(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD is unveiling its overall plan or vision to provide an "exceptional" learning environment for all students. The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees Wednesday night reviewed the draft documents found in the district's proposed strategic plan -- a plan designed to be incorporated into each classroom over the next 3 to 5 years.
The document, unveiled during the board's Team of 8 training, not only redefined the district's beliefs, vision, mission and strategic priorities -- but it also included the methods of creating a climate and culture for success. Essentially as N2Learning Consultant Eddie Coulson stated, "creating a culture and climate that if you are going to work in the Seguin ISD, this is what we expect. The expectations for all teachers, the adults."
Coulson, who has worked alongside the district following a series of committee meetings, says this strategic yet fluid process will be based on the district's new belief system. Seguin ISD beliefs include "students grow academically, emotionally and socially when creative and imaginative educators ignite their passions." It also includes that the "learning experience should be engaging, relevant and collaborative to meet the needs of all."
Coulson says these factors allow to better drive adult behavior in the classroom. He says it becomes leverage -- for teachers and community to become more invested.
"The pressure is on the adults, right? The parents send the best kids they have. The kids come and the pressure is on the adults to create these experience and the pressure is on the school district to make sure that the teachers are giving the time to collaborate, the time to plan, the time for them to do what we expect. If we expect them to design, collaborate and engage in experiences, then they need the opportunity to collaborate with one another and they need the opportunity and the time to design those experiences for students. So we can't be just business as usual and so that becomes something that Dr. G and his team and the principals need to begin to work on. So how do we create this culture, this climate, this atmosphere for our teachers where they have the time, to have the resources, to have the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas with other teachers and really design experiences for students that are meaningful," said Coulson.
Other statements found in the district's beliefs include "parent, community and industry partners are essential for student success; teachers foster student curiosity and initiative through meaningful and relevant learning experiences" plus "relationships that nurture student growth and development are key to success."
Coulson says he applauds the school district's attempt at a new direction and its willingness to adopt a new preferred future or vision of being exceptional. It's vision, "exceptional students to exceptional citizens."
"What I have seen from Dr. Gutierrez and the school board and the community -- as I have worked with them -- is they want classrooms to value learning and not just the standards that are being taught. So over the years, we've created this educational system that's all been about the standards, not about good instruction, not about engaging instruction and it's not that teachers in Seguin aren't working hard. Absolutely, they are! There are some great teachers here but we want to help them focus on student learning and valuing the student learning and being able to take their learning and applying it new and different situations. So all of that being said, the value of the strategic planning process and what I see with this community is that it really helps them shift their focus from having a mind toward the state accountability to having a mind toward student learning. They are two different things. You would think that they would be aligned, but they're not necessarily aligned. So we want to really value student learning. If we value student learning and have engaged kids -- engaged in classrooms and meaningful and relevant experiences where teachers are designing this opportunity for kids to be curious and imaginative -- kids are going to perform well," said Coulson.
Coulson adds that the district must also do its part to retain teachers by allowing them to have more of a voice in curriculum, instruction and assessment. It must also provide them a sense of purpose, and the district must recognize them personally when it sees teachers who are cultivating, inspiring and empowering students to learn. He says in the end, a strategic process -- if implemented correctly -- can be the key to ensuring the success of every Seguin ISD student.
"It does work. That's the amazing thing, but you have to be committed to it over time. This is not a quick fix. This is not a one shot thing. This is sustained leadership and focus over time. That's what it will take. Sustained leadership and focus over time. If the district is able to do that at the end and there is really never an end, but the ongoing process is you'll see students more engaged, teachers more satisfied, parents more satisfied, students more amped to enjoy the classrooms that they're in. We'll be developing kids that are going to be great citizens and great workers. So that's what we want right? We want kids to graduate and come across and be providers for their families and for them to be great citizens and so that's what Seguin ISD will help to do," said Coulson.
Members of the school board were also challenged of finding ways to better implement and continue the incorporation of the document into each classroom. An official adoption of the plan is scheduled for a future meeting of the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees.