Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Report to the Board October 20, 2015

Superintendent’s Report to
Urbana School District #116
Board of Education
October 20, 2015

Board Meetings on YouTube

Remember that all Board Meetings are broadcast live on UPTV, Channel 6. They are also posted on the USD116 YouTube Channel within a few days of the meeting.

The Future of Virtual Field Trips: Google Expeditions

Today, I had the opportunity to experience Google Expeditions using Google Cardboard.  Actually, I  just wanted to write that sentence.  Google Expeditions is an app (Apple and Android) based virtual field trip that I can only describe as a 3D Stereoscope or a View Master.  The teacher and student interface is very interactive, and the result is the feeling of being able to walk through a spherical picture of whatever place in the universe you choose (and has Expeditions content).  This would be a great idea for a CUSF Grant Application!

Strategic Planning Re-envisioning Starting Soon

I want to outline my vision for the strategic planning process and rationale.  As you know, our Mission, Beliefs, and Parameters are strong powerful statements that have community and organizational support.  I want to preserve those elements of our current plan but engage in a process that asks students, teachers, families, and the larger community to help us plan for the future.  My hope is to increase participation while at the same time analyzing which issues, concerns, dreams, and aspirations are most widely shared.  

Our current plan served us very well.  As we have evaluated the plan, we have determined that we accomplished about 75-80% of the action items.  That doesn't mean that we reached 80% of our goals; however, my hope is that we keep reaching for the three broad objectives while we engage our USD116 families, employees, and community members in helping us set new targets for the future.  I have attached a basic presentation that reviews the main parts of our current Strategic Plan.  
My plan is to engage our USD116 staff, students, families, and community in a variety of ways.  We will do road shows at staff meetings, visit with PTA groups, and hold district wide forums.  As you know, we enjoy going out and literally going door to door if that helps with engagement.  

We have been very impressed with a company called ThoughtExchange as a platform for engagement, analysis, and support.  They have experience assisting large and small districts engage around issues of strategic planning, facilities planning, redistricting, referendums, and marketing.  They also do what they call a 360º weather report about how the district is viewed by different sectors of the community. ThoughtExchange is an option that can be tailored to our needs and customized to help us discover answers to specific topics.  They also will help us continually evaluate our work be engaging our stakeholders in annual weather reports.  

You are all aware how important it is to have a plan to guide us through uncertain times.  Today, next year, and ten years from now are very uncertain.  Now is the best time to engage in a strategic planning process to help us focus on the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of our local community.

Urbana Crossing Guard and Substitute Crossing Guard Positions - City Seeking Applicants

Urbana School District #116 has been working closely with the City of Urbana and the Urbana Police Department to ensure the safety of school crossings.  Through our partnership, the City of Urbana employs nine crossing guards across the city.

This school year, the City has not been able to fill all nine positions.  They are also planning to hire several substitute crossing guards.  I am attaching a Job Announcement that describes the crossing guard and substitute crossing guard positions, hours, and compensation.  If you are interested, or know someone who is interested, please apply online at: www.urbanaillinois.us/jobs

Thank you for helping us ensure safe routes to schools.  Please remember to drive slowly and alertly through school zones and other areas of town when students are walking or riding bikes to and from school.  For more information about our safe routes to schools, please visit the district web page: http://www.usd116.org/schools/c-u-safe-routes-to-school/