VCS Strategic Plan to Use a Communication and Decision-Making Process

By: Valparaiso Community Schools Last Updated: February 28, 2011

valpo-community-schoolsFrom Superintendent Andrew Melin, Ph.D. for the week of February 28, 2011:

VCS strategic plan to use a communication and decision-making process

VCS is one of the premier school systems in Indiana. While recognizing the role current practices have played in making our school system so successful, we realize that it is important to be open to new ideas and to continue to investigate and pursue practices that will help us not only maintain, but also exceed, our exemplary status. To ensure we engage our school board, administrative team, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents, and community effectively, VCS will use the following decision-making and communication process:

  1. Our central office executive team will both generate ideas and receive ideas from our school board, strategic planning committee, strategic plan advisories, staff members, parents, and community members.
  2. Our central office executive team will conduct appropriate initial research and bring a suggested course of action to the school board for its consideration.
  3. If the school board supports the preliminary suggestion, and indicates that the review of the idea or proposal should continue:
    1. The central office executive team will communicate the idea/concept with the rest of our administrative team and solicit input/feedback.
    2. The central office executive team will communicate the idea/concept with the strategic planning committee and/or utilize the strategic plan advisories to more fully research the idea/concept and to solicit input/feedback.
    3. The central office executive team will share the idea/concept with VTA leadership and solicit input/feedback.
    4. The central office executive team will introduce the idea/concept at a monthly formal discussion meeting to solicit input/feedback.
    5. Building principals and/or directors will share the idea/concept with building/department staffs to solicit input/feedback.
    6. Forums like “Viking University” or building-level parent advisories may be used to share the idea/concept and elicit input/feedback.
  4. Once input and feedback is received by all of the above, the executive team will finalize a recommendation to take to the school board at a public meeting.
  5. The school board will consider the recommendation as an agenda item at a monthly board meeting, hear additional public input, and determine the next step(s) in the review and approval process.

This process will be used consistently except in those cases that are deemed exceptional because of emergency circumstances or situations that require expedited action. In these unusual cases, the situation and rationale for decision-making will be communicated in a timely and effective manner. In terms of communication tools utilized during the decision-making process, face-to-face communication is the most effective tool; however, our e-mail system will be used to inform staff; our weekly newsletters will be used to inform parents, and web-based tools and our Times newspaper column will be used to communicate with community members. Staff members will be able to provide input/feedback through our e-mail system and/or through their representatives, while parents and community members will be able to provide input/feedback through web-based tools. School board meetings will also give all constituents an opportunity to provide direct feedback on agenda items to board members before decisions are finalized. Engagement and communication in the decision-making process are critical in helping us achieve our mission to maximize the learning potential of each student.

VCS News

The applied skills portion of the ISTEP+ exam begins this week. Students need to get plenty of sleep, eat well, and be positively reinforced throughout the week to assure they are successful.

VCS Standouts

The Parkview staff did a great job last Friday performing a skit for students related to being properly prepared for ISTEP+ testing.

I want to commend the Central staff for coordinating a “Family Math Night at Target” last Wednesday, Feb. 23rd. Twenty-six staff members were positioned throughout the store. As families arrived they were given math problems for their child’s grade level, and then went throughout the store completing those problems. Staff members had fun with students and their families. Children were solving math problems with other children, with parents, and with teachers. Approximately 100 students attended this event. We appreciate Target’s support!

Important Dates:

  • February 28 ISTEP+ Writing Begins
  • March 15 Board Meeting
  • March 25 End of 3rd grading period
  • March 28 Spring Break begins