“Excellence and Equity for ALL Learners”
Progress Report by Manchester Proud’s Dashboard Work Group
March 8, 2021
The exuberance of February 20, 2020, the day our Board of School Committee adopted our District’s new strategic plan, was still in our hearts and minds when just days later we began to hear about COVID-19. Today, in spite of and to a degree in response to the pandemic, this first anniversary of the Plan brings great cause for celebration! Progress unimagined a year ago has been achieved, as we continue ONWARD! with pride and resolve.
“Our Community’s Plan for Manchester’s Future of Learning” embodies our commitment to “Excellence and Equity for ALL Learners”. Informed by more than 10,000 voices and crafted collaboratively by Community, School Leaders, and Board of School Committee, the Plan’s aspirational goals envision a District where, “Each and every learner is a priority, for whom we have high expectations, a broad set of supports, and rich diversity of opportunities.” Day-by-day, step-by-step, we are realizing this vision.
Indeed, remarkable progress toward the Plan’s realization has been made. Many initiatives within each of the Plan’s over-arching goals: “Grow our Learners”, “Grow our Educators”, and “Grow our System”, are underway, some already accomplished! Consistent with the Plan’s call for objective measurement and accountability, our Dashboard Work Group is currently identifying Plan Indicators and metrics needed to communicate ongoing progress to all stakeholders. This new Dashboard will be unveiled within the next few months. In the meantime, on this anniversary, let us all acknowledge and celebrate our District’s hard work and achievements of the past twelve months.
Goal One: Grow Our Learners
- Our Board, School Leaders, and Teachers have sharpened the District’s focus on student-centered, student-driven learning – Knowing that our students are more likely to be motivated and engaged when given opportunities for choice, collaboration, and control over their education.
- Graduation credits are being evaluated to increase requirements and align with the Plan’s Profile of a Graduate – Reflecting high expectations for ALL students.
- The District’s high school course catalog is also being re-written to ensure high quality courses, align with the Profile of a Graduate, and represent greater cultural and racial awareness.
- i-Ready Math K-8 is being implemented this school year and AmplifyReading is being piloted, to enable our learners to build solid foundations in math and reading.
- A Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is being developed to provide individualized supports for all learners. A MTSS Coach has been hired to promote and coordinate this work across the District.
- Simultaneously, efforts are underway to review and revise disciplinary policies and procedures, to ensure fairness and focus on prevention.
- Policies are being developed to eliminate Leveling and provide teachers and students with the supports needed to optimize learning opportunities for ALL students.
- Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) are also being coordinated to align with our Plan’s Portrait of a Graduate and strengthen community partnerships.
- Comprehensive guidance policies are being recreated to enable career pathways for all students.
Goal Two: Grow Our Educators
- As noted in the Plan, student success is highly dependent upon educator success, accentuating the need for a District-wide culture of learning supported by robust Professional Development – All aligned with the District’s vision and mission. Current trainings support K-12 implementation of Competency Based Education (CBE). To enable the transition to CBE, our schools are performing standards analysis and mapping of core competencies.
- In accordance with the Plan’s commitment to Equity for ALL Learners, Professional Development now includes greater focus on inclusive, equitable practices, and cultural responsiveness. And, our District is responding to the growing need for more trauma-sensitive and trauma-informed teaching and learning through a layered approach to training and community partnerships.
- Kagan Structures, instructional strategies to improve academic outcomes, are now included in a training plan for implementation District-wide.
- Evaluation Plans for our Principals and School Networks have been created and adopted District-wide, and Teacher Evaluation Plans will be in place before the start of school in the fall – All for the purpose of better serving our students and enabling our professionals to do their best work.
- 90 day “Excellence and Equity” Plans are underway in all 22 schools – Customized tools to drive opportunity and achievement for ALL of our students.
Goal Three: Grow Our System
- Our Superintendent has hired three Network Directors to implement a coherent system of supports for principals and teachers, building capacity and promoting consistency throughout all schools in the District.
- Significant investments are being made in the technologies needed for both in-school and remote learning.
- Our Board of School Committee has revised its operational rules to streamline organizational structure and improve meeting efficiency. It has also drafted behavioral “Norms” to promote productive collaboration, and has committed to focus on policy, leaving management to our Superintendent and his team.
- The Board has adopted policies to promote diversity and inclusion and has held an Equity Workshop to define specific Equity goals. In accordance with the Plan, Manchester Proud has raised the funds to hire a new Chief Equity Officer, a cabinet level employee of MSD, who will coordinate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion across the District through policies, training, curricular support, assistance with recruitment and hiring for diversity, and other system improvements.
- The District has also added needed capacity by hiring in-house legal counsel to inform complex policies and decisions.
- A new Communications Director is onboard. Clear, timely communications have been essential for students and parents during the pandemic. Additionally, a Joint Communications Team has been formed between the District, Manchester Proud, and Manchester’s Chamber to share the many stories of innovation and excellence across the District.
- Community Information Hubs are under development to enable more timely and culturally responsive communication and engagement with our diverse students and families.
- Manchester Proud has assembled a team of local and national experts to build a system-wide School-Community Partnership Network, aligning the utilization of community resources to best serve our students and educators. This new Network will include a Community Portal and will be managed by Manchester Proud’s first paid staff, a Coordinator of Community Partnerships, to be located in District headquarters for daily collaboration.
- And, the District finally has a fulltime Athletic Director, an essential asset for a District of our size.
As you can see, inspired by our Plan, guided by our Leaders, and empowered by our Community, real and impactful progress is underway. The integrity of the Plan has withstood the challenges of 2020. Its relevance was tested and proved strong – because it is a Plan “By and for our community”. Of this we can all be Proud!
Now, our grand collaborative effort continues, driven by our shared belief that our public schools are an essential community asset, vital to all of our futures. Our keen desire for “Excellence and Equity for ALL Learners” will be realized, as we accept the building and nurturing of our kids and schools as our collective responsibility – Making Manchester a community that thrives on learning and opportunities for everyone.