Creating a Vision for Excellent Schools
Having a vision of school excellence will help us clarify the common elements of an excellent school that we want to ensure come to life in all schools, for all kids, in APS.
Consider a child in APS about whom you care a lot—a child, a niece, a nephew, a mentee. How confident are you that the child currently has access to an excellent school? How do you know? How confident are you that the child could live anywhere in the city and have access to an excellent school? How do you know? This work is our journey to answer these questions.
Our guiding ‘north star’ is to define and achieve a vision of excellence for APS and our system of schools. We must create a system of excellent schools that serves the needs, goals, and aspirations of Every Student. We will do that by creating a clear vision of excellence and a comprehensive plan to operationalize that vision.
This work will be developed and implemented in collaboration with all APS stakeholders. The first stage of this work was to bring together we have already completed as a district: district, cluster, and school plans; definitions of leadership and teaching excellence; charter school accountability frameworks; and other documents. With that foundation, we have and will continue to engage stakeholders to build what excellence looks like for our schools.
Therefore, APS is facilitating a collaborative conversation with the Board, staff, parents and the community to
- Develop a definition of school excellence that builds on our definitions of teaching and leadership excellence and expands to include the profile of a successful APS graduate;
- Determine how to best measure schools’ progress toward excellence and how to respond when schools fulfill or fall short of the vision; and
- Determine how to best advance the vision through a system of excellent schools that includes neighborhood, charter and partner schools, but may also include other school models.
We plan to address a series of key questions:
1. What is our shared definition of school excellence and how can we best measure it across all schools?
- What qualities do excellent schools demonstrate (what do/should they do well)? What learning experiences do excellent schools provide for students? What competencies, mindsets and knowledge bases do excellent schools ensure students attain to prepare for college, career and community?
- What are the best measures of a school’s progress toward excellence?
2. What strategies should APS pursue to ensure all students have access to a school that fulfills APS’s definition of excellence? How might APS use autonomy (freedom from district policies and practices), accountability (ensuring that responsible parties are answerable for their work), and authorizing and support practices (providing license or charter to create or significantly change the makeup of a school) in its excellent schools strategies?
For more information, please check out our regularly updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) here and our materials from the Excellent Schools Advisory Committee here. Dates: September 24, October 22, November 12, December 17, and January 14 (5:30pm, CLL)
Join us for a series of community conversations on January 16th at 6pm at Long MS and January 22nd at 6pm at Sutton MS.
Presentation from the October 29, 2018 Board Retreat can be found here
Presentations from the November 28th and December 12th Community Meetings can be found here