribution of the monthly and quarterly newsletters by mail or electronically, creation of a Community Connection in the quarterly newsletter to highlight a local partnership with a business, group or individual, explore community facility use for programming and concerts and to provide volunteer recognition. A course offering / curriculum review will be done in the categories of Communications, Marketing, English courses and Modem Communications. The Board proposal is to create a multi-platform approach to inform students, parents, staff and the community about District challenges and successes.

Information on the website can be difficult to find, it lacks intuitive design and is difficult at times to update, which is forcing staff to use other webpage services. Many steps have already been taken to improve communication including a quarterly District Newsletter, The Bulldog Bark is sent to every resident and open enrollment families, a Monthly District Newsletter electronic version is sent to families and staff, it is also shared via social media as well. Social media presence on Facebook is maintained, Skylert (school messaging service) is used routinely to provided district and school building updates and CONNECT was attended by over 100 communities as the results serve as the backbone for strategic decision-making. New staff orientation is also provided annually to new employees and a recent survey informed the District that the Peshtigo Times was used by the majority of people as source for district news.

Things to improve upon: The District does not have a consistent plan or a method to communicate with local/state government leadership; The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the reliance on regular, timely and concise school communications; Broadband access remains inconsistent and is a concern for 15% of the District's families.

The last category of focus is College and Career Ready. Several societal and educational trend factors have contributed to improve and grow the effort to better prepare secondary graduates for post-secondary life. An aging population limits the employable population and has also increased the need for skilled labor. Locally, the economy is built upon manufacturing with skills that range from welding to automated practices. The high cost of college has also influenced schools to provide early college credit programs to stave off high college debt.

Current conditions show that two of the biggest learning problems are that 60% of all students are not proficient in math and literacy and lack of transparency in or existence of team structures at all levels including District leadership, 4K-12, building level and grade level.

Three of the largest culture problems include all work by adults and students is not aligned with achieving the vision and purpose; Teachers at the school/district do not have a sense of empowerment, teamwork and community and do not embrace new challenges with a can-do attitude and the District does not routinely collect and share data on adult practices to ensure deep implementation of specific strategies and to support all adults toward improving student learning.

There are potentially four root causes of these problems: Root Cause #1: The District does not have K-12 alignment with high quality instruction for all students. Teaching practices are not all evidence based and agreed upon; Root Cause #2: The District does not have shared knowledge or professional development on data analysis and application to inform instruction. The process does not focus on changing the system and adult practice, rather than fixing students and families; Root Cause #3: There is no fluid team structures and regular flow of information among and across teams and no peer accountability and there is no strong shared leadership that establishes a relationship of trust. The last root cause is not having effective and efficient reciprocal communication throughout the system to establish transparency and trust.

The goal is to have all students demonstrate core growth to be life ready. By the end of the 2023-2024 school year, the goal is to have all students in grades K-12 increase the percent of students that perform at the Proficient/ Advanced level in Math and English Language Arts (ELA) by 15% as measured by Wisconsin Forward in grades three through eight. Goal two is to have all staff functioning as a collaborative learning community.

The proposal to reach those goals is to have all staff members function as a collaborative learning community by having the 4K-12 curriculum align with high quality instruction, strategically use data to improve instruction, have collaborative, fluid team structures with regular flow of information and have a responsibility to have reciprocal communication through shared leadership. Then all students will demonstrate core academic growth to be life ready.

There will be a 100 day plan with action steps for monitoring all of these conditions, goals and proposals. In-service days will be designed to create ownership of work among all staff. Communication will be key in all areas of the plan. Goals will be revisited and reviewed, District literacy and math data will be shared with staff and will assess and measure academic growth in all subjects and grade levels. The staff will develop programs that utilize the rationale to align to district goals and current assessment data. All staff will understand their role in preparing students for core academic growth.

All of these goals and proposals will be met with a collaborative effort of the Administration Team, Principals, Director of Student Services, Teachers, CESA support and Educators.

After the presentation and discussion, the goals were approved by the board as proposed, with changes as discussed.


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