School board could add teacher retention and equity to 2021-2022 priorities

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From left to right, Aspen School District Equity Committee members Stephanie Nixon, Tameira Wilson and Tharyn Mulberry meet on Thursday August 19, 2021 on the ASD campus ahead of the 2021-22 school year . Equity is on the school board’s proposed list of priorities for this year, according to a draft the school board will review and possibly approve on Tuesday.
Austin Colbert / The Times of Aspen.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Aspen School District School Board has goals to set. Members will review their draft priorities for the 2021-22 school year and, if all goes according to the agenda, they will approve them as well.

This year’s goals are not that different from those the board has set for the 2020-21 school year, according to the finalized document from last year and 2021-22 Disorganized included in the folder for this week’s board meeting.

First of all: the pandemic is not yet in the rearview mirror, and the board’s goals reflect that.



The board named a safe reopening as goal # 1 for the 2020-21 school year and recognized that the focused effort to return to in-person learning “may impact the progress of other priorities.” .

Now the focus is on ensuring that face-to-face learning continues by maintaining collaboration between school administrators, health officials and other stakeholders.



The goal was and still is to ensure that all students can learn – and learn safely – in the classroom, but the 2021-2022 project does not include last year’s caveat that the The emphasis on face-to-face operations could impact other goals and priorities.

Speaking of which, most of the other goals and priorities listed in this year’s draft reflect or build on those identified last year.

Take academic improvement, for example: Documents 2020-21 and 2021-22 state that the board wishes to “create a culture of high expectations” and “implement a plan to identify, investigate systems and seek evidence academic improvement for everyone. and all the students in our district.

Last year, work towards this goal involved an evaluation of the curriculum with administration and the development of an action plan for the 2020-21 school year. The program audit process continues this year as the board monitors progress on recommendations from last year’s assessment, including the implementation of a framework for the International Baccalaureate (IB) to all levels.

The board also wants to ensure that the program aligns with all state guidelines; on the policy side of academic improvement, the emphasis is on transparency and best practices.

Strategic planning and governance are also recurring priorities. The former will inform the latter, with the objective of developing a comprehensive plan for the district and aligning governance with it to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

The wheels are already turning in this department, with a 20-minute strategic discussion on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, according to the agenda.

Additions to this year’s governance goals include a more robust Superintendent’s Review process and a Community Contribution Policy that includes both mechanisms for receiving feedback and procedures for taking action based on it. this.

The obligation is back in board goals this year as well, although the board is now turning from adopting the measure (mission accomplished last November) to planning and prioritizing how the district will spend $ 114 million in earmarked revenue on facility upgrades, maintenance and staff housing.

Housing will play a role in the attraction, development and retention of teachers and staff, which has long been a topic of discussion at board meetings and is listed as an official priority in the 2021-2022 project. .

But that’s not the only part of the equation for keeping people in the district. Other attraction and retention initiatives could include working with administration to “assess and propose changes to the current salary grid” and review how staff development works in the district.

Addressing the district climate and culture – which was its own priority for the 2020-21 school year – has also been incorporated into the staff retention category for 2021-2022. While last year the focus was on transparency and rebuilding trust, the board is now considering developing a climate and culture improvement plan and policy to address the issue. .

A “pulse monitoring” survey proposed by consultant Liz Wilson is already underway to find out how things are going since the last climate and culture survey in 2019; Wilson is part of the same Wilson Foxen consulting firm that administered the 2019 survey. this proposition is also on the agenda this week.

There is also another new addition to this year’s goals that was not present in the 2020-21 document: equity. Board members aim to finalize an equity resolution – a resolution is currently underway, according to updates at an Oct. 12 board meeting – and to support other d district equity.

kwillams@aspentimes.com


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