Report of Entry Findings – February 1, 2023

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Entry Plan - July 20, 2022

  • Managing complex change and leading continuous improvement require a deep understanding of a school system and its community.  In order to begin developing this deep understanding, I began an entry process with a formal Transition Plan that was shared with School Committee members, members of the Leadership Team, the Town Manager, and union leadership. I implemented activities outlined in the plan between March and the end of June. These began with individual in-person and virtual meetings and, in June, I spent three full days in the District attending end-of-year meetings.   

    Relationship development has been my priority and I have used my time to begin to learn the strengths and opportunities of Barnstable Public Schools.

    As I begin my formal work in the District this July, I shift to an Entry Plan, outlined below, explaining the actions I will further pursue to examine patterns of strength and opportunities across BPS schools. I will continue to prioritize the development of relationships while examining the resources, systems, and structures that enable us to pursue our collective goals.  My findings from this review will be reported to you, the School Committee, and to the community. They will provide a foundation from which we can collectively build a strategy to pursue ambitious and long-term improvement goals. 

    The implementation of my plan will encompass approximately four months during which I will gather and synthesize information across many areas of practice.  I anticipate sharing a Report of Findings to the School Committee in December.  Through the fall, I will keep the School Committee informed of my progress, my observations, and tentative findings I may be developing. 

    I will use the following questions to guide my work:

    • What are the strengths of the Barnstable Public Schools? 

    • What are the opportunities for growth in the Barnstable Public Schools? 

    • What are the norms, values, expectations, and goals of the community? 

    • What are the key events, issues, and concerns that are influencing members of the school community? 

    I will explicitly examine elements of belonging, inclusion, and equity throughout my entry

    Sources of Data 

    I will use three types of sources in order to gather information about the Barnstable Public Schools: 

    • Individual interviews, focus groups, and forums with stakeholders
    • Visits to schools and classrooms
    • A review of key documents and data 

    Listening to Stakeholders 

    I will use interviews, focus groups, and forums to listen to stakeholders. 

    I will broadly reach out to:  

    • Educators
    • Students
    • School Committee members
    • Union leadership
    • Parents/guardians
    • Parent organizations
    • Town officials and agencies including elected officials and municipal department heads
    • Barnstable community and civic organizations
    • Clergy members
    • Media
    • Other schools in town 

    Over the summer, I am engaging in individual meetings with each building principal and will continue to engage in individual meetings with town officials and members of the leadership team. 

    I will engage in focus group conversations throughout the late summer/early fall with educators across the district, parents/guardians, and students.   

    I will be holding several forums throughout the late summer/early fall for interested community members to provide me with their perspectives on the Barnstable Public Schools.  

    In order to engage the broader community, I will visit local community organizations, meeting with its officials and members.   

    In addition to holding open sessions, I will invite Barnstable school students, faculty/staff, and families who identify as members of historically marginalized communities to meet specifically and share their experiences with me.  

    Visits to Schools and Classrooms 

    The core of the work of schools resides in the interactions among educators, their students, and the curriculum.  Additionally, students experience an influential set of learning opportunities in schools at school-related events.  I will be a regular presence in our schools in order to observe teaching and learning, identifying the areas of strength and opportunities for growth in our schools and classrooms.  My goals are to: 

    • Visit each school once per month to see classes and other instructional activities
    • Attend extra- and co-curricular events, as my schedule permits 

    Document Review 

    A wealth of information about schools resides in documents about policy and practice, as well as reports of achievement.  In order to understand details of the school system I will review documents in the following categories: 

    1. Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment  
      e.g. Previous district and school improvement plans, accreditation reports, curriculum documents, student assessments, student work performances and products, social-emotional learning indicators, specialized services for students with special education needs and English learners, Technology Plan, student publications

    2. Management and Operations  
      e.g.  Previous budget documents and capital plan, class size reports and enrollment projections, facility studies/plans, grants, organizational charts, Human Resources materials and processes, School Committee Policy Manual, Student Handbooks and Codes of Conduct

    3. Family and Community Engagement  
      e.g.  BPS publications, Family Community and Engagement Center materials, school and community social media, school and district websites, town and school television programs, volunteer handbook, local blogs, and newspaper articles

    4. Professional Culture  
      e.g.  Collaborative Bargaining Agreements, Educator Evaluation process and outcomes, job descriptions, Mentoring and Induction Program, Staff Handbooks, Professional Development Plan

    Process and Outcome 

    As noted previously, the process of my entry into the District began with the Transition Plan.  I have begun to meet with principals individually and I am touring each school facility.  I have also begun meeting with town officials.  I will continue to meet with stakeholders throughout the fall months, prioritizing the focus group meetings with educators, students, and parents/guardians as we return from summer break. 

    I will gather information throughout the early months of the fall and I will update the School Committee and community with tentative findings.   I will synthesize findings into a final report, which I anticipate will be presented to the School Committee in December 2022.  Feedback is important to me and I will seek input on this report to gain feedback on my perceptions.   

    This report will serve as an important guide to assist in budget development as well as for the development of a strategy for improvement through long-term goal-setting. The leadership team and educators will play a critical role in shaping the strategy and goals, which I propose for completion by the end of the school year for School Committee consideration and approval. 

    Concluding Thoughts 

    My initial impressions of Barnstable, through these past spring months of transition and initial stages of my entry plan, are extremely positive ones.  I have been welcomed into the community. Stakeholders clearly care about students and are committed to providing an excellent education for each and every child in Barnstable. There is clearly great community pride in the Barnstable Public Schools and strengths upon which to build. 

    This leaves me extremely excited about opening school in August, welcoming students and educators and engaging with families. 

    It is my desire, not just through this entry but also beyond, to remain open to the input and feedback of stakeholders in the community.  Additionally, it is my intention to continue to be a presence in our schools in order to see teaching and learning and support educators in the pursuit of our collective goals.  Following this entry period, you can expect regular opportunities for the public to engage in providing me feedback through:

    • Regular open coffees and forums for families and community members

    • Periodic focus groups with students

    • Regular visitation schedule to school buildings 

    I look forward to working collaboratively to positively influence the educational experience for each child in the Barnstable Public Schools.