2014-01-22 / Walled Lake School District

WLCSD Closer to Meeting District Goals

BY ANNE SEEBALDT
CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Superintendent Kenneth Gutman gave a progress report in terms of meeting district goals to the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools’ Board of Education at its Thursday, January 9 meeting.

The goals cover four distinct areas: student success, community outreach, fiscal responsibility and a positive district culture.

Critical to these goals are instructional spending. “If we’re going to change the world, it’s going to happen through instruction,” explained Gutman. “We need to deal with the achievement gap and we’re well on our way.”

Specific student success goals are: “ensuring instructional strategies and practices are research-based and meet the needs of all learners, collaboration and innovation among all members of our school community, using data as a means to help drive instruction and planning,” and more.

Some “points of pride” relating to student success, said Gutman, include:

• A “commitment to PLC time at all levels,” such as advanced placement course offerings at all levels, a strong English as a Second Language (ESL) program and a strong commitment to Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops for K-8 students.

• Large numbers of professional development opportunities, both throughout the year and in the summer, including the successful, “Spice it Up” event, which served more than 400 teachers. • The unique Principal-to-Principal program, which has been implemented at the K-8 level, which Gutman gives principals the opportunity to tour district schools together and learn about the innovative technologies being used in the classroom.

Specific goals for community outreach are: “including the community in school and District events, activities and efforts, involving parents and the community in decisions that affect and benefit the WLCSD, communicating information to the community to build awareness of WLCSD,” and more.

In this area, Gutman is extremely proud of the District’s successful campaign and passage of the Safety, Security and Technology Bond. Community outreach highlights are:

• Gutman’s successful Superintendent coffee hours at local libraries, senior and community centers, etc.

• The District website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube efforts also keep the community informed.

• The Martin Luther King, Jr. event, which brings together many for a common cause.

• The District’s partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), PTAs, Huron Valley Sinai Hospital and Henry Ford Health Systems.

Goals relating to fiscal responsibility include: “developing budgets that are focused and centered on student achievement goals” and “continuing efficiency and collaboration efforts.”

Gutman explained, “Everyone stepped up and made sure students came first.”

Furthermore, while being ranked 13th among Oakland County school districts in total dollars spent per pupil on instruction, WLCSD was first for the 2011-12 school year in terms of the percentage of monies which goes for per pupil instruction. During that same time period, when compared with the 10 largest districts in the state, excluding Detroit Public Schools, WLCSD came second in the state for the percentage it spent on per pupil instruction.

“Points of pride” in this area are:

• Meeting all Michigan Department of Education “best practice requirements.

• Passage of the Safety, Security and Technology Bond.

• An annual review of the Sinking Fund takes place to ensure the money is spent where it is most needed.

Goals related to a positive district culture include: “creating a culture of safety and social well-being, promoting ‘no tolerance’ standards for bullying, ensuring that schools and facilities are maintained to the highest degree, expecting students, staff and the entire school community to demonstrate respect for one another,” and more.

Highlights of the District’s positive culture include:

• Hiring a high school liaison police officer.

• Bus safety program through Dean Transportation, which runs the district’s busing system.

• Anti-bullying program.

• Participation in Defeat the Label.

• Continued school inspections to ensure health and cleanliness of the facilities; quarterly school visitation reports and regular inspections and follow-up with fire marshal, building inspector and insurance regulators.

• Regular district-wide review of emergency procedures.

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