On Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, the Bayfield School District Board held forums to receive community input on a new strategic plan for all Bayfield schools. The plan will serve as a guideline that identifies goals and prioritizes resources over the next one to three years. The last strategic plan was adopted in 2012.
The board identified five key areas for consideration based off a community survey. The five areas will be narrowed down to three based on feedback. The five areas include: academic achievement; professional learning for staff; school, family and community relations; social-emotional well-being; and workplace environment.
Superintendent Kevin Aten said academic achievement will always receive the most attention, and the other areas of focus work together to support that. The parents and board members discussed the fast-changing environment students have to navigate and the importance of having critical thinking and future-ready skills. Aten said being a one-to-one district, one Chromebook per student, is an example of how they are preparing kids. He said the biggest challenge is convincing students what skills and tools will be beneficial for their futures.
“Students don’t respond to, ‘Trust me, you’re going to need this,’” Aten said. “The pushback is, ‘I don’t believe you, tell me why.’”
The attendees discussed ideas and concerns like the effect social media has on students’ self-esteem, retention of good teachers, low teacher wages, and exposing students to secondary education or trade options often and early, among other topics. A few attendees mentioned their satisfaction with communication and awareness of school calendar events as well as classroom size, which is around 20 students per classroom.
The board aims to have the new strategic plan ready by the fall of 2019. The BSD board usually meets at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at the District Administration Building,24 Clover Drive.