To stay consistent with our focus on transparency, I believe that it is important to keep district staff and the community up-to-date on the decisions that are being made. I will be reporting each Monday, through this blog, on the important events that occurred the previous week in a series titled “The Superintendent Chronicle: A Week in Review”. This blog reviews what was a high priority for me the week before and explains the “why” behind important district decisions.
The week of January 13, 2013 proved highly productive for Dr. Smiley and me. We traveled to China to continue the work begun by Commissioner Hesselbacher and myself in November.
First of all how do these trips to China connect to our strategic plan and the Board’s goals?
Our strategic plan states, “To measure effectively student’s individual achievement with traditional and non-traditional tools that will prepare them for 21st Century global challenges and experiences.” (Goal)
“Specify benchmarks against national, international and “aspirational” (what other districts we would like to be like) comparators.” (Action step)
“To promote active partnerships that fosters a common district vision.” (Goal)
“To establish fiscal priorities and explore community, state and federal (add international) resources sufficient to continue (improve) and expand opportunities for greater student achievement.” (Goal)
The Board goals state, “Develop a budget plan that does not rely on the unreserved, undesignated portion of the fund balance to balance the budget.”
“Measure the net gain of total enrollment to show a loss of no more than 10 students for 2012-13” (Goal)
The strategic plan pointed me in the direction of 21st global challenges, experiences and comparators which led me to look outside of Janesville to determine how to bring these experiences to Janesville. It also encouraged me to work harder to develop partnerships with outside entities that led to the development of strategic alliances. The Board goals led me to find new revenue streams outside the usual sources such as raising property taxes. It also guided me to look for students outside of our own community to boost enrollment. All of these goals can be realized in part through working with China and other countries outside of the United States.
While in China, I signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) to promote partnerships with schools and universities. MOUs were signed with Beijing Normal University, Far East China School and Number 3 Primary School, all in Beijing. In the future pending Board approval of the strategic alliance policy I hope these partnerships develop into strategic alliances where we work together in a joint venture, which will bring a benefit to the District and/or the students in the District. The SDJ already has many partnerships that are being continuously developed with local businesses and area schools and universities. The MOU for student teachers signed with Beijing Normal University was fashioned after our longstanding partnership with UW-Whitewater. Attorney David Moore reviewed all MOUs in advance.
These partnerships will allow us to have student teachers and teachers teach in our schools. This allows us to build our reputation in China toward future endeavors. We also began to put into place a mechanism to bring Chinese students to our district for summer and winter academies to enrich the experiences of our children and increase revenue to our district. In the future I hope to have International students attend the SDJ and pay tuition.
Dr Smiley and I listed over 85 tasks as a result of this trip they we will be following up on now that we are back in Janesville. The task is daunting, but the outcome should prove very beneficial to our district.