Valparaiso Schools Strive to Make a Difference

By: Valparaiso Community Schools Last Updated: February 21, 2011

valpo-community-schoolsWritten by Rob Haworth, Assistant Superintendent

The Valparaiso Community School district is recognized for its commitment to ensuring student success through a strong focus on academics, the arts and athletics. Valparaiso Community Schools offer numerous course offerings taught by professional and dedicated teachers who specialize in creating engaging and challenging lessons. To help maintain its position as a state leader in public education, the school board adopted a strategic plan in November which created a number of advisories and a Whole Student Committee. These two groups are guided by two student achievement goals.

Each student will experience challenging and appropriate instruction.

Each student will be a contributing citizen in our democratic society.

The advisories are; Wellness, Safety, Literacy, Character, Mentoring, Experiential Education, Alternative Education, PBIS, and Curriculum. The members of the advisories will serve as experts in their field and provide counsel to the district. Advisories will meet monthly. Example advisory tasks include; determine the effectiveness of current practices, discover best practices, evaluate best practices to determine fit for VCS, identify innovative methods, create methods for capturing data, and counsel the school board and district superintendent. On a monthly basis, an advisory will report out to the school board. The advisories are composed of teachers, including VTA discussion representatives, administrative staff, students, parents and community members.

The chair of each advisory, along with the Valparaiso Teacher's Association (VTA) President or his/her designee, forms a Whole Student Committee. The VCS management team will chair the Whole Student Committee. The Whole Student Committee will meet monthly to discuss various findings, issues and initiatives identified by the advisories, and allow the district to be proactive and deliberate.

The advisory process is proactive and allows the district to be in front of local, state and federal mandates. Rather than reacting with ad hoc committees this process allows the district to examine research, best practices, and current issues on a routine and district wide basis.

The advisory process is deliberate. The advisories will report out to the school board on a scheduled basis. Administrators and teachers will report the work of advisories during staff meetings and VTA discussions in order to stimulate discussion and receive feedback. The minutes of the Whole Student Committee and advisories will be made available to all district constituents.

All schools have an impact on their students, great schools make a difference. By adding the advisories and the Whole Student Committee, Valparaiso Community Schools will continue to make a difference.