Happy New Year!
December 15-January 1, 2019
A regular newsletter for the public education community of Burke, Concord, Lunenburg, Lyndon, Millers Run, Newark, Sutton
Several years ago my daughter was studying overseas; our family made the journey to the Netherlands. On the dinner-time eve of the New Year there was a frenetic buzz about the streets. Then from about 10:30 to 11:30 this shifted to a silent hum.
Where did all the people go, we wondered?
When midnight struck, the entire city erupted.
Leiden is a small old European walled university town. Cobblestone streets, canals, art museums, tall and narrow Dutch brick houses, tightly squeezed together, their interior narrow staircases impossible to navigate with anything except your person, large arm and hook sticks on roof peaks to haul things to the top floors. Bicycles everywhere.
New Years was wild! On rooftops, in the streets, in cafes. EVERYONE seems to have a degree in pyrotechnics and they all set off fireworks simultaneously.
For me, New Years always has me remembering fun times. I think about past First Nights, I reflect on the current year and look forward to the future.
I want to take the time reflect on this year. We have merged our school districts into one. In leading up to and in this first 6 months how has our merged district changed? What benefits have we realized?
- All students have access to transportation to and from school (previously Sutton did not have transportation).
- Children in Concord and Lunenburg have access to high quality after-school programs which they previously never had.
- All of our schools have content coaching in math and literacy.
- All of our new teachers have mentors and a formal mentoring program.
- Additional behavior supports are available for all schools.
- Increased opportunities for professional development coursework (all teachers have the opportunity for the equivalent of 6 NVU college credits)
- Professional Learning Groups- coordinated professional development including groups where teachers of similar grade bands work together on student learning outcomes.
- All of our schools have a published Continuous Improvement Plan
- Leadership support and coordination: the principals from each school visit all schools and observe classrooms and work together on learning and outcomes.
- Board perspective: Board meetings rotate between seven different schools, board members gain the perspective of the needs of multiple schools.
- Shared Facilities work: folks at Burke have worked with the Newark facilities project allowing the installation of a heating pellet plant to increase energy efficiency.
- Facility Condition and Energy Assessment Audit in each school completed
- Increase in social media presence (facebook participation)
- Increase in school choice among schools in our district- parental choice
- Increase in migration into our district from neighboring districts (increase in revenue and equalized pupils)
- Mini grants awarded by the Vermont Rural Education Collaborative to more schools than in the past
Five Year Plan:
The Kingdom East School board has begun a strategic planning process to create a 5 year plan. On December 20th, a group of district teachers, administrators and board members convened a Think Tank to consider the next steps as we look at opportunities and challenges ahead. We are considering expanded student opportunity, equitable access to programs, healthy schools and class sizes and other potential changes moving forward. The Think Tank group will convene again in the end of January. For now, we need eveyone’s input!
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