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News Sickle Arrow NSA Black Earth Cross Plains

By Joe Block 

Wisconsin Heights School District holds Future Search to engage community in discussion

 

May 3, 2018



The Wisconsin Heights School District held its Future Search, titled a “Vanguard Vision: Reaching New Heights,” April 19-21.

The board approved the Future Search earlier in the year, in order to communicate with the community and create a shared vision. More than 90 members of the community, including “Residents, elected officials, employers, school administrators, School board members, teachers, parents, and students”, attended the event, according to board member Barb Statz. The three-day event consisted of more than 12 hours of discussion and collaboration.

“We were able to actively engage our community in a discussion about our schools, and in a sincere way, show that we value public input,” explained Statz.

The conversation created a “shared historical context” of global and local events, and how they related to education throughout the decades.

For example, the Mazomanie Midgets and Black Earth Earthmen became one in 1964 under the name Wisconsin Heights, named after the Battle of Wisconsin Heights, near Sauk City. The Wisconsin Heights Vanguards were initially presented as the Vanguard Rocket, representing the rockets used during the space race in the 50s and 60s. Later on, a knight on a horse was chosen, as it too represented the definition of a Vanguard.

“It represents a group of people leading the way in new developments and ideas,” Statz said.

Statz continued, “Participants discussed issues and trends surrounding the needs of children, and how to address these needs as the world continues to evolve and change.” In particular, “How can we as a district address the evolving needs of children in a rapidly changing world, and provide an education for ALL students, so each child can reach their full potential and achieve success in life?”

The conversations built upon discussions from the previous day. Certain themes emerged, and participants identified priorities and goals. These will be used to guide decision-making within the district. Future Search activities included brainstorming sessions, as well as group-oriented presentations with a creative flair.

“Transparency and accountability are important to us. The school community will be invited back, in April of 2019, to hear from the Board of Education and administration on the accomplishments and achievements in the past year, specifically as they relate to the priorities that emerged from this conversation, and moreover, what the District’s on-going plan is with regards to our shared Vanguard Vision,” explained Statz.

District administrator Jordan Sinz had the following to add in the May District Newsletter: “Participants generated a list of items the district should work towards to support the students. The event ended with each participant identifying six priority areas based on their perspective. The ten most frequent responses are listed below.”

“Attract and retain quality staff and administration; community collaboration, including government, businesses, parents, and residents; small class sizes, better marketing and branding; one site campus; private and public partnerships for improved funding; innovative teaching styles to accommodate diverse learning styles; mentoring and internships; global learning opportunities; and a performing arts center”.

Sinz continued: “To out participants—thank you for generously giving your time! Our district’s children are blessed to have such a supportive community! We are committed to developing the trust necessary to create a culture of high performance, and we are confident we can achieve our goals by engaging our community in the process.”

 
 

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