Strategic planning timeline
Design II: Chapter 2
Strategic Plan 2014–2020
On Sept. 23, approximately 45 students from Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay, Lewis and Clark, and Skyview high schools; Vancouver School of Arts and Academics; iTech Preparatory; Vancouver Home Connection; and Vancouver Virtual Learning Academy convened at the Robert C. Bates Center for Educational Leadership to participate in the first of two strategic planning symposia.
Working in small groups with district leaders and key personnel, the students, who represented a diverse mix of programs and activities, reflected on their school experiences as they relate to the plan’s six goal areas. Both strengths and opportunities for improvement were addressed.
The symposium also offered a unique opportunity for students to collaborate with peers at different schools. Said Columbia River sophomore Paxton Charles, “There were times in the discussion when all the kids agreed, though we all go to different schools and participate in different programs. When you have something in common, it feels like you’re united.”
On Oct. 29, nearly 130 internal and external stakeholders participated in the Design II, Chapter 2 community symposium.
Their mission: to expand the discussion on strategic planning for the next five years.
In light of Vancouver Public Schools’ continuing deployment of one-to-one technology to all students in grades 3-12, the keynote speech was delivered by Hall Davidson, a former teacher, respected expert on technology and education, and senior executive with Discovery Education. Davidson spoke about educational technology’s implications for teaching and learning and shared his rules for classroom technology use: Allow yourself to feel wonder. Allow yourself to feel dumb. Never hesitate to use the web for support. Never hesitate to ask a kid.
Then, symposium participants met in small groups to categorize the district’s strengths and opportunities for improvement or enhancement, as well as speculate on the evolving requirements for and barriers to college-, career-, and life-readiness.
The discussions were constructive. Said Sen. Annette Cleveland, a Fort Vancouver High School graduate, parent of a Columbia River High School graduate, and 49th Legislative District representative: “My overall impression is how positive people feel about their school district—about the quality of our schools and the quality of education that is being delivered every day. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of negatives in terms of what it is we could do better.”
Next, goal area teams will consider comments from the District Leadership Team workshop, student symposium, and community symposium as they develop goals and target objectives. In March, a draft will be posted online for comment, and the plan will be finalized in April. Finally, the Board is scheduled to consider the refreshed plan in May.
The district is one of nearly 50 school districts to earn a District of Distinction award for its network of 13 Family-Community Resource Centers.
Design II: The art of imagination
Strategic Plan 2008–2013
The strategic planning process kicks off with a three-day symposium.
In attendance are more than 120 people, including parents, students, business leaders, educators, and other community members.
Vancouver Public Schools sets its focus on four new strategic priorities, 18 goals, and 70 target objectives.
The plan is the result of a year’s worth of email communication, an online survey, symposia, and focus groups with more than 400 students, recent graduates, district employees, parents, community and business leaders, and representatives of early childhood and higher education.
Spanish Immersion Program starts at Harney Elementary.
The Spanish Immersion Program is an academically challenging and enriching program for developing linguistic proficiency in Spanish and English. Entry into the program starts at kindergarten. At the kindergarten and first-grade levels, the majority of instruction is in Spanish with some English to facilitate early Spanish language acquisition and literacy development. As students transition to higher grades, more of the instruction shifts to English.
Vancouver Public Schools establishes its second Family-Community Resource Center (FCRC) with support from the Foundation for Vancouver School District.
The new FCRC, located at Washington Elementary School, joins the first FCRC established at Fruit Valley in 1999, and launches an effort to expand FCRCs across the district.
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) expands.
This elective class, which offers rigorous curriculum to promote student achievement, debuts in five schools: McLoughlin, Gaiser, and Jason Lee middle schools, plus Fort Vancouver and Hudson’s Bay high schools. AVID was piloted in one seventh-grade class at McLoughlin Middle School the previous year.
Full-day kindergarten is offered at 10 locations.
Peter S. Ogden, Harney, Washington, King, and Roosevelt elementary schools and Fruit Valley Community Learning Center offer state-funded full-day kindergarten. Thanks to partnerships, full-day kindergarten also is offered at Hough Elementary and the Patricia Nierenberg Early Learning Center. Tuition-based kindergarten, which began with one class at Chinook Elementary School the previous year, expands to include two classes at Chinook and one at Lake Shore Elementary.
The district fills 16.5 new district resource officer (DRO) positions, replacing security monitors.
The jobs are changed to be more professional, with ongoing training required. DROs, both men and women, are a uniformed presence in schools, at district athletic events, and at community functions that take place on school campuses. Their primary role is to be proactive and build relationships with students and staff, but they also have been trained to deescalate situations with the purpose of protecting students and adults. If a situation warrants police involvement, DROs are prepared to intervene until the police arrive. DROs do not carry any guns or deadly force equipment. They spend most of their time at the high schools and middle schools, but provide assistance as needed throughout the district and augment the presence of school resource officers employed through the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Vancouver Police Department.
Mandarin Immersion Program begins at Franklin Elementary School.
Students have the opportunity to achieve true bilingualism and biliteracy in Mandarin and English, which may lead to greater academic gains. Research shows that students in language immersion programs typically develop strong academic skills in addition to becoming proficient in both languages. Students also develop cultural literacy and enhanced cognitive skills.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) begin.
Teachers receive focused time to collaborate and work together in PLCs twice per month to address the needs of each student.
Read and Play programs offered by Educational Service District 112 increase partnerships with families with children ages 5 and under.
The Family-Community Resource Center network expands to Martin Luther King, Peter S. Ogden, and Eleanor Roosevelt elementary schools.
Jump Start, a kindergarten-readiness program that had existed in the district since 2005, expands to 16 Title 1 schools.
Kids who participate in Jump Start are nearly twice as likely to be at the early literacy benchmark at the beginning of the school year compared to those who do not participate.
Discovery becomes an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for the Middle Years Programme (MYP).
Similar to the IB program for high school students, MYP offers a rigorous academic program for middle school students. Students are encouraged to see connections among all areas of learning—humanities, mathematics, arts, sciences, technology, and physical education. Eight academic areas, including a world language other than English, are required. To qualify, Discovery staff members went through a three-year authorization process, which included training and revamping instruction to be interrelated with a global focus. They submitted a 350-page application and went through a two-day review.
Vancouver Public Schools implements one-to-one technology pilots, including laptops, iPods, and Mobi tablets.
Over the next two years, the district also installs wireless networks and standard technology, including projectors, laptops, and interactive whiteboards, in all classrooms at all schools.
The first weLearn Technology Showcase demonstrates how students and teachers use technology in the classroom.
Vancouver Public Schools creates the Opportunity Zone to increase family and community engagement, ensure high-quality instruction, and provide flexible learning environments.
The Opportunity Zone includes 14 elementary, middle, and high schools with large concentrations of students affected by poverty and mobility. Opportunity Zone schools are closing achievement gaps. In 2010-11, a higher percentage of students in Opportunity Zone schools met growth targets in math than students in non-Opportunity Zone schools. In reading, students in Opportunity Zone schools performed equal to students in non-Zone schools for the first time that year. Overall performance improved in both groups of schools in both subjects.
K–12 anti-bullying focus begins.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a program designed to shift school culture and reinforce respectful and positive actions, is adopted. Five elementary schools begin PBIS training and implementation, establishing school-wide expectations.
The Family-Community Resource Center network expands to Harney Elementary School and Discovery and McLoughlin middle schools.
The three-year retention rate for the 2008-09 cohort of new Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) educators is 89.6 percent.
VPS provides newly hired educators with extensive support, including a teacher induction program, teacher mentor program, and ongoing professional development.
Vancouver Public Schools’ Family-Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) win an honorable mention in the American School Board Journal’s 2011 Magna Awards.
The Economic Policy Institute’s Broader, Bolder Approach to Education also recognizes the FCRCs as a national best practice model. And Executive Educator magazine features the FCRCs in its July 2011 issue.
The Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) honors Superintendent Steve Webb.
In one year, Vancouver Public Schools took three top awards in Washington state. Superintendent Steve Webb was named Administrator of the Year (2011); Mark Ray, teacher librarian at Skyview High School, was named Teacher of the Year (2012); and the Board of Directors was named School Board of the Year for the second consecutive year (2011 and 2012).
Vancouver Public Schools’ (VPS) safety efforts earn top marks from the Washington State Crime Prevention Association.
The association bestows its highest honor, the award for Non-Law Enforcement Program of the Year, on VPS.
Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) is integrated with a complementary program called Response to Intervention (RtI).
In RtI, grade-level teams monitor student behavior and progress toward literacy and math benchmarks. Using data, the teams allocate resources to provide support to students who need additional services and enrich students who display a high level of achievement.
In addition, seven more elementary schools begin the process to implement PBIS or both RtI and PBIS. Integration of these programs allows schools to improve student outcomes and reduce bullying.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) pilots begin in some classes at Alki Middle School and Columbia River and Skyview high schools.
Superintendent Steve Webb receives the Student Achievement Award from the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) Region 112.
WASA Region 112 honors the superintendent for his leadership in creating the Opportunity Zone to mobilize district and community resources in support of 14 schools with large concentrations of students affected by poverty and mobility.
The number of students meeting benchmarks for kindergarten readiness increases from 6 percent between fall 2011 and fall 2012.
Thanks in part to an expansion of the Jump Start program through a grant from the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools, kindergarten readiness has improved 15 percentage points since the 2007-08 school year. As a result, 250 more kindergarten students are ready to learn on the first day of school.
Vancouver Public Schools is one of 40 school districts and education agencies selected for the League of Innovative Schools.
The league is a prestigious alliance of school districts committed to working with entrepreneurs and researchers to make dramatic gains in student achievement. The league was launched in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and Digital Promise, a national center created by Congress to advance breakthroughs in education with technology.
A new teacher and principal evaluation pilot program begins.
The system is designed to help move principals and classroom teachers from a self-assessment model to one guided by frameworks, or common languages for discussing instruction and leadership.
Vancouver iTech Preparatory, a magnet school, opens with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math.
iTech Prep’s curriculum blends all curricular areas into project- and problem-based learning. Students are given individual laptops. Curiosity and critical and creative thinking are as valued as the end product.
On-time and extended (five-year) graduation rates increase.
The on-time graduation rate increases from 64 percent in 2010 to 73 percent in 2012, and the extended (five-year) graduation rate increases from 69 percent in 2010 to 74 percent in 2012.
The Family-Community Resource Center (FCRC) network expands to Hazel Dell, Lincoln, and Minnehaha elementary schools.
By the 2012-13 school year, the number of FCRC partnerships reaches 659, with approximately $3.5 million in annual partner contributions. For every $1 spent on FCRCs, the district receives about $5 in support of children and their families.
Schools practicing Response to Intervention (RtI) display gains in scores on state tests.
In the 2011-12 school year, RtI schools outperformed non-RtI schools by 6.12 percent in reading, 4.09 percent in math, and 2.87 on literacy assessments.
Additionally, RtI and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) coaching positions are created.
Eleven new teachers achieve certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
There are 88 nationally certified teachers district-wide. National Board certification signifies advanced knowledge, skills, and practices.
The community approves Vancouver Public Schools’ first technology levy.
The six-year technology levy funds mobile computing solutions, professional development, and infrastructure support, as well as computer lab upgrades, standard classroom equipment, a learning management system, and curated digital content.
The weLearn 1:1 rollout begins at Alki Middle School, where sixth-graders receive iPads to use at school and home.
Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) hosts an unprecedented third National School Boards Association (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network site visit.
After NSBA visits in 1993 and 1999, VPS is selected for its sustained commitment to the integration of technology into education. More than 100 attendees tour seven schools and the district’s information technology services department. One visitor comments, “Seeing the technology used for authentic learning was impressive. It is refreshing to see new and exciting things happening in the classroom that truly help students explore their passions.” Following the visit to Vancouver, the Learning First Alliance spotlights the district’s efforts as a national success story, and Digital Promise features VPS in a blog post.
Free full-day kindergarten expands to all 21 district elementary schools.
An increase of funding from the state allows for the implementation of full-day kindergarten at all elementary schools.
Lewis and Clark High School launches with a new blended learning model.
The magnet school combines online instruction, group discussions, and teacher support. College-focused Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Advanced Placement (AP) courses also are offered. Each student is assigned a laptop and completes coursework on a flexible day-to-day schedule.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awards a $50,000 grant to fund a pilot project at Fort Vancouver High School’s new Family-Community Resource Center (FCRC) to promote regular student attendance and achievement.
A new FCRC also opens at Hudson’s Bay High School.
A new teacher and principal evaluation system is implemented district-wide.
The number of middle school Challenge and Honors section registrations increases from 1,152 in 2008-09 to 2,432 in 2012-13.
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) expansion continues.
AVID includes approximately 1,000 students at the following schools: Marshall and Martin Luther King elementary schools; Alki, Discovery, Gaiser, Jason Lee, McLoughlin, and Thomas Jefferson middle schools; Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay, Lewis and Clark, and Skyview high schools; and Vancouver iTech Preparatory.
In the district’s annual climate survey, nearly 90 percent of parents say that their child is safe at school.
The number of schools ranked good to exemplary jumped from five in 2008 to 20 in 2013, equaling 12,000 more students being served in higher-ranked schools.
More students take on and complete the district’s most rigorous coursework.
Over the past decade, the percentage of high school students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses increases from 6 percent to 46 percent, nearly an 800 percent increase.
Since 2007, the number of students enrolled in AP and IB courses has increased from 1,008 to 1,322, nearly a 33 percent jump. During the same time period, the number of low-income students taking AP and IB courses has grown from 342 to 578, nearly a 70 percent increase. Pass rates have remained stable.
Three elementary schools practicing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) are named exemplars, signifying the highest level of implementation.
Peter S. Ogden, Minnehaha, and Harney elementary schools become model PBIS schools for the rest of the district, creating a sustainable professional development resource.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Response to Intervention (RtI) are introduced at the middle school level.
Eighteen VPS schools have adopted PBIS or both PBIS and RtI and are in various stages of implementation.