Superintendent Entry Plan by ESh0i12Z


Entry and Learning Plan
      Dr. Douglas C. Arnold
  Pleasant Valley School District
       November 15, 2007
 May 17, 2007 to November 15, 2007
Activities during the first days, weeks and months of any
leadership transition are extremely important. This is especially
true in a complex and dynamic environment whereby
educational, community, political and financial interests are
overriding factors. The plan set forth within this document is
designed to help the newly-appointed superintendent to
learn about the myriad of complex issues currently facing
the Board, school staff, students and community
stakeholders. It is both an entry plan and a learning
strategy, and is an outline for joint use to assist in the
superintendent’s acclimation to the District. As knowledge of
the District and its community is gathered, it will provide
extremely valuable information, which will assist the
superintendent in his role as CEO and help him to become
an effective superintendent. Suggestions and ideas from the
Board and other stakeholders will be welcomed and appreciated.
    While this plan is somewhat generic in nature, it provides a functional
    framework, with the overarching thought that it shall be as flexible and fluid
    as the need arises. Furthermore, it is designed with the following goals
    in mind:
•   To continue to build upon the superintendent’s knowledge of the
    District and the people comprising its community as quickly and completely
    as possible, outside the daily context of activities and problem solving
    opportunities inherent to his position;
•   To identify and examine key issues in the District, learn how such
    issues are handled, and identify the norms which affect how the
    organization may function in the future;
•   To identify the formal and informal operating policies and procedures
    within the District;
•   To identify and clarify channels of communication to develop and/or
    enhance a sense of connectedness and trust throughout the organization;
•   To identify tasks to be accomplished, establish priorities, and develop
    a plan of action; and
•   To work with the Board to determine an appropriate time and method for
    informing the public of the entry and learning plan, its general intent, and
    information obtained that is deemed suitable for public consumption.

• To gain a greater understanding and
  knowledge of the people, programs, &
  important issues at Pleasant Valley School

• To initiate a comprehensive process that
  will identify the important issues facing our
  school district and how those issues may
  affect future planning

• To identify and prioritize items that
  should be addressed in order to, in
  conjunction with the Board, establish a
  process to develop goals based upon
  the identification and prioritization of
  those items.
• Conducted individual interviews and focus
  group sessions
• Visited school buildings
• Attended school-based meetings,
  meetings and functions of community
  organizations, and school-related

• Focus Groups (SAC Meetings)
  – Support Staff
  – Professional Staff
─ 8 Board Members                          ─ 1 President of NCCC
– 23 Administrators*                       – 1 Director of MCTI
– 20 Staff Members**                       – 6 Students
– 2 Association Presidents                 – 1 Attorney
– 10 “Booster Club” Officers/              – 12 State and Local
  Community Members                          Governmental Officials
– 2 State Police Commanders                – 1 Former Superintendent

 *Includes central office and building administrators, directors, supervisors
 and chief of school police.
 **Includes professional and support staff personnel.
  Recurring Board Responses
• Where From?
  – Three from PV
  – One from Monroe County
  – One PA
  – Three from out of state
  Recurring Board Responses
• Public or Private School Education?
  – Six public
  – Two private
  Recurring Board Responses
• How Long Living in PV?
  – 21 years to lifelong

• Family Members in PVSD
  – Most have someone
  – Range is from in-laws to nieces/nephews to
    cousins to children to spouses
  Recurring Board Responses
• How Long on Board?
  – Two years to 15 years
  – Average of 10 years

• Why on Board?
  – Approached to run
  – Support a belief
  – Appointed
  Recurring Board Responses
• General Impressions of PVSD
  – “Good” to “Great”

• Did Perceptions Change?
  – No; We can improve
  – Yes
    • Most talk on the street is untrue
    • Red tape
    • Less authority
  Recurring Board Responses
• Administration Strengths
  – Teamwork
  – Loyalty

• Concerns Regarding Administration
  – Need more staff development
  – Retention (especially APs)
  Recurring Board Responses
• Professional Staff Strengths
  – Well above average in ability/performance
  – Dedication to job

• Concerns Regarding Professional Staff
  – Retention
  – “Bus Beaters”/”Clock Punchers”
  Recurring Board Responses

• Top Priority Issues
  – Teacher Retention
  – Student Achievement
  – Limited Resources
  – Safety/Security
  – Cyber Schooling
  Recurring Board Responses

• Things to Preserve in PVSD
  – Family/Country atmosphere – Sense of
  – Teamwork/Collegiality
  Recurring Board Responses
• Things to Change
  – Nothing major
  – More community involvement (especially
  – Expand course selections (especially Foreign
    Language area)
  Recurring Board Responses

• Perceptions of Past Leadership
  – Very Positive
    • Fiscally responsible, hard working, honest, fair,
      very effective
    • A leader
  Recurring Board Responses

• Desires for Future Leadership
  – More of the same
  – Keep Board informed
  Recurring Board Responses
• Opinion of Board as a Group
  – What is “Good”?
    • Work well as a group
    • Get along pretty well

  – What “Frustrates”?
    • Opinions need to be voiced
    • Need to develop/maintain mutual respect
  Recurring Board Responses

• Controversial Issues
  – Generally handled in a satisfactory manner
  – Majority rules
  – Voice opinions openly with other members
  Recurring Board Responses

• Advice
  – Be open & honest
  – Gain the confidence of staff
  Recurring Board Responses

• How I Can Help
  – Keep Board informed
  – Regular communication
   Administration Demographics

• Where from?
  – Seven from PV
  – Nine from PA
  – Seven from out of state

• How long at PV?
  – From less than one year to 35 years
  – Average of 18 ¼ years
   Administration Demographics

• Why PV?
  – Home
  – Closer to home
  – Employment opportunities
  – Reputation/Recommended

• Family Members at PV
  – Very few
      Recurring Administration
• Key Issues Being Addressed
  – Student Achievement
  – Staff Development
  – Staff Retention
  – Safety/Security
  – School Culture/Pride in PV
  – Online Coursework
      Recurring Administration
• Top Issues Facing PVSD
  – AYP/Student Achievement
  – Growth/Transiency
  – Limited Resources
  – Communication
  – Safety/Security
  – Staff Retention
  – Staff Development
      Recurring Administration
• Things to Preserve
  – Hometown Atmosphere - Sense of community
  – Teamwork/Collegiality
  – PV Pride
  – Tradition
  – Strength of the Administrative Team
      Recurring Administration

• Things to Change
  – Many struggled to find an answer
  – Collective bargaining agreements
         Recurring Administration

• Leadership of Past Superintendents
  –   Open Door/Accessible   ─ Positive
  –   Up Front               ─ Confident in Staff
  –   Honest                 ─ Fair
  –   Supportive             ─Team-oriented
  –   Collaborative
      Recurring Administration

• Wishes for Future Leadership
  – More of the Same
  – Open Door
  – Mutual Respect
      Recurring Administration

• Perceptions of the School Board
  – Good Board/Good people
  – Generally supportive
  – Satisfied
  – Good Board President
  – Some have own agendas/factionalization
  – Anxiety produced by “gotchas” - Personal?
  – Lack of trust can lead to micromanagement
      Recurring Administration

• Controversial Issue
  – Nearly devoid of answers
      Recurring Administration

• Advice
  – Trust administrative team
  – Listen
  – Communicate/Collaborate
       Recurring Administration

• How I Can Help
  – Provide support
  – Let people do their jobs
  – Listen
  – Be accessible
   Recurring Staff Responses

• How Long Employed at PVSD?
  – Range from 1 to 40 years
  – Average of 15.8 years
  – Included professional and support staff,
    currently employed and retired
   Recurring Staff Responses

• Why PVSD?
  – Best “fit”
  – Recruited/Recommended
  – Walking in someone’s footsteps

• Family Members at PVSD
  – Very few
    • Children
    • Spouse
   Recurring Staff Responses

• General Impressions of PVSD
  – Very Positive
     • “Good” to “Great” programs/school district
     • Challenged by growth
     • “I love my job”
   Recurring Staff Responses

• Top Issues PV Faces
  – Limited resources - Lack of tax base
  – Growth and its effects
  – Negotiations
   Recurring Staff Responses

• Things to Preserve
  – “Smalltown feel”
  – Sense of community
  – Heritage/History
  – Sense of loyalty
   Recurring Staff Responses

• Things to Change
  – Many struggled to answer
  – Nothing duplicated
   Recurring Staff Responses

• Past Contact with Superintendent
  – Positive to very positive
  – Amicable/Open

• Desires for the Future
  – More of the same
  – Visibility
   Recurring Staff Responses

• Relationship with School Board
  – Generally Positive
    •   “Good” to “Very Good”
    •   Good people/caring
    •   Reasonable
    •   Supportive
    •   Some obvious personal agendas lead to
   Recurring Staff Responses

• Past Relationship with Superintendent
  – Very positive
     • Open Door/Approachable
     • Integrity

• Desires for the Future
  – More of the same
   Recurring Staff Responses

• Things to Change
  – Enhance respect for the profession (Board and staff)

• Advice
  – Listen
  – Communicate
  – Be yourself
      Student Demographics

• Demographics
  – Six students - Three male; three female
  – Grades nine to 12
  – From “Gifted” to special needs
  – African American; Hispanic; White
  – From PV resident past three years to lifelong
 Recurring Student Responses

• What Interviewee Would Tell a Visitor
  – “Good” to “Great” school district
  – Excellent Academics
  – Great People/Staff
  – You can get the help you need
  – Respectful & Safe
  – Foreign Language Department is weak
  – “Coming here changed my life”
 Recurring Student Responses

• Best Programs
  – Spirit Week
  – Sports
  – Honors Courses
  – Tutoring Labs
 Recurring Student Responses
• Typical Day Highlights
  – College-type classwork
  – Friends

• Typical Class
  – Good/Enthusiastic teachers
  – Challenging -Thought-provoking and varied

• Typical Assessments
  – Essays
  – Varied
 Recurring Student Responses

• Strengths of PVSD
  – Size provides more opportunities
  – Great administrators
  – Diversity/Unity

• Suggestions for Programs
  – Better Foreign Language courses
  – More enrichment opportunities (e.g., piano,
    violin, Latin, poetry)
 Recurring Student Responses

• Impressions of Technology
  – PVSD does a great job
  – Prepared for Ivy League

• Suggestions for Improvement
  – Nothing
  – Courses/Departments need to have webpages
 Recurring Student Responses

• Things to Improve
  – AP/Honors course conflicts
  – Class size
           Sample Specifics
• Demographics
  – Only one from PA
  – Even split of men and women
  – All but one with children currently in PVSD
  – Lived in PVSD from three to 22 years;
    average of 14 ¼ yrs.
 Recurring Community Responses
• General Impressions of PVSD
  – Pleased
  – Very favorable
  – Great teachers/academics

• Top Issues
  – Growth
  – Academic standards
  – Diversity
 Recurring Community Responses

• Greatest Strengths/Assets
  – Sense of community
  – Staff
  – Quality of education/academics
 Recurring Community Responses

• Things to Preserve
  – Small town atmosphere
  – PV Pride and traditions
  – Quality of education

• Things to Change
  – Nothing recurring
 Recurring Community Responses

• Past Leadership
  – Positive
  – Involved/Supportive

• Desires for the Future
  – Keep things going
  – Connect with community
 Recurring Community Responses

• Value for Tax Dollar?
  – Parents & those involved = “Yes”
  – Those with no children/uninvolved = “No”

• Expectations of Superintendent
  – Do your best
  – Stay the course
  – Support students
          Sample Specifics
• Includes State Senators, State
  Representatives, County and Township
  Officials, Out-of District Educators
  – Five from PVSD
  – One from Monroe County
  – Eight from PA
  – One from out of state
  – One with a sibling at PVSD
    Responses from Officials

• Wide Range of Responses
  – Mostly positive
    • Well run/organized
    • Cohesive
    • Has handled growth well
    Responses from Officials

• Top Issues
  – Growth and its effects
  – Safety
  – Taxes
  – Funding/Economic development
  – Infrastructure
    Responses from Officials

• Greatest Strength(s)/Asset(s) of PVSD
  – Diversity
  – Cohesiveness
  – Pride/Reputation
    Responses from Officials
• What to Preserve
  – Heritage
  – Country atmosphere
  – Sense of community

• What to Change
  – Involve citizens on committees (e.g., B&G);
    utilize diversity of community
  – Increase tax base resulting in tax relief
     Responses from Officials
• Past Leadership
  – Little contact
  – Cordial and supportive

• Desires for the Future
  – Communication is key
  – Support township issues
  – Keep things going in the right direction
     Responses from Officials

• Value for Tax Dollar?
  – Mixed (Parents = “Yes”; Those without children =

• Expectations of the Superintendent
  – Keep lines of communication open
  – “This is a good/great start”
             Strength Themes
•   Teamwork
•   Sense of Community
•   Country Atmosphere
•   PV Pride
•   Good People
•   Stable Board
•   Respect
•   Past Leadership
•   Loyalty
•   Student-Staff Connection
•   Top-Flight Staff
           Challenge Themes
•   Student Achievement
•   Safety/Security
•   Limited Resources
•   Growth/Transiency
•   Retention of Teachers/Administrators
•   Maintaining PV Pride
•   Communication
•   Staff Development
•   Trust Between Administrators and Board
•   Foreign Language
• Increase student achievement,
  opportunities for quality staff development,
  and the purposeful use of data to improve
• Continue to develop and implement
  policies to enhance a safe, secure, and
  supportive school community.
• Increase effective communication within
  the schools, across the school district, and
  between the schools and community.
• Incorporate identified needs and methods
  for addressing those needs into the
  strategic plan.

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