Community Conversation Reunion
The Future Search process continued on December 3rd, 2018 with the Community Conversation Reunion Event. Thank you to the 72 participants that were able to attend! Once again the Design Team planned an event that helped generate meaningful discussion between stakeholders, and ultimately provide the District with suggestions it should consider as we continue to move forward with our priority areas. The goals of the evening were to:
Recapture the excitement and enthusiasm from the engagement event last fall
Share out the work that has been done to date on the community’s themes
Identify reactions, questions and suggestions to guide future efforts in meeting those themes
Strengthen the connection between the community and the school district
We achieved these goals together!
Drew Howick, Future Search, consultant was again on hand to lead the participants through a process of sharing, discussion, and understanding each others’ perspectives. Also in attendance were a number of presenters from the Frederic staff and partnerships that exist between the district and various organizations. Thank you to our partners for taking the time to share your valuable insight and expertise.
What’s next? The District will continue its intentional efforts to make progress with the priorities identified in 2017. The primary focus remains the top six priorities, but the Reunion event has provided the District with additional suggestions and reflections that will help in our efforts. Communication remains incredibly important and was a recurring theme at the Reunion event. We are working to develop communication strategies to best meet a diverse group of stakeholders, who all want their information and communications a certain way. We realize we can always improve communications and be more intentional about sharing our story and the work around the priorities, including our accomplishments, next steps, and the challenges we face.
As was discussed at the Reunion event, we have to remind ourselves of the long process ahead, rather than quick fixes, to do good work with our priorities so our current 1st graders will leave Frederic with an incredible education when they graduate in 2030.
Participant reactions to priority presentation (grouping):
Learning - Generally encouraged by the changes discussed, such as scheduling, individualized learning efforts and structures being put in place, music programming setup, outside the classroom learning opportunities, vocational additions. Would like to continue to develop more vocational opportunities and internships, more opportunities for low income students to travel, more dual credit options.
Social Emotional Needs - Generally satisfied with the identification of the significance and efforts around social emotional needs, mental health and trauma including the partnerships, collaborations, and Professional Learning Community structure. Concern about school’s role in social emotional needs vs. the county’s role, mental health vs. education, and funding to support the needs.
Communication - Generally satisfied with the Future Search process of involving community, listening to suggestions, and what participants learned at the Reunion event. Would like to see increased communications throughout the district with various stakeholders.
Funding Support - Generally understanding the District is making due with what it has, is seeking grant opportunities, and is establishing an education foundation. Concern about staff and student turnover and lack of funding for staff to meet student needs.
The final activity of the night was to discuss at each table the following question:
"Given where we are today and what we anticipate in the future, what should the Frederic School District take into consideration as we move forward?"
Moving Forward Considerations
Community Conversation Event
The FutureSearch process, led by consultant Drew Howick, was designed to bring stakeholders throughout the Frederic School District together for a community conversation on November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The twelve hour conversation, spread over three days, guided participants through our past and present, and to help us build our future. The process has been successfully used in school districts and corporations around the country for years. It’s been known to bring communities together, build pride, increase communication, establish long lasting partnerships, create opportunities for students, and help others gain a better understanding of the various perspectives throughout the District, and we believe it has done that! What an excellent opportunity to learn together. The Community Conversation was a tremendous success because you helped make it happen!
We want to thank the community for dedicating your valuable time to this process. According to Drew Howick, our FutureSearch consultant, the number of participants for a school district our size was incredible. He was quite impressed with the Frederic School District and its communities! As a group of 150 participants, we worked together to pull off something special. Stakeholders had the opportunity to laugh, listen, share, act, eat, meet new people, and learn from each other. The sharing of perspectives was powerful and enlightening.
The purpose was to develop a vision that addresses the evolving needs of our students and the community, insure community support and involvement, and demonstrate institutional accountability and responsibility.
Outcomes included from the event:
- Identify issues and trends that shape/impact our communities, workforce and schools.
- Gain knowledge and understanding of our history.
- Identify attributes and skills graduates need to meet their full potential.
- Identify and strengthen partnerships between communities and schools.
- Identify key indicators to insure future success of the District.
At the November meeting we identified common ground themes. These themes will help the the District create a plan that includes action steps to help us build our future. Below are the top six “common ground themes” that emerged from our time together, along with the number of dots each received:
- Implement a pupil support and service team that includes social workers, RN, school counselor and provide support and education to students and staff for mental health, substance abuse, and trauma. 59
- Creating a team to find resources, grants and funding. 53
- Develop individualized learning plans for every student. 50
- Provide partnering with local businesses to provide mentoring experience to students, create a business space on-site and hire a school intervention coordinator. 46
- Offers more class choices through integrated learning, cultural arts, communities, and FACE. 46
- Continually reviewing and following up on the community conversation. 43
The additional themes receiving fewer dots are important as well, and will continue to be considered as we move forward. Below is a link is a list of all the themes the group came up with. We are reviewing our current strategies and efforts around these top six themes so we know what we have already accomplished, what we presently have in place, and what we need to get established so we can create a flywheel for each of these themes.