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Visioning Summary Results

posted Nov 15, 2012, 11:00 AM by Tricia Manzke   [ updated Nov 15, 2012, 11:04 AM ]

Visioning Summaries

Draft -- Distilled/Weighted Responses

to Visioning Survey and Sessions

(This is only a report on responses and not a final product.)

 

 

Explanation of the “distillation” process:

 

These results include the responses of approximately 90 teachers/staff and 30 parents and community members from the group visioning sessions and 45 responses from an electronic survey posing the same questions as the visioning sessions.  It also includes responses from all students K-12 from all three schools.  Some further work needs to be done to incorporate the results from the lower grades of the students because the questions and process was different and less intensive that those with the adults and staff.

 

Each response to these questions was assigned a common trait or identifier according to the nature of the response.  For example, responses to the question of an ideal student that related to human character, such as resilience, honesty, responsibility were tagged with the identifier “character.”  

 

The purpose of this process was to group responses into common categories. Many responses were similar in nature but expressed differently.  In order to recognize those responses that were valued the most--we need to distill the response into common traits otherwise they would underweighted in the summaries.

 

 The goal is to reduce the number of responses through common identifiers so that we could accurately measure the weight of the total responses--which common identifiers appear most frequently.

 

Once we identified the most frequent responses through the common identifier--which ideas were collectively valued the most--we established “primary responses” and then also “secondary responses”.   When this was established we went back to flesh out actual responses and used those responses collectively to articulate what was actually being said.

 

In many cases, actual words or phrases were used to articulate the values in the below summaries.   In some cases, the collective responses were reworded or rephrased to represent a more complete picture of all the responses.

 

The following summaries below are still in a rough concept form and have not been further developed or expanded upon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Values -- The Schools

 

 

Learning Environment 

 

A positive, energized environment that inspires learning.  An environment that is focus on education.   A hum of positive activity, relaxed yet controlled environment. All parties are engaged and enthusiastic.  Laser focused on student learning and engaged with students.  A cauldron of creative activity where students and faculty are engaged.  Fun and full of school spirit.  A place where learning is valued.

 

Welcoming Community/Safe

 

A strong community where everyone feels safe and included.  A sense of belonging and identity in the school. Positive, nurturing.  Attention to social issues, support systems and appreciation of differences.  Parent and community involvement.  Accessibility.  Student friendships.  A social climate respectful of all.  Friendly. Inviting.  A place that makes you feel good, valued and respected. 

 

The Building

 

Paying attention to the quality of the building interior.  Focusing on things such as murals,natural lighted areas, open areas, finding ways to extend the school outside the building to the school grounds.  Clean, organized.  Attractive and well laid out.  Looks like a 21st century school.

 

 

Secondary Values

 

Great Teachers 

 

See the values for teachers for further elaboration.  It is important to note that a very large number of HS students identified this aspect of the school in their minds as an ideal school.

 

Academics/High Expectations

 

This could also tie in with the learning environment.   A key emphasis was high expectations, challenging, rigorous.   More of this can be elaborated in the section on Learning.

 

Leadership

 

Effective, supportive, consistent leadership that is respective and proactive.  Having a clear focus and vision.  System where leadership is valued and fostered.  Strong disciplinary back-up.  Consistent, strong leadership qualities in administration.

 

Primary Values -- The Learning  

 

Academic Rigor (21st Century Skills)

 

All of Tony Wagner’s concepts of 21st century learning, including creativity, innovation, problem solving, learning how to learn, learning to use resources, public speaking.  This was the primary value for the teachers and staff and very strong value for community and parents.   There was a very clear understanding and recognition by all groups of adults in the value of academic rigor. 

 

Other aspects:

 

independent thinking

open minded, diverse thinking

problem solving, multiple approaches

independent and group projects

analyze and critique

communication, public speaking

academic rigor rests on strong core abilities

real world problems, real world skills

innovation and creativity

decision making

learning how to learn

versatility adaptability

 

Tony Wagner’s 21st Century Skills (These items below were not from the sessions, these skills identified are the work of Tony Wagner--Harvard, Education Specialist, in his book, The Global Achievement Gap.  They are listed below because they represent the best articulation of Academic Rigor.)

 

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence

Agility and Adaptability

Initiative and Entrepreneurialism

Effective Oral and Written Communication

Accessing and Analyzing Information

Curiosity and Imagination

Innovation and Ingenuity

 

Core Knowledge and Skills: 

 

A proficiency in the the core areas of knowledge such as reading, math, science.  Proficiency in the core skills, reading, writing, communication.  Also to include core knowledge essential for citizenship and global citizenship, knowledge of the world, the relationship to the environment, and environmental stewardship.  Core knowledge and skills was the primary value for community and parents.  It rated very strong with staff and community attended sessions. Notably, academic rigor was the primary value for teachers and a strong second for community/parents in the survey.

 

The core message seems to say, whatever we decide to do, our primary focus is to deliver core competencies to high levels of achievement.  We can teach many things in this new age of information, but we must never loose sight of core competencies--this is the priority.

 

Others aspects:

 

2nd language competence

core history, geography, science

written and spoken english, think clearly and logically

math calculation and written expression

focus on general knowledge

demonstrates fundamental academic skills.

science through chemistry and physics

STEM competency and preparation in ES

 

 

Secondary Values -- The Learning

 

Life Skills:

 

Basic skills that every adult will need to excel as a capable, adaptive, effective citizen, worker, and member of society.  This includes problem solving, social relationships, interpersonal skills, time management, organization, responsibility for one’s actions, responsibility for own learning, decision making.  Also to include the core knowledge and skills for an educated adult, goal setting. 

 

There is a high correlation of life skills to academic rigor, but it is somewhat different in that it really includes many basic skills that are essential to being an effective member in  society.    Much of life skills pertains to cultivating a strong work ethic and attitude to be successful.  Life skills also relates to character below.   There are essential character attributes that relates to a child/adults resiliency and it is this character values that drive the work ethic and manifest themselves in the life skills of a student.

 

Important note: a significant number of respondents talked about life skills on the lower levels of this definition, such as basic math, balancing a check book.   In this survey, I focused on the highest concepts of attainment and favored highest definitions of life skills.

 

Other aspects:

 

learning how to learn

goal setting

self-advocacy

create and maintain health

healthy choices

relationships -- this was a very strong response

time management

following directions

science of survival for real world

life planning and goals

 

Character: 

 

Having students identify with human ideals and values that represent the highest forms of human/student conduct.  Trust, honor, service, compassion, dedication, perseverance, ability to withstand defeat, confidence, self respect, respect for others, responsibility, pride, understanding, empathy .

 

Other Aspects:

 

moral values/moral choosing

wisdom, maturity

compassion

understanding

Respect---very strong response

resilience, withstand failure

service

character development

responsibility integrity

 

Strong Secondary Value -- Civic and Community Service

 

Leadership

Citizenship

Service, the value of service

Sense of Community

Fundamental understanding of how government and society functions

 

Strong Secondary Value -- Passionate Learning

 

 

Creating an ideal environment and an ideal reaction in the student the drives the engine of inquiry and curiosity.  Cultivating students that love learning.  Using instruction to inspire, engage and create a thirst for knowledge and understanding of the world.  Can include and leads to life long learning.  A common aspect in this and academic rigor was the ability of the student to learn how to learn--the ability to teach themselves.  Strong emphasis on responsibility for ones own learning.   The key measure that respondents see as evidence is engagement.

 

Work Ethic -- Secondary Value

 

In sum, work ethic can be described as fostering in students productive work habits and cultivating young adults who are responsible for their own learning.  This closely relates to life skills.  It  includes the ability to work independently, manage time and organization.   Place a high expectation on the students to be responsible for their own learning, productivity, and quality of performance.

 

Clear Expectations

high expectations--a strong response

doing your best

 

Primary Values -- The Student

 

Character  

 

The primary aspect of character that was very strong in this response was the element of respect and self-respect.  Also notable was honesty, integrity, compassion and responsibility.   A feature of character also came out which related to work-ethic which was perseverance, “true grit” and ability to over come obstacles. There is a lot of over-lap between character work-ethic and passionate learning.  Character was highly valued by students.

 

Work-Ethic

 

In all groups there was a clear acknowledgement of the power in a strong work ethic.  A primary attribute was responsibility and in particular, responsibility for ones own learning.   A common phrase was “responsibility for ones own learning”.  It also includes focused on growth, hardworking, goal setting, organized, self-motivated.   Work ethic was strongly valued by students and was overwhelmingly the highest value for high school and middle school students.

 

Passionate-Learner

 

Closely related to work ethic and character, this was an attribute that was particularly valued by adults.   It relates to the notion of a student that has intrinsic drivers to learn and is motivated by a love of learning, inquiry, curiosity, knowledge seeking, connection making and risk-taking.  Many qualities that were recognized in 21st century academic rigor were associated with a passionate learner.

 

Secondary Responses -- The Student

 

Service

 

The concept of service mindedness--particularly selflessness and concern for others.  This was notably strong in the student response where they appreciated and valued those students who were willing to help other students.

 

Primary Values -- The Teacher

 

Passion for Teaching

 

Engaged, enthusiastic, inspiring presence in the classroom.  Ability to motivate and engage with students in the subject that they are learning.  Loves teaching and loves the students.  Teachers are seen as the driving force in a students lives and the ones who have the greatest ability to light the fire in a students love for learning.

 

Character

 

Character traits related to the relationships with students, specifically to empathy, nurturing, and understanding.  But also as relates to the nature of the teacher as a role model--notably with the students.  The ideal of teacher as fair, impartial, consistent, non-judgmental, honest and earns respect from piers and students.  Patience, dedication, perseverance.   The students specifically noted the desire for respect for their weaknesses.

 

Instructional Ability:

 

This is a wide range of ideals from being prepared, organized, well developed lessons, to being innovative, creative and open minded in their approach, clarity of ideas, professional.  Responses indicated a high expectation for teachers to be continual learners in achieving mastery of their craft.  Also, a key aspect of instructional ability was personalization--the ability to teach to different styles and the belief that every child can learn.   A very noticeable comment from students was the ability of the teacher to recognize when they need help--this was highly valued in elementary school students.  The concept of teacher work-ethic was also prominent in the responses. 

 

Relationships:  

 

A key aspect in all groups was the student teacher relationship.   This was most pronounced in the student responses.   The students were very responsive to student teacher relationships and expressed--the common phrase was teachers that loved students.

 

Support:   

 

The availability and accessibility of the teacher to help students in need and the ability to recognize when students need help.  This was not a primary response from the adults, but from the students -- at all levels--this was probably the most primary response.   There was also a very notable character trait that the students noted--dedication, teachers that were not willing to give up on them.

 

 

Secondary Values -- The Teachers

 

Personalization:

 

Finding ways to make the instruction relevant to the student.  Also finding ways to adjust instruction in a way that the student can related to.  This is also related to multiple pathways to learning.    Also related to this was the teachers ability to show relevance of what was being taught to how it relates to students in the real world.

 

High Expectations:   

 

The level of expectations placed on students by the teachers was highly valued.  Also it should be noted that clear expectations were also valued.

 

Humor:   

 

Very notable from the students response was the teachers ability to interject humor, fun and play into the classroom.

 

Communication/Listening:   

 

Valued by both adults and students.  It was particularly noted that students were very appreciative of teachers abilities to listen and hear what they were saying.   Communication was a key part in the student teacher and parent teacher relationships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Values -- Community Parent Support

 

 

Involvement

 

The primary aspect of involvement related to parents being actively engaged and aware of their child’s education and participation in activities of the school.  This included an interest in academics, what is being taught and how it was evaluated.  This also related to parents pride in their schools and valuing education.  Evidence of this involvement was a strong PTG, attendance of school activities and functions. Cooperation and partnering with teacher about child’s education and contributing to decisions at the school board and direction of the school.  Involvement did not relate just to parents but also to community members.  There were numerous comments about connection of the school to the community and school activities connected within the community, such as internships, community service, and having multiple places to learn within the community.

 

Involvement of the parents in the child’s education was highly valued by high school students.

 

Communications

 

Communication was highly valued and this meant communication in all forms.  There was emphasis on communication in multiple forms, and through various channels.  This included communication between parents and teachers as well as communication of the school to all community members.   Communication was seen as a two way street, where community feedback and input was receptive and welcome on the board and administrative level as well as from the parents to the teachers.  Communication was also seen as being responsive to parents.  It appears that there can never be enough communication. 

 

Support/pride

 

Support was closely related to involvement and included parental support for teachers and the learning.  Support was also identified in relationship to discipline issues.  It was more prominently used in terms of the larger community’s support for the schools and understanding the challenges a school faces in trying to fund and deliver high quality education.  But it also went beyond financial support of the taxpayers to community members finding ways to help the school and support high quality education.  There was a desire to have the community invested in our children and schools.   Pride was a key element of support and relates to communication and involvement.  There was notable comments on the desire to have the community have ownership and speak supportively of the school.

 

 

Secondary Values -- The Community

 

Cooperation

 

Cooperation spoke to sharing common goals within the community for our children’s education.  It also mentioned the level of cooperation between parents and teachers.

 

Relationships

 

Relationships were also seen as a key element of support for the school.  Strong relationships were valued between parents and admin.  Relationships were cultivated through strong connections to the community, parents and students.



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