Planning for a Productive School Year

Planning for a Productive School Year
Posted on 07/14/2016

In the School District of the Menomonie Area (SDMA), we continue to value the importance of setting clear goals that are aligned with the mission, vision, and strategic plan for our school district.  Over the past several weeks, the school board has been reviewing my administrative goals for the 2016-2017 school year, which were developed with feedback from a variety of stakeholders that included teachers, staff members, board members, parents, and community members.  

In the area of learning experience, we will study enrollment trends impacting elementary programs and provide recommendations to the Board for balancing elementary enrollment and programming in 2017-2018 and beyond.  We will work with principals, teachers, and other staff members to improve experiences as students transition from one building to another in our school district, and review expectations for student accountability in each of our schools.  

As a school district, we are in the “people business”.  We will continue to improve communication, transparency, and climate in the school district, and build trust with district staff through another round of “stay interviews”, school listening sessions, a third-party survey, and by offering staff scheduled “brown bag lunch opportunities” for having lunch with the superintendent and sharing feedback.  We will review and improve protocols for greater consistency in the hiring practices used in the SDMA, and it will be my responsibility to continue to evaluate and support the performance of the principals and directors.  I will also prioritize working with the new Director of Business Services for a successful transition into the school district, as we review and improve procedures used for evaluating clerical staff in the school district and investigate ways to prepare for the teacher shortage by expanding efforts for recruiting and retaining teachers.

In the area of technology, we plan to work with the district’s technology team and building sites to further develop the school district website to make it more current.   We will continue to study and plan for 1:1 technology integration in the school district, and work with the new Director of Technology and Innovation Specialist to keep the SDMA progressive in the use of technology.  We will also follow through on current technology projects that include account automation, the creation of a data warehouse, and the future expansion of the Chippewa Valley Internetworking Consortium (CINC) network in Menomonie.

Especially with the investment that our community made with the recent referendum, we will continue to prioritize our efforts in keeping our facilities clean, safe, and in good repair.  We will complete an annual review of our new 30-year maintenance plan, we will review, evaluate and improve newly devised protocols for building and grounds upkeep.  We will continue to investigate possible facility efficiencies that could lower operating expenses, and with construction nearly complete, we will also oversee the successful construction of Phase I of the Menomonie High School Sports Complex.

In the area of district resources, we will continue to advocate for appropriate levels of funding as the state legislature develops the next biennial budget, and while public school funding remains limited in Wisconsin, our school will will continue to analyze, plan, and make recommendations to the Board for the sustainability of district systems and programs.  We will utilize resources from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) to recommend policy changes and updates as needed, and in addition to regular Board meetings, and the annual hearing and budget meeting in August, we will host an additional budget meeting in January to provide stakeholders another opportunity to provide feedback before the development of the preliminary budget estimate for 2017-2018.  We will look to build upon our recent success in obtaining sponsorships and grants for the school district,  and we will encourage the expansion of partnerships for other district programs.  Finally, we will also continue to work with the staff health/medical committee to look for ways to provide employees excellent health care, while keeping costs down, and perhaps even consider a partnership for an on-site or near-site clinic.

As we work toward goals in the other five areas of our strategic plan, we will also look to build upon the success that we have enjoyed in the area of community engagement.  We will work with school stakeholders to make further accomplishments and updates to the district’s strategic plan, as well as to promote a shared vision in our school district.  We are in the process of establishing a Facebook presence for the school district, and we plan to create additional videos and webcasts to help share important school-related information and promote various programs in the SDMA.  As much as possible, we will continue to offer more school board meeting background in the public area of the BoardDocs website, and I will continue to write this School Crossings column and offer presentations for the various community groups interested in learning more about our school district.

As you can see, it will be a very busy year in the district office!  Should school stakeholders have any questions about our schools or the goals that we will be working toward during the 2016-2017 school year, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642.  More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter (