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Important Changes and Notes

published May 25, 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

I hope your last day with students is fantastic! On behalf of our administrative team and board of education,  I would like to share some work that has been occurring at the administrative level of South Sioux City Community Schools.

 

Initiative Inventory

 

The administrative team has asked for input and listened to voices from several stakeholder groups including teachers, administration and board members throughout the year. We want you to know that you have been heard and your messages are important to us. We used this valuable input while recently completing an initiative inventory.  We began by defining what an initiative is and what a best practice is. Keeping in mind the following, “ Something we would want for our own kid, we then want for all kids”.

 

The final part and toughest part of the process involved identifying district wide practices and placing them into 4 categories:

 

  1. Those that are mandated by statute or required by policy.
  2. Those that are new initiatives and require ongoing support. (Best practice is to keep this list to 6 or less)
  3. Those that may have been initiatives at one time, but have now evolved to best practice and do not require as much focused support.  “These are practices that have become the way we do things.”
  4. Those that we may be able to modify or reduce in scope.

 The meetings were productive, reflective and resulted in the following actions that your principals will highlight along with a few other building specific items in staff meetings next week.

  1. We are reducing the number of district level administrative meetings that principals are required to be at to one each week (possibly evolving to every other week) and two for our directors.  We will have more focused, efficient agendas and allow principals/directors more time in the school buildings to support staff and students.
  2.  There will no longer be a required form for submission of IPDP’s.  Quarterly updates will no longer be required. We will continue to provide high quality Professional Development for staff, expect staff to attend professional development opportunities, encourage the use of IPDP’s and support individuals in their development. Toolkits, coaching cycles with your IC, PD based on PLC needs, etc.  will remain a vital thread of who we are. I am confident that we all share a common goal and desire to grow professionally and be lifelong learne
  3.  The SMART Goal format will change.  Next year, PLCs addressing content other than literacy as the focus of their goal will be able to add a literacy aspect to their content goal rather than writing a separate goal.  Grade level or department teams will focus on specific priority standards each quarter based on the pacing guide. Individual teams will identify the strategy(ies) to best impact student achievement for this standard. At the end of the quarter, data will be shared and discussions of what worked & what didn’t to include assessment and body of evidence reflections. SMART goals will better align to the focus of each PLC by quarter. Building principals will be discussing this with you next week in your staff meetings.
  4.  The number of Safe Schools training sessions will be reduced from 4 assigned per year to 1 or 2 each year.  Blood Borne Pathogen training will be the only required training for most of our staff this coming year and time will be given to staff to complete that.  The NDE requirement for Suicide Training is mandated and remains. Next year we will have 2 training sessions instead of 4
  5.  Our dynamic and dedicated Tech team continues to work on designing our Powerschool learning management system into a more user friendly and applicable tool.  Moving into the 2018-19 school year, classroom teachers will no longer need to enter data into their grade level sheets document by standard.  Starting next year, this data can now be collected with reports generated at the district level.
  6.  I would also like to collaborate the voices of our Teacher Council and SSCA leadership into one Superintendent’s Advisory Council.  I will be visiting with both groups and asking for input on how we can form a stronger, more efficient membership structure and function together. The goal is not to minimize, but to continue to increase the avenues of communication and ensure that all voices are heard in advising the Superintendent in decisions such as those shared in this email.
  7. The Chartwells nutrition services staff will be taking back the cashier duties at our schools.

 

Important Notes

 

We have increased our fiscal awareness across the district.  We have been good stewards of our taxpayer monies, but have seen a decrease in state aid and certain other funding sources that forced us to draw from our district reserve funds this year and last.  The state aid forecast for next year is similar. We are taking strong steps to reverse drawing from reserve monies and to limit our budget spending. The principals and directors have been working with the board to identify possible areas to hold the line on.  We have identified many savings and hope to reduce our current budget reserve draw by several hundred thousand dollars with those immediate strategies. Examples include: The High School 1:1 program is changing to Google Chromebooks in order to save several hundred thousand dollars over the next three years and our summer project budget has been reduced by almost $500,000.  The intent is to stay away from our greatest resources, staff and students, in these actions. We will continue to analyze each personnel position that may open through attrition or voluntary movement to save costs and increase efficiency. I am impressed by the character of our team and their willingness to take on additional responsibilities for best interest of our district as we face these challenges.

 

Please note the following changes:

 

1. Two administrative positions have been reduced as individuals

    changed jobs and current administration assumed more duties.

 

  1. Assistant Superintendent
  2. MS Dean of Students

 

2.   We will no longer have the titles of Director of Secondary Education

and Director of Elementary Education.

  1. Building principals will be assuming more ownership for many of the responsibilities that directly impact the students and staff of their buildings.
  2. Allyson Olson, has agreed to join the MS Administrative team to assume certain assistant principal duties while also maintaining some district level responsibilities for certain programs. Allyson will have a new title, Director of Programs.  
  3. Jessica Major will remain as EN Swett principal and also supervise some district programs.
  4. Dr. Tracy Heilman will be our new Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. She will coordinate with the following leads at each level in regards to curriculum.

 

3.  The HS Administrative team has shared their roles for 2018-19:

  1. Ashley O’Dell - Principal
  2. Odell Santos - District Activities Director/Asst Principal
  3. Tom Luxford - Asst Principal/Asst AD/GTL Principal
  4. Ed Akins - Asst Principal
  5. Dave Clausen - Dean of Students

 

Thank you for your attention to these district happenings. I will continue to update as more exciting improvements evolve and your principals can help clarify questions also. We have had a fantastic year because of all of you!  Please know we will continue to work hard to make SSC Schools a great place to work! Thank you for your service and hope to see you all at next week’s Kickball tourney! Ice Cream Treats will be served!  

 

Go Cards!

Todd Strom
Superintendent 
South Sioux City Community Schools
Phone 402-494-2425