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Making 2016-17 Great

September 2016 Article in the NP Telegraph

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This is a great time of year.  It is a new beginning and the start of something special.  We have added some great new teachers and administrators to go along with the wonderful ones we already have.  We have an excellent Board of Education and support staff.  I strongly believe good things are and will continue to happen at North Platte Schools. We have what it takes to motivate and challenge our students to become one of the best school districts in Nebraska.

The first step to becoming a great school district is focusing on what matters most.  This starts with our students.  As professionals and as a team, we are striving to lead our students in the direction of success. We will instill in them the determination and drive to reach their highest potential.  It is our responsibility to guide and teach our students what they need to know to accomplish their goals and to become productive, responsible citizens.  We set the bar and they will achieve success. 

How do we get there? 

The first step begins with focusing on what matters most.  The North Platte Board of Education developed and approved the North Platte Public School purpose and direction which states; our purpose is to preparing students to be productive, responsible citizens in a safe, caring, supportive learning environment.  Our direction is to prepare every student for success through high quality educational programs delivered by highly effective educators who use innovative, researched-based strategies in a safe and supportive environment in collaboration with family, businesses, and community members.

To accomplish the district’s purpose, the school district will focus to improve student success by building professional capacity with teachers and principals which refers to any effort being made to improve the abilities, skills, and expertise of educators who are working with the students.  Teachers are the number one factor that impact student learning. Building professional capacity with the teachers is an essential factor in the NPPSD professional development plan.

The District has implemented a new curriculum development process to improve teaching and learning in every classroom. The North Platte School District teaching and learning team worked with K-12 teachers this summer developing the math curriculum.  Teachers worked over 2000 hours developing the math curriculum which is aligned with NE State Standards which will be implemented in every classroom in 2016-2017. This process includes developing common district-wide assessments which allow teachers and principals to monitor student learning throughout the school year.   The teaching and learning team will be reviewing math instructional materials during the 2016-17 school year with plans to purchase new K-12 math instructional materials this spring to be used for the 2017-2018 school year.

The District will use the professional learning team structure to provide opportunities to teachers to learn from each other.  All teachers are provided the time to meet, plan, and develop instructional plans that include the elements of an effective lesson that improve student learning. Teacher teams/teachers are continually collecting and analyzing common student achievement data to determine the instructional effectiveness that have the greatest impact on student learning.

The district has developed and implemented a continuous improvement process.  This improvement process has allowed the district and schools to focus on results. The areas of math and student engagement will be the emphasis for continuous improvement based on the review of district and building level student achievement data. The effectiveness of the school improvement plans will be demonstrated by gains noted in students' math achievement on common local and state assessments and student engagement in the areas of attendance and behavior.

In 2015-16, NPPSD applied and was awarded the Nebraska reVISION Grant.  The reVISION grant is intended to assist local districts with implementing the reVISION process.  The reVISION process is a strategic approach for schools to analyze and transform their current Career Education system by developing prioritized action plans for identified modifications and enhancements. Working in collaboration with postsecondary education and regional workforce/economic development leaders, the reVISION process links career educators, school administrators, guidance counselors, and industry professionals. 

The district is continuing the reVISION process during the 2016-17 school year focusing on planning, developing, and implementing programs that prepare students to leave high school with the knowledge and skills required for employment in local/regional businesses, and it will also provide opportunities for students to experience a smoother transition from high school to post-secondary education.