SPOTLIGHT Spring 2015

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sp t light Grand Haven Area Public Schools Vol. 26 No. 3 By Keith Konarska, Superintendent and Mary Jane Evink, Instructional Services Director J aime Vollmer, author of "Schools Cannot Do It A lone", w r ites about how t he community and schools must work together to meet high standards, particularly during times of change. Grand Haven Area Public Schools agrees with him, and fortunately, enjoys the support of our parents and community members through the school improvement process. One way GHAPS meets the state of Michigan's school improvement accountability requirements is to hold an annual District School Improvement Meet i ng. T he d ist r ict i nv ites pa rent s a nd communit y members to join t he board of education and school leaders on a field trip into our schools to see learning in action. Groups of four to six people tour two of our schools to seek out 21st Century learning skills in the classroom. Some see data meetings where a small group discusses the best way to accelerate learning for students who are struggling. Others see technology being integrated into instruction to increase collaboration and engagement. This format is modeled after school leaders had the opportunity to spend a half day in some of Grand Haven's f inest businesses and manufacturing sites. The pur pose was to g ive educators a bird's eye view of what skills employees need in the work place, so those skills could be emphasized in the classroom. After the tours, the groups gather to review their observations related to our successes, challenges and progress, and provide feedback on school programs, processes and initiatives. Taking this time to reflect and gather feedback is an important part of our continuous improvement process. Thoughtful feedback is then used to make additional adjustments, which is similar to how teachers and students work toget her. The annua l experience, to be held on April 24th this year, is incredibly valuable to the schools. Including people with diverse perspectives about how to improve our schools validates many things we are doing, and pushes us to think differently and consider adjustments to our school improvement plans for the following year. GHAPS also solicits feedback from parents and community members who are not present at the District School Improvement Meeting. Each year a sur vey is made available for pa rent s, com mun it y member s, st udent s and staf f to share ideas and suggestions. T he web add ress to t h is yea r's sur vey is: Your input is valued, and we are a better school district with feedback from you. Schools truly cannot do it alone! Means Involving Parents and Community School Improvement

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