Director's Update: Annual Planning

The end of the first quarter provides a brief window of time for reflection and in our wake is a very productive start to the school year. Our PTSA, booster groups, and Foundation are all striding toward another wonderful year. Classes, clubs and teams have all enjoyed excitement that has come in the form of guest speakers, interesting activities, exciting educational travel opportunities, action-packed athletic events and successful fall seasons. 

Interest in our school remains exceptionally strong as evidenced by student/parent turnout at our 30+ middle school visits and turnout at the Information Forums hosted at our site in October. Our use of an online signup method for parent conferences is also worth mentioning. An increased number of parents came in for conferences this month, perhaps due to the ease with which folks were able to sign-up. While the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, at the same time we recognize that the online approach did not work perfectly for everyone. We will use the feedback to improve the process moving forward.

As you know, MLWGS is exceptional. But commitment to excellence is a dynamic effort, consistently requiring attention and revision. To this end, I want to share some information regarding the annual/strategic planning process that we structured in early FY13 and began pursuing this academic year. 

Planning at MLWGS differs from school improvement. School improvement is typically grounded in ensuring that school programs are in line with state guidelines and that certain minimum achievement benchmarks are reached. Alternatively at MLWGS, planning is enrichment-based. As such, in addition to ensuring that our program is in line with state guidelines, planning also serves the purpose of enriching the program already in place and enhancing the distinctive qualities and competencies that have been developed since our charter year in 1991.

Our planning process and the work of our school is organized around the seven standards of excellence outlined below. The standards leverage planning as a powerful tool for driving effective practices in support of student, staff, and school success. When taken together, full achievement of the standards will lead toward international assurance of educational quality. I will provide information regarding our progress in future updates.

1. Vision and Purpose: MLWGS maintains, communicates and commits to a shared direction and purpose.

2. Governance and Leadership: MLWGS operates under governance and leadership that promote and support student and staff performance, school effectiveness, and mission accomplishment.

3. Teaching and Learning: The MLWGS curriculum, instruction, assessment practices, and learning experiences are progressive, rigorous, and aligned with the school’s mission.

4. Access to Teaching and Learning: MLWGS provides and coordinates learning support services to meet the unique learning needs of students.

5. Faculty and Support Staff: Highly qualified professional and support staff are sufficient in number to fulfill the roles and responsibilities necessary to accomplish the MLWGS mission.

6. Culture and Partnerships: MLWGS is a model public-private partnership that involves relevant public personnel and aligns relevant external stakeholders in common pursuit of mission accomplishment.

7. Operational Systems: MLWGS maintains modern facilities, services, furnishings, and equipment to provide a safe, clean, and healthy environment that is aligned with the learning needs of its students.

Note: Several indicators are associated with each standard; however, listing them exceeds the scope of this update.

If you have any information to share pertinent to the first quarter or our planning process, please let me know. Thank you for your support of this great school.