Work Session on Strategic Plan Agenda/Minutes 11-9-16

State College Area School District
November 9, 2016 Work Session on Strategic Plan
Meeting Room A - 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Panorama Village Building
240 Villa Crest Drive
State College, PA 16801




            Analyze Current State of Student Learning
            Reflect on Professional Practices - Discover “Root Cause”


            Clarify Core Purpose and Core Beliefs
            Define Goals and Measures of Student Progress
            Define the Four Pillars



November 9, 2016 Work Session on Strategic Planning Minutes
Meeting Room A - 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Panorama Village Administrative Center
240 Villa Crest Drive
State College, PA 16801


Dr. O’Donnell began the Work Session for the State College Area School District for the Strategic Planning Steering Committee at 8:40 a.m. He thanked all those in attendance for committing their time for today’s session. He noted board members in attendance: Dan Duffy, Scott Fozard, Penni Fishbaine, Laurel Zydney, David Hutchinson, and Jim Leous will be joining us later. Ms. Brandt and Dr. Bader were unable to attend.

Ms. Concepcion welcomed all and thanked them for their participation. This does help our work having community feedback.

Board members present: Amber Concepcion, Dan Duffy, Penni Fishbaine, Scott Fozard, David Hutchinson, Jim Leous (arrived 12:37 p.m.), Laurel Zydney
Board members absent: Amy Bader, Gretchen Brandt
Board Secretary: Mary Jenn Dorman
Student Representative: Lars DeLorenzi
Superintendent: Robert O’Donnell
District Personnel: Deirdre Bauer, Vernon Bock, Kris Dewitt, Bill Harrington, Curtis Johnson, Jeanne Knouse, Jacque Martin, Tod McPherson, Christine Merritt, Jason Perrin, Sharon Perry, Chris Rosenblum, Eugene Ruocchio, Sharon Salter, Jackie Saylor, Nicole Steele, Karen Wiser
Guests: Cathi Alloway, Hilary Appleman, Gus Colangelo, Linda Colangelo, Mike Curley, Spyros Degleris, Mutiu Fabagyi, Tom Fontaine, Ed Fuller, Alice Hamilton, Sharon Herlocher, William Harrington, Jonathan Keim, Greg Kelly, Anne Kerber, MJ Kitt, Rich Lally, Marie LeMay, Victoria Lenze, Thomas Minichiello, David Monk, Julia Muhfouz, Carlos Wiley, Michael Wolff, Tara Wyckoff

Dr. O’Donnell noted they brought bright people together with wisdom from inside and outside the District. Things change annually with the Board and this helps us develop our compass, and the process this time will be a little better. We will work on a good focus on what we are about and referred to our mission statement and vision that relates to every student maximizing opportunity every day by name. This is about impact and development of students and noted that they will work with the Instructional Team and the Board will have a work session tomorrow evening on reflections and Policy implications.

Dr. O’Donnell reviewed the documents in the binder, spoke on the focus being a road map, the four pillars, and noted that fair and equal are not the same. He introduced Mutiu Fabagyi, provided his background information, noted he is very effective in helping people come together and go in the same direction and Dr. O’Donnell first met him in 2003 at Georgetown. Mutiu was here three years ago and District people will be participating instead of facilitating with Mutiu here for that purpose. Mutiu let those attending know they needed to make two decisions: Just be open and open to each other and all needed to make up their mind to have fun. Important work will be done here but you need an open heart and relax. Mutiu did introductions by having each group of participants stand. He then let them know we would be moving forward as one - Alignment and getting all on the same page going in the same direction. Out of alignment does not function well, and being in alignment can help to work better even though nothing is wrong. Mutiu considers himself a “guide,” he will not command or control. He reviewed the charge:
            ●Assess where we are now and what we want for students
            ●Create the road map
            ●Embrace diverse voices

This group is the “HUB” and motivators of all groups. He then reviewed meeting norms and provided examples. He asked for suggested norms for this group, had each table talk about norms for the group and each table would provide one. After the time allotted, each table provided one norm and then provided a second.

The next exercise was starting a base with students and the table groups needed to respond to the following two questions:
            ●What base do most students start joining in our District?
            ●How well are we doing relative to our student’s starting point?

Once all were back together, each table reported their responses to questions one and two. Then student participants offered comments to the group. Mutiu reminded all that it said “Student by Name," so ultimately, you are addressing every child.

Dr. O’Donnell introduced Ed Fuller. Dr. Fuller noted it was an honor and a privilege to work with the District and noted he has children in the District. He reviewed the purpose of the surveys, the response options for elementary and secondary students, the strength areas and areas of challenge. He noted that the number of elementary responses are high due to doing the survey in class, the number of all teacher and middle school students responses are good and number of high school responses not so great.

For challenges or concerns, if we talk to the students and ask if it is District or maybe peer pressure making them unhappy, they could tell us what it is. We would like to have a better response rate, this is a place where students can impact their school and this is how adults figure out what to do.

IV.            LOOKING BACK - Analyze Current State of Student Learning
For the next exercise, Mutiu noted all the different data we have to work from: The survey, PSSA Data -Math, Language Arts, Science, the Graduation Rate and demographics of the District. The District also uses MAP, Keystone Exams in Biology and English, and SAT Data. Based on the data, he asked table groups to talk about one, two or three strengths and one, two or three concerns.

Dr. O’Donnell noted people were looking at a lot of data and also need to look at what the community values. He spoke on the opt out of PSSA testing, the PAYS (PA Youth Survey)Data that students take anonymously. He shared the percentages for those who felt bullied, not liked because of how they looked, sad or depressed, and those for attempted suicide. It is a low percentage overall, we have a high percent of autistic students, a lot of people that move here and ESL is very transient, skews what Special Education looks like, and a  number of things thrown into the data we look at that there is no way to measure what is really happening.

This is the analysis piece: to identify the highest strength and highest concern. What are the goals for learning. Each table discussed and provided Post-It sheets that were place on the walls around the room. The Group received colored dots to designate strengths, weakness/concerns that evolved from the table discussion. All walked around and placed dots on the sheets. Most dots ended up in concerns, not strengths. Counting five dots or more, to get the outcome.
V.            MOVING FORWARD - Clarify Core Purpose and Core Beliefs
Mutiu noted it is important to have the proper design in the proper sequence. We looked back where we were now we need to look where we want to go: Student Learning, Instructional Effectiveness and Empowering Infrastructure. The District has goals for Vision and a Mission Statement that are solid, which clarified the core purpose and core beliefs. He spoke on the 4 Pillars meaning what teachers do, what the leadership does, invest in people, and what the rest of us do and all being in the same place. We do not want to mess with the foundation but can move things around. He reviewed the Discover, Pursue, Excel pamphlet noting the Pillars get to the goals for kids and define ends first. What should the finished product look like?

Participant noted that Pillars 1, 3 and 4 are redundant and there are high expectations to get to the achievement gap. Pillar 3 needs to be more defined - attack a little more. Know student by name, strength and need. The pillars are a means to an end. Mutiu asked the group to think about one thing that makes a difference for kids. Knowing one huge thing is the next mountain to climb.

VI.            PATH FORWARD
Every student can do extraordinary things through a personalized plan and the key is communication. The plan starts in kindergarten, the criteria for setting goals is high standards for all and working on the whole student. Mutiu had the group turn to page 26 and asked them to select four goal buckets from the 18+ listed. A person from each table reported on the table’s 5 goal buckets. The following goal buckets were chosen: #5, #6, #7, #13 and after further discussion, all were OK with #18 also. The most important thing is trying to get people involved, that is the voice. Number 13 raises the ceiling.

The final assignment for each table was to write a letter to students that says we hear you and base your letter on the five goals. Once complete, each table read their letter to the group. Mutiu noted he tried different things with the group today and appreciated the day.

VII.           ADJOURN
Dr. O’Donnell thanked all for participating and thanked Mutiu, Dr. Perrin, Mr. Bock and Ms. Dorman. This process does set the stage for the Strategic Planning process to be better. Mutiu will work with our instructional members tomorrow. Also, will ask students, “What is one promise or guarantee you want us to make to you?” This will help push us. He thanked all again and hopes to see everyone in February/March at the next session. The date is still to be determined.

Dr. O’Donnell ended the work session at 3:37 p.m.

Submitted by,

Mary Jenn Dorman
Board Secretary