WSSD Superintendent’s Entry Plan

Yesterday the school district sent out the new superintendent’s entry plan. Superintendent Marseille is setting a faster tempo for communicating with the school community than the previous administration with multiple emails this week. Maybe that’s just his first week, time will tell if this pace will be maintained.

The entry plan lays out the superintendent’s schedule for a new strategic plan for the district. Roughly, the summer and fall will be spent collecting data and getting to know the district, the winter will be used for planning and the new strategic plan will be organized in the spring. One quote from the plan stuck out,

Mike Schmoker (2011), states “We will never master or implement what is most important for kids if we continue to pursue multiple new initiatives before we implement the highest priority strategies and structures.”

This suggests there will be few major changes in the coming year, the focus will be on planning for the future. That’s probably just as well since by the end of the summer less than half the school board will be elected by voters, so probably not a good time to be launching major new initiatives. This coming year is potentially a major inflection point for the district with a relatively new board (7 of the 9 will be in their first terms assuming Kelly wins) and a new superintendent. Younger families especially should take an interest in this planning for the district’s future direction.

The plan lists those that it expects to participate in the planned conversations. This contains some groups that haven’t seemed to get much attention in the past such as the township, with whom there hasn’t generally been much dialog. Its good to see union leadership on there because relations have been strained for a while. And legislators are important as many of the district’s most pressing problems require changes in Harrisburg. I wonder if the district’s largest institution – Swarthmore College – should maybe be listed as well.

The plan lists a few specific areas for audits:

  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Financial sustainability
  • Identity and reputation
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion

The first is probably in pretty solid condition, the district conducted regular reviews of most curriculum. The second and fourth are areas that are problematic for the district and in need of attention. Both have been targeted by the board and community groups as areas that need work. I’m not entirely sure what the third is looking for – WSSD already seems to have a pretty clear identity and reputation that seems unlikely to change any time soon. Or maybe its just obvious to me from the last 5 years of getting to know so many of you.

What might you add to this list? As a technologist, the district’s technology and communications systems need review. The website is a mess and the messaging system where you have to click on a link to view the message is prone to phishing attacks. Have other ideas? The plan linked above has superintendent Marseille’s contact information listed.

Categories: Government, WSSD