February 2019 Edition
What's New in the District
Dear Staff and Parents,
Teamwork is operating at its finest here in Ellensburg School District. Our District-wide Committees have worked hard to construct a final draft of the Board Ends which will be presented to the ESD Board of Education on February 13th for their final approval. These Ends are a synthesis of the ideas that were shared by parents, staff and community members on our District-wide Committee. Board Ends encompass the vision and outcomes that we want for our students, and the final ESD draft can be accessed below. At the next District-wide Committee meeting on March 11, we will begin brainstorming ways to measure the progress of students in meeting these Board Ends.
We have also begun our work together to explore possible design options for the new elementary school. Our first ESD Bond Design Team meeting was on January 30th. We brainstormed together and looked at how schools in other places were designed to reflect the values and needs of their surrounding communities.( Crow Island and South Melbourne Primary School). Our next meeting is on February 12th, and we look forward to including students’ voices in this conversation.
In addition, in January teams of administrators and staff from all ESD buildings attended training on Restorative Practices. As we work on becoming an inclusive collaborative culture, we will share the expertise we learned from this training with teachers and classified staff in all buildings. Restorative Practices include giving staff protocols and approaches that are designed to:
- · Address and discuss the needs of the school community
- · Build healthy relationships between educators and students
- · Reduce, prevent and improve harmful behavior
- · Repair harm and restore positive relationships
- · Resolve conflict, hold individuals and groups accountable
*(The Schott Foundation for Public Education, March 2014).
One of the approaches that will be used in schools includes the conducting of community circles, as a way to create and build a sense of belonging. Student academic achievement and growth flourish best in classrooms where students feel a sense of connection to their peers and staff. The implementation of community circles is one way that will help us across the system to establish inclusive supportive relationships. The use of community circles is being used in other districts with many positive results. We are confident that this approach will make a difference for our students in ESD.
Finally, both building and central level administrators across ESD have joined the Washington State Leadership Academy to work collaboratively on closing achievement/opportunity gaps and advancing the learning for all students. We believe that we can best achieve these goals by supporting and empowering the work of staff within their professional learning communities. Educational researcher John Hattie (2014) identifies collective teacher efficacy (when teams of teachers believe they can accomplish more together than working independently) “as the single most powerful influence on student achievement” (Bloomberg & Pitchford, 2017, p. 17). * When teachers have regular time to meet, in order to share common goals, plan lessons, analyze student work, co-construct assessments, and establish mutual accountability for results; then all students learn.
We appreciate your support of our late-start Mondays which allow for our teachers and paraprofessionals to continue to develop collective efficacy. The Homeroom Data Dashboard will also be available soon, for both teachers and administrators, to support their efforts in monitoring the academic progress of students. We are excited about the academic growth that we will continue to see, as teachers and administrators engage in the work of collective efficacy.
TEAM: Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
Thank you for your commitment to promoting excellence in Ellensburg every day!
Jinger Haberer, ESD Superintendent
* Bloomberg, P. & Pitchford, B. (2017). Leading impact teams: Building a culture of efficacy. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.
*Hattie, J. A. (2014, July). Keynote address. American Visible Learning Conference. Palos Verdes, CA: Corwin.