100 Day Reflection

A 100 Day Reflection: Waverly Superintendent Waverly School District 2021

Throughout my First 100 Days, I have made many observations of the school and the community. I am framing these observations within the goals I presented in my first 100 days. These impressions reflect what I have seen, heard, and learned. My impressions of the school system's current reality are those that allow me to create a path that I believe the Waverly Community Unit School District needs to take to reach our fullest potential.

• To set the tone of my leadership for the Waverly School District.

• To assure my leadership is personable, student-centered, community-focused, and both personally and professionally accountable.

The 100-day entry plan was simple and focused. This 100-day entry plan was not to be as comprehensive as a strategic plan.


 Develop a robust and collaborative relationship with the Board of Education and determine the goals, expectations, and foundation for the Waverly CUSD Strategic Plan.

In my pre-service to the District, I met with the Board of Education and our Illinois Association of School Board's (IASB) Field Representative during a Closed Session Professional Development. At this time, we discussed roles, expectations, and the chain of command. During my first two months of service, I requested one-on-one meetings with each Board member. Three Board members responded in person and one Board member via phone. In these communications, I was able to identify community values and the passion that the Board members have for their community.

A direct result of these action steps has assisted in developing a solid and unified vision for governance and leadership in the District for the future with particular emphasis on clarity of roles and responsibilities of the Board President, Board of Education members, Superintendent of Schools, and the Administration.

Moving forward, we will focus on updating Board Policy with the assistance of IASB and establish a timeline to begin the re-development of the District Strategic Plan.

To ensure an effective, efficient, and orderly transition of leadership while establishing an understanding of District systems, focusing on increased student achievement for all children.

Whenever a transition or change takes place, there is resistance. In particular, Waverly has had several challenges which are not limited but include: Covid, staff turnover, lack of systems, unclear and blurred roles and responsibilities, and implementation of universal systems and the Multi-Tiered Systems. Lack of professional development opportunities and teacher collaboration time during the school day, appear to have been past hurdles.

The impact of Covid-19 cannot be understated. However, I continue to pursue the crisis to address the inadequacies and inequities in the Waverly educational system versus allowing the crisis to consume the instructional purpose of the school. I chose to use the LEAD program Six Pandemic Recommendations to help guide this year's work. Having met with the Regional LEAD coordinator, Waverly staff, and the past superintendent, I determined the information through the LEAD pandemic recommendations would provide language and concepts which the teachers and staff would be familiar. Furthermore, the choice to pursue this methodology to direct the work, is determined through a three-fold process:

1. Waverly School District has been part of the Regional Office of Education LEAD program for three years, most recently working through the cycle of inquiry with past leadership and staff.

2 . The LEAD program is research-based with timely support and materials.

3. I am a trained administrator under the LEAD program giving myself and the Waverly staff common ground to begin our educational journey together.

Nationwide, especially in Illinois, staffing is in crisis, from bus drivers to classroom teachers. Waverly is no different. As a response, I have continued consistent outreach to our higher education communities, invited student observers to the school from local Community Colleges, and posted jobs in the IASA Job Bank, local newspapers, and our website. Administrative turnover is also another area of concern. There have been many changes; approximately every 2-3 years, new building leadership seems to cycle in and out. High employee attrition is disruptive to students, but sustained learning systems cannot be established, morale decreases, and professional development is interrupted. Since I have two first-year administrators, I have put in mentoring from myself and outside mentors; assigned book studies; have formal weekly meetings; continue to provide networking opportunities; encourage them to take advantage of virtual workgroups and training, and meet as often as they need.

Lack of systems has been the biggest roadblock. For example, administrative procedures were not clear. Reporting, roles, responsibilities, and expectations of adults were not defined more often than not, requiring staff to work outside their training and job duties scope of work without context or professional development to support the changes. I have also discovered areas of teacher certification and student data are not driving certified staff work placements. Over the summer, I brought in the administrative team to discuss roles and responsibilities. Individual meetings with the head of maintenance, transportation, and various certified staff occurred. From these conversations, I have focused the start of this year on staff professionalism with the assistance of the School Board lawyer, who provided professional development for all the staff. I have audited our staffing list and continue to assess the gaps in staffing, scheduling, roles, and responsibilities. The staff has been encouraged to pursue certifications and professional development in the areas they want to work. Title II funding and ESSER III budget are aligned to help support staff in the latter endeavors. An internal district leadership pipeline is lacking. To remedy the lack of leadership pipeline, I have consciously provided teacher leadership roles like the After School Program Coordinator (paid with ESSER III) and team facilitators. I continue to review District resources and culture to determine ways to build an informal and formal leadership pipeline.

Building universal systems is the focus this year. I am focused on providing the staff professional development that makes an adult vocabulary and adult skills around a unified and coherent Universal System that will support the majority of our learners at Waverly. So far, training in Positive Behavior Systems and Behavior Intervention Support Teams has taken place. This training also has ongoing support through an external professional coach and an internal Tier 1 team. The system builds Waverly academics through a clear, consistent, and updated curriculum with both vertical and horizontal alignment. A Curriculum Coach, hired through ESSER III money, will support this work. Transparent use of student data with a student and parent understanding of the data used at the school. Individual student data engagement by using goal setting by students so they can own their work. I have also designed an updated explanatory working document defining and outlining the Waverly MTSS supports, procedures and and approach.

Communicate a culture shift to focus on establishing a positive community mindset that Strong Schools = Strong Communities and vice versa.

I communicate consistently as appropriate with stakeholders. I disseminate information quickly to staff and the administrative team. I allow the executive team to take charge of their building using Central Messaging as a guide. I have developed a new website where the staff and I can quickly move messaging to a public platform. I have weekly meetings with administrators. Two-way communication is provided between the Board and me. I have hosted community members in sessions to assist in developing plans, i.e. Return to Learn Plan, and to discuss impressions of the District. I have engaged the staff and stakeholders through surveys. I continue to work in this area, and it will continue to grow and improve.

I have worked with developing a consistent Parent Engagement program. Although the school needs to re-engage students in this post-pandemic year, the school must re-engage families. The Parent Educator is imperative in this process.

To identify and execute activities that must happen immediately to ensure a great beginning to the school year.

To start the school year, we had pre-trainings and a social event for staff. I was able to host a cookout for staff and provided t-shirts with this year's "Future Forward." I planned a formal start to the school year on opening day that included central messaging and professional development. I had our local Covid-19 learning plan ready and quickly pivoted when the state changed mandates.

To build excitement and momentum for Waverly CUSD's vision, mission, and future strategic plan, while also establishing a commitment to engage in needed improvement.

In any new role, when there are changes as significant to the ones at Waverly, it is imperative to stay focused and positive. I continue to do this. I have built a tremendous administrative and support team. Currently, I am laying the foundation for a high-achieving school system for the community. For this school year, my goals and objectives for the internal school community are

1) To unify the individual, school, family, and community with a universal philosophy and a common language.

  •  Implementation of Tier 1 (universal structure) that is both academic and behavior with a focus on pandemic reengagement to the school community, which includes an adoption of MTSS practices that define the entire school community as in need of Tier 2 services so we can wrap services to all of our students as all have been impacted by the pandemic and learning disruptions
  •  Adoption of school-wide use of Behavior Intervention Support Teams Language and introduction of BIST philosophy
  •  Development of Positive Behavior Intervention support teams
  •  Selection and updating of universal teaching materials- i.e., development and adoption of universal curriculum and development of vertical and horizontal k12 curriculum alignments-this is a three to five-year process.
  • Increased Family Engagement to include Family Nights and Family Learning activities

2) Embrace and create innovative spaces for adult and student learning;

  •  Develop purposeful use of professional development days on-site targeting the use of time around immediate school needs like data use, professionalism, self-care, and Tier 1 training
  •  Support k12 teachers with critical academic staff to assist with data interpretation and data use
  • Emphasize adult staff talents allowing sharing those talents through impact programs and classroom daily lesson flexibility
  • Utilize LEAD support structures and research to guide the District Model of student learning and staff development

3) To instill consistent principles so students can work in their own cognitive, affective and behavioral learning domains;

  •  Provide an explicit district-wide universal academic and behavioral curriculum and curriculum supports
  • Implement and monitor universal systems of support district-wide
  • Allow students opportunities for academic ownership through goal setting, understanding their academic progress through clearly expressed lesson goals/big ideas, facilitative delivery of classroom instruction, timely and meaningful feedback on assignments, and data/assessment discussion.

Please note Pre-K services are connected to a separate funding source, PreSchool for All. The teacher and support staff are included in all of our District Trainings and Teams. However, Title and ESSER funds are not directly available for Pre-K services. The District in-kind supports the Pre-K program through local tax funding with facilities, transportation, support staff, and other program support. The outstanding work of the Pre-K team has resulted in a waiting list for services. We are currently reviewing how the District can support and grow the Pre-K program to service more families.

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