Polk County School District hosts community conversations tour

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Image via Polk County Public Schools | Graphic via 6AM City

This week, the Polk County School District wrapped up its community conversations tour with a culminating virtual forum, which took place on the district’s Facebook page at 6 p.m.

Stakeholders, that is, anyone with a vested interest in the success of students and schools, were invited to participate during the Q+A portion following Superintendent Frederick Heid’s presentation.

With over 5,300 viewers and 210+ questions asked, we’re summing up the key points and takeaways, but you can watch it yourself here any time.

Hosted by Superintendent Heid and Executive Director of Polk Vision, Kim Long, the forum aimed to educate as many stakeholders as possible on the district’s strategic plan, as well as the practices that inform it, and what next steps will look like.

A strategic plan, which helps the superintendent and school board ensure that resources + supports are aligned with the district’s goals, is a living document that provides transparency regarding:

  • the school district’s priorities over a period of 3-5 years
  • which individuals are involved in the plan
  • what resources are available + where those resources are allocated
  • what objectives are in place

The 5 core values, which you can listen to in detail at the 10:49 minute mark, include collaboration, equity, excellence, integrity, and innovation.

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The process flow for drafting a strategic plan | Screenshot via Polk County Public Schools

One element of drafting a new document is assessing the previous plan for initiatives that should change or continue into the next plan. The current trajectory has 5 goal areas, which you can hear about in more detail at the 16:03 minute mark:

  1. Student outcomes
  2. Develop great teachers and leaders
  3. Engage family + community
  4. Equitable and efficient use of resources
  5. Develop the whole child

Strategic plans are informed by the cumulative goals set in place by individual school improvement plans (SIPs), which are designed to ensure each school is prepared to address students’ needs. The district analyzes SIPs in order to inform their investment of time and resources, which ideally would go to the areas of greatest need. You can hear more information about SIPs at the 23:52 minute mark.

In addition to SIPs, the district hopes to use stakeholder input Following the forum on Monday, PCSB sent a survey to stakeholders, students, staff, faith-based leaders, community leaders, and higher education leaders.

The survey asked individuals to select 10 out of 30 characteristics that they believe are important for a high school graduate to possess, based on the portrait of a graduate. The most frequent responses will make up the qualities that Polk County’s schools will aim for all students to demonstrate by graduation.

Superintendent Heid referred to this strategy as “working with the end in mind.” You can hear more information about the portrait of a graduate at the 24:40 minute mark.

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The process timeline for the new strategic plan | Screenshot via Polk County Public Schools

From talent pipelines to new schools to teacher self-care, 210+ questions were addressed by Frederick and Kim. You can hear the question and answer portion of the presentation at the 28:18 minute mark.

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