NAVIGATING FOR THE FUTURE WITH A STRATEGIC VISION
The 2013-14 school year will embody several significant shifts in educational practice across the State of Connecticut. As with all districts in the state, Weston Public Schools’ body of work will include the mandated implementation of a new teacher evaluation system, the Common Core state standards, and the preparation for the new state system of assessment from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. However, these initiatives will be custom-designed within our local framework of innovation and quality to preserve our unwavering focus on the level of world-class work of our students, teachers, and administrators. In this manner, we can forge ahead with our journey of continuous improvement, not only preparing our students for college and career readiness, but by further empowering our learning system classroom-by-classroom, school-by-school, to ensure every student has access to a high quality, personalized educational pathway to success.
Weston is a small district that prides itself on personalized learning for each student. We are fortunate that all of our schools are housed on a common campus nestled in the center of our town. The physical proximity of our schools to each other strengthens our common vision, optimizes our system-wide alignment of resources, and allows us to leverage the power of our best practices of teaching across the campus. The school system has been designed for excellence in all aspects of its operations and relentlessly strives to maintain this high level of performance through ongoing quantitative and qualitative data analyses.
At our opening Convocation ceremony in August, I shared with the staff a graphic representation of key ideas that support our vision of our district as generated by our administrative team at its annual retreat this past summer. This visual will continue to be a work in progress, but it captures the most salient attributes of our system that help define our vision.
Weston Public Schools’ work can be characterized by the following statements related to this depiction of the tenets of its vision:
v Growth Mindset
- No individual has a preordained level of growth; every person - student and staff - has vast potential to grow.
- We live within a global community and must view our work through that lens to prepare our students for their future as citizens of the world in the 21st century.
- Each student and adult in our system matters; every person in our system must be supported for success.
- Whatever we do, it must be the highest level of performance as evidenced by data; we cannot accept less.
- Our body of work must be the right work and define the learning most essential for our students’ futures; “doing the right things right.”
- Thinking must not only be at the complex levels, but invite and cultivate creative and innovative patterns of problem-solving and the evolution of new ideas.
- “Effort creates achievement” and no matter what, we will never give up on a struggling student; concurrently, our students’ success hinges on their tenacious approach toward achieving their goals.
- We need to be mindful at the onset of dramatic shifts in the world (e.g. resources, populations, etc.) and cognizant of our teaching practices fueled by new tools (e.g. technology) to anticipate where we need to go while fostering the system’s agility to plan appropriately.
- There will be times that the emerging trends of shifts will be too great to address with the nibbling on the edges of our system, and a completely new approach may need to be adopted.
| Weston Public Schools’ Vision
It is our collective belief that Weston Public Schools will remain world-class
by all relevant measures of both our work and student progress.
This is certainly an ambitious vision, but a realistic one. Here in Weston we are fortunate to be embraced by our outstanding community, supported by our extraordinary families, and most importantly, have the privilege of educating amazing children with the benefit of an exceptionally talented and dedicated team. With this compendium of assets, there is no reason that this vision cannot be achieved year after year.
As we begin the 2013-14 school year, we are energized to continue our journey of excellence and to cherish each and every day with your children in our schools and under our care.
Colleen A. Palmer, Ph.D.