by Luke Francois

What is a typical week in the life of a superintendent?  Indeed there are scheduled meetings, drop-in sessions, preparing for presentations, sharing professional development, and civic duties and outreach.  Here are some of the items in the queue for this week and month.

The month of January started the district’s budget development cycle. The administrative team will review all aspects of each building and make a budget recommendation to include staffing levels, programming, and allocation of resources.  Areas the team will study include the benefits of adding a social worker and a computer science teacher, as well as expanding instructional coaching and intervention support.  

As the district moves beyond formalizing the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) process, consideration must be given to the next three years beyond the implementation of PLCs.  The strategic plan would suggest a shift toward academic innovation and independence for tomorrow’s learners and building community engagement and trust.  What does that look like in schools and how does Mineral Point implement these strategies?

Mineral Point Schools’ next opportunity for professional staff development is February 23 and is dedicated to answering the questions surrounding the implementation of the strategic plan.  In the morning, elementary staff will continue their work around literacy led by reading expert Regie Routman.  The middle school and high school will investigate ACT prep offerings followed by Apple representatives maximizing the Apple environment to include information about Swift playground, the latest operating system (iOS 11), and Apple classroom management tools.  In the afternoon, all school staff will combine for a more in-depth look into the strategic plan and create action plans that will be monitored for results.

Two school/community committees are making great strides in their efforts.  The first that I have a great appreciation for is the Stadium Committee.  Kristin Mitchell, Dick Poad, Ted Evans, Mike Thousand, Jamey Ross, and Matt Lindsey worked tirelessly to advance an initiative to move the stadium at the old high school to the new high school. Most recently, stadium lights were secured and are scheduled to be delivered at the end of this month.  Spring installation of lights allows for post-season football games in Mineral Point, soccer games, band competitions, and fundraising events to be held at the stadium adjacent to the high school.

The second committee I am fortunate to partner with is the Elementary School Planning Committee, co-chaired by Maggie Tucker and Leah McDonald.  The committee has far exceeded my expectations for what a community partnership can look like when working together.  The committee is charged with addressing capacity and necessary code updates to bring the elementary school to a readiness standard for tomorrow’s learners. The committee asks intuitive questions, volunteers to take site tours to similar elementary buildings in Dubuque, and is fully prepared to make a recommendation to the school board at the end of its study.  The future for the elementary school building might include a reconfiguration of grade levels, remodel, an addition, or building a new school.

Safety efforts continue as mock drills are conducted in schools around a variety of threats. A new incident reporting system was implemented allowing the reporting of an incident, threat, bullying, or kudos by name or anonymously to administrators.  Doors now have numbering systems for ease of identifying points of entry and exit, and a secure entrance is scheduled for installation at the elementary building late March.

In addition to the policies being developed, teachers, a school board member, and administration are working collaboratively to roll out the next two school-year calendars. Options considered will be presented to the school board with opportunity for community stakeholder feedback.

Although the list is not intended to be comprehensive, it is a snapshot of items this week and month set aside to serve the students and community of Mineral Point.  Making a difference and service to others is most rewarding in this amazing profession of education.