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Success Being Redefined

As we find ourselves approaching the holidays, it provides me a great opportunity to reflect on the work we are doing to improve student learning.

I shared with you earlier that one of the district’s challenges is our community’s changing demographics and what that means for the way we teach.

This identified challenge was reaffirmed earlier in the school year when we were once again identified as a District In Need of Assistance (DINA) under the federal guidelines of No Child Left Behind.

Because this was the fourth year of the DINA designation for WDMCS, we are required to develop an improvement plan to address the areas where students are demonstrating proficiency.

We took the opportunity build the DINA Plan around the work we already have begun and develop some improvements to our current practices.

What I have been sharing with staff, parents and the community is that the West Des Moines Community Schools are and have been successful over the years, but it is time to redefine what it means to be successful.

Based on our student achievement data that means raising the performance for groups of students for whom English is not their primary language or who have not had an opportunity to learn to read before they enter kindergarten.

We won’t stop there.

True success is meeting the educational needs of all learners by providing a personalized learning experience as they progress through their academic career with us.

The good news is that most of the pieces of our plan are already in place:

  • Our main emphasis will be improving how we operate as a system of schools to better coordinate the work across all nine of the District’s elementary schools.
  • We will also articulate the work at all levels as the students move up the system, from preschool to graduation.
  • We will also involve our families and community; an important aspect to our improvement work as well.

So far the response has been positive; our staff is ready to begin the work to get better.

Through the schools and through the website we will share more detail of what the plan involves.

I continue to be excited to work together with you preparing learners for life.

More later. For now, continued Happy Holidays.

Peter Ansingh, Ed.D.

Topics: Education