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South Washington County Schools

Definitions for the World's Best Workforce and Strategic Planning

  • Academic Achievement Gap Leadership Team: The purpose of the Academic Achievement Gap Leadership Team (led by the Office of Educational Equity and Integration) is to provide district oversight in developing and implementing key recommendations designed to increase academic achievement by supporting our ongoing efforts to reduce the achievement gap in our district.  Through shared leadership and collective input a group of district stakeholders is building capacity by working to generate ideas related to narrowing the academic achievement gap in our district.
  • Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP): Adequate yearly progress (AYP) is the measure by which schools, districts, and states are held accountable for student performance under Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The intent is to measure student growth on standardized tests. Minnesota was granted a waiver from NCLB in 2010, so AYP no longer brings with it consequences for schools, but is still reported.  The Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) system was also enacted to report accountability results under the waiver from NCLB.
  • Advisory Staff Development Committee: The Advisory Staff Development Committee develop the district’s staff development plan, assists site professional development teams in developing a site plan consistent with the goals of the plan, and evaluates staff development efforts at the site level. The district Staff Development Plan supports the district strategic plan and the yearly priorities set by the district and schools to reach the goals identified in the strategic plan.
  • Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System: Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System, ATPPS, pairs teachers with peer coaches to develop goals and action plans that address professional growth and student achievement. The program is part of the state teacher incentive pay for performance plan or Q-Comp.
  • Annual Report: Each year the Minnesota Department of Education requires school districts to prepare an Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement. The information contained in the report predominately focuses on the district’s student achievement goals, assessment data, as well as advisory committee information. In 2013, the Minnesota legislature passed the World’s Best Workforce legislation and the annual report was replaced by the World’s Best Workforce report.
  • AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination): AVID is a program that prepares students for college eligibility and success. AVID targets students in the academic middle who have the desire to go to college and willingness to work hard but are typically falling short of their potential. The AVID program consists of researched based teaching and learning strategies and is part of our focus on helping all of our students graduate from high school with the skills to succeed in college if they choose to enroll in post-secondary education.
  • Best Practices Studies: These studies, the first of which was conducted in 2012-13 in grades 3-5, are completed by District 833’s Department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment and identify classrooms throughout the district where students are beating the odds in terms of assessment outcomes. The goal of the study was to better understand the qualities of the classroom environment and instruction in these classrooms that worked and could be replicated in other classrooms and schools within our system.
  • Classroom Walkthroughs:  District administrators worked collaboratively to develop a “walkthrough protocol” for completing classroom observations.  The protocol helps all administrators in the district develop an agreed upon common language around instruction and common “look fors” that indicate the high quality teaching strategies we believe are important for all teachers to demonstrate in their classrooms.
  • College & Career Readiness: Students are considered college and career ready when they have the knowledge, skills, and academic preparation needed to enroll and succeed in introductory college credit-bearing courses within an associate or baccalaureate degree program without the need for remediation. The measurement of college readiness will come from the Explore, Plan and ACT suite of tests.  These assessments have a college and career readiness measurement component.  The Explore is taken in the 8th grade, the Plan in 10th and the ACT in 11th grade. 
  • Curriculum Advisory Committee: The Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC) promotes the academic achievement of all students by evaluating and recommending curriculum options and advising the School Board on behalf of students, parents, teachers, and the district’s communities. CAC seeks community input to ensure that the district’s curriculum meets state and local educational standards and the social, behavioral, and physical needs of district students. The advisory committee is convened and led by the Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Custodial mentorship program: The South Washington County Schools’ “Mentorship for Success” Program was created to provide additional support and guidance for maintenance employees who are new to the District and/or Maintenance Department, as well as for current employees who have made a significant job change in the employee unit (e.g. moving to a foreman role).  The Mentorship for Success program offers our new employees an opportunity to work with an experienced “Maintenance Mentor” during their first year of employment or new position.  The charge of the Maintenance Mentors is to provide valuable guidance and assistance in order to support our employees to become productive, fully engaged, successful members of the maintenance team and school district. 
  • Department Improvement Plan:  Department improvement plans are a common document used by departments to help them record and communicate their annual goals and related strategies, as well as related implementation and successes relating to supporting the students, staff and parents of our school district.  The plans are evidence of how departments engage in the continuous improvement process and better align efforts to the district’s strategic plan.
  • Design Thinking: Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that combines empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality in analyzing and fitting various solutions to a problem. The focus of design thinking is on trying to solve large and small-scale problems in a new way.
  • Digital Curriculum:  Rather than a paper curriculum housed in a notebook, the digital resources can be quickly and continuously updated with the most recent advancements in the subject areas for teacher and student use in teaching and learning. 
  •  District Data and Assessment Committee: The District Data and Assessment Committee is a group made up of a range of District stakeholders, including District and School staff, as well as parents of District 833 students. The committee exists to discuss and provide recommendations to the Director of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA) regarding District assessments, assessment practices and procedures, the communication of District assessment results, and District data systems related to assessments.
  • District T3 surveys (students, parents, staff):  T3 – Transforming Thinking through Technology, is focused on using technology to enhance the thinking abilities of our students by giving them access to digital resources meant to help them delve deeply and more comprehensively into the content. All students in grades 5, 8 and 10, all parents, and all teachers are surveyed regarding their perceptions of how and how well students are learning in school, how engaged students are in school, and student use of technology for learning purposes.
  • EdCamp: EdCamp is a form of participant-driven professional development that occurs periodically throughout the school year in District 833. Events are designed specifically for teachers and their needs by having an agenda that is created by the participants at the start of the event. Topics vary from classroom instructional techniques to effective use of our student management system. The goal of EdCamp is to ensure our professional development training is personalized to what each teacher needs to improve his or her craft.
  • Effective Learning Teams: Effective Learning Teams are a integral part of the Response to Intervention system in place in District 833.  Through the Effective Learning Teams, teachers and other staff members participate in Professional Learning Communities to help determine the appropriate interventions needed for students.
  • English Language Arts Frameworks: In an effort to ensure all learners’ achieve proficiency in the language arts, a curriculum framework was created, K-12, to align curriculum, instruction and assessment and provide a comprehensive structure for Language Arts.  The framework serves as a guide, individual schools should align these Learning Targets to specific units, based on the needs of their community of learners.
  • Equity Committee: The Educational Equity and Integration Advisory Committee advises the district on all matters related to educational equity and integration, specifically goals leading to achievement gap reduction while promoting school environments that create the conditions for student success. They provide oversight regarding the state’s “Achievement and Integration” program and corresponding revenue.
  • June “Tech Week” District 833: Educators choose one day of professional development offered by Apple between Monday-Thursday and spend the subsequent day with coaches and other teachers from District 833 to discuss next steps and implementation of the skills learned the previous day. 
  • Learning Leaders Meetings:  Learning Leaders are comprised of building principals, assistant principals, TLS staff and other administrators. The purpose of the Learning Leaders meetings is “to increase student achievement by developing and enhancing instructional strategies.”  Meetings focus on helping instructional leaders throughout the district improve their ability to coach/mentor teachers to enhance their development.
  • Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum (MPCC): The Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum is a grassroots initiative to promote the creation of open source digital curriculum. The goal is to leverage the power of collaboration and digital resources to launch teachers and students into new learning frontiers. Member districts have access to curriculum developed to support the state academic standards.
  • Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments: The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) are state tests in mathematics, reading and science that meet the requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). They are given every year to measure student performance against the Minnesota Academic Standards that specify what students should know and be able to do. Students in grades 3-8 and 10 are tested in reading, in grades 3-8 and 11 in math and in grades 5, 8 and high school in science.
  • Multiple Measures Report (MMR): The Multiple Measures Report is the Minnesota Department of Education’s accountability system that is focused on measuring the progress of closing the achievement gap and promoting high growth for all students. A Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) is given to all schools in the state on an annual basis and measures school performance in the areas of proficiency, growth, achievement gap reduction, and graduation rates. A second rating, the Focus Rating (FR) is also used to measure a school’s success in reducing achievement gaps between student groups. The system measures the academic growth of students in one year in the areas listed. Students should progress one year for each year in school. For students who are behind, the growth goals are accelerated.
  • Naviance: Naviance is a college and career readiness software provider used by the district’s high schools to provide students with college planning and career assessment tools.
  • Paraprofessional mentorship program: The program pairs new paraprofessionals with an experienced building paraprofessional for the first several months of employment, to facilitate a positive transition into the school, increase retention, communication and job satisfaction.
  • Partnership Toolkit: The district’s Partnership Toolkit is a resource for building partnerships between schools and businesses or organizations across South Washington County Schools.
  • Pathway to Excellence Strategic Plan: Pathway to Excellence is the district’s current Strategic Plan, approved by the School Board in June 2011.Ongoing review of the strategic plan ensures the document continues to be at the forefront of the district’s continuous improvement efforts. Yearly goals and strategies are developed cooperatively with input from staff, parents and community members. The goals are focused on helping us achieve our mission of igniting a passion for lifelong learning.
  • Principal Evaluation: As a part of developing high quality leaders for District 833, principals engage in a process in which they learn, grow and evaluate their work during the school year.  Principals are offered the opportunity to connect with their supervisor annually and look at the progress they are making regarding school goals and personal goals.
  • Professional Learning Communities:  Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are organized working groups of teachers that foster collaborative learning. PLC groups are arranged by grade levels or departments at the secondary level.  Time is set-aside for teachers to meet and review data collected in their classrooms each week on the effectiveness of their lessons and instructional techniques.  The review is focused on determining what worked for students and what needs to be improved.  The PLC focus is on continued improvement by learning from each other on how to meet the needs of all students.
  • Professional (staff) Development: As a part of a District 833’s work to hire, develop and retain the highest quality professionals, we work to provide quality training for staff members in regards to their daily work.  Teachers are offered opportunities to continue to grow in professional learning for their instructional practices. Frontline employees are offered opportunities to grow as well in the areas they serve.  Professional learning is one of the most important components of District 833’s system wide success.
  • Program Profiles: Developed within Teaching and Learning Services, Program Profiles allow District 833 to study the specific goals, and measure the success of individual programs.  It is an opportunity to ensure we are investing in quality programming for students and staff.
  • Response to Intervention Process: Response to Intervention (RtI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. Students having trouble succeeding in class are identified and strategies are developed by the RtI team to address the problems and help the student make acceptable progress.
  • SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) Model of Technology: The SAMR Model is a change model focused on the levels of use teachers go through as they learn about and incorporate technological tools in their classrooms.  The model outlines implementation of technology might impact teaching and learning.  The model identifies a progression that adopters of educational technology often follow as they progress through teaching and learning with technology and suggests strategies to be incorporated by teachers in order to move toward the “redefinition” level of implementation.
  • School climate surveys (students, parents, staff): School Climate Surveys are given each year to students and parents in grades 4, 7, and 11 to help District 833 create a culture that supports high student achievement and a passion for lifelong learning.
  • School Improvement Plan:  School improvement plans are a common document used by schools to help them record and communicate their annual goals and related strategies, as well as related implementation and successes.  The plans are evidence of how schools engage in the continuous improvement process. The SIP plans support the district strategic plan and outlines academic achievement goals and strategies the school will utilize throughout the school year to help all of their students succeed.
  • School SITE Teams: Site Based Decision Making is a decentralized process in which decisions and recommendations are made by stakeholders, including building employees, parents, community representatives, students and others determined as appropriate.  The purpose of Site Based Decision Making is to improve the quality of education for all learners by addressing a uniqueness of each site through a shared decision-making process.  Site teams roles and responsibilities are outlined in three categories: Informational Only, Advisory and Decision-making.
  • Service Level Matrix: The district’s Service Level Matrix is a document that aligns the district’s financial resources to the services provided to students and the community. Based on state-required financial reporting, the district’s services (through the district’s general fund) are defined in six main areas: PreK-12 Instruction, School Support Services, Operations and Maintenance, Transportation, Capital and Technology and District Support Services. The matrix provides an understandable one-page document on how all of the district services are interconnected based on the current level of district funding.  The Service Level Matrix document also is accompanied by background documents that more fully explain each level of service provided to our students.
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Instruction:  The goal of the STEM curriculum is to help student deeply explore the interdisciplinary aspect of science, engineering and math through an in-depth integrated curriculum focused on “real-life” problems.  
  • Strategic Planning Committee: The District’s Strategic Plan, Pathway to Excellence, is reviewed and approved annually by this working group. Incorporating new legislation through the World’s Best Work Force, conversations on how to ensure meeting requirements are part of the group’s focus.
  • Teacher Development and Evaluation: Evaluation process for all teachers (every three years for continuing contract teachers and annually for probationary teachers), that includes 4 development and evaluation components:  Performance Evaluation, Student Learning, Student Engagement, and Peer Observation.
  • T3 – Transforming Thinking through Technology Initiative: The T3 initiative is focused on creating a more personalized and engaging learning environment enhanced through the use of digital devices. As part of the initiative, students will be empowered to learn anywhere, at any time, strengthening their creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills.
  • Vision Cards: District Vision Cards help evaluate the progress on a number of state and local student achievement measures, relative to district desired performance levels.  The vision cards are a visual representation of our current progress and measures of our vision for high level academic achievement for all of our students.
  • World’s Best Workforce: The World’s Best Workforce bill was passed in 2013 to ensure every school district in the state is making strides to increase student performance and success in five areas. Each district must develop a plan that addresses the following five goals: all children are ready for school; all third-graders can read at grade level; all racial and economic achievement gaps between students are closed; all students are ready for career and college; and all students graduate from high school.