September 22, 2017--ISD is starting the third year of our strategic plan. The strategic plan outlined six major goals for the school to accomplish over a five to seven year period. This article will outline the progress we have made and the specific plans we have for this year.
Goal 1: Students fully develop and utilize social and emotional skills
The counselors, administrators and teachers have been working on this goal for the past two years and implemented a number of program and policy changes. Parent and student surveys from the end of last year indicate that progress has been made, but there is still room for improvement. These improvements will continue to be refined under the leadership of our new Secondary School Principal, Mr. Bird.
Goal 2: Students create and perform complex works in the visual, musical, and dramatic arts
At the end of the 2015-2016 school year, the board approved the construction of a new performing arts center and athletic complex. The arts center would include a 350-seat theater, black box theater, and art gallery. The athletic complex will have an air-conditioned double gym, fitness room, classroom, and dance studio.
Last year, working with Flansburgh Architects from the United States, as well as local architects, the two construction plans for the two buildings were developed. In addition, the school selected a local project management firm to oversee the construction.
One of my goals this year is to finalize the design phase of the construction project and begin construction. We anticipate finalizing the construction plans in early October and starting the contractor bidding process by mid-October. The first part of construction will start in December or January. The current construction timeline is 20 months.
Goal 3: Students succeed in the International Baccalaureate Program
This strategic goal had three parts to it. One, increase the number of students acquiring the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which serves students in grades 11 and 12.. Two, examine the feasibility of adding the Primary Years Program for students in the elementary school. Three, examine the feasibility of adding the the Middle Years Program for grades six through ten.
A number of improvements were made to the IB Diploma Program in 16-17, which lead to an increase in the nubmer of students earning the IB Diploma, as well as the overall pass rate. Another one of my goals this year is to work with Mr. Bird, and our new IB Diploma Coordinator, Mr. Lennon, to increase the number of students who pursue the full diploma and help the students improve their performance on the exams. To accomplish this, we will continue to provide training for our teachers, examine the overall workload of the IB teachers to give them more time to focus on their IB courses, and explore bringing in course review specialists in the spring to provide additional review for our students before the exams.
Last year, the board approved ISD becoming a candidate school for the IB Primary Years Program. Under the direction of Brad Chumrau, acting ES Principal and PYP Coordinator, the teachers have begun developing and implementing new instructional units of study. One of my goals is to ensure Brad and the teachers have the training and resources they need to successfully implement this exciting program.
A teacher committee reviewed the Middle Years Program last year and made a series of recommendations for this year including continuing to learn more about the classroom implications of becoming a MYP school. Mr. Bird and the teachers have continued to learn more about the program and will be presenting the information to the Board starting in October.
Goal 4: Students explore, identify, and develop their talents and passions
Given the scale of our strategic goals, we needed to prioritize them to make sure we had sufficient resources to move forward. Work on the goal has been scheduled for next year.
Goal 5: Students acquire responsible leadership competencies
This goal has been the focus of the past two Middle and High School retreats. The implementation of the Primary Years Program and, potential implementation of the Middle Years Program will help us make major strides with this goal. Developing leadership competencies is an essential component of both the PYP and MYP.
Goal 6: Students apply responsible leadership competencies to complex issues
This goal is an extension of goal number five. It will be largely addressed through changes to our Service Learning program to meet the requirements of the IB Programs, which ask students to identify areas of need and design projects that will help others in Senegal. We want our students to have more direct connections with people rather than simply raising money on campus.
We have made significant progress towards our strategic goals over the past two years. As we approach the mid-point of the plan, it is time to assess our progress as well as examine the effectiveness of the strategic plan in general. My last goal for the year will be to work with the Board Policy Committee to assess the strategic plan and the goals to determine if we need to make any revisions to the overall plan on the goals. We will present the results of our assessment at the Annual General Meeting in April.