This first year as a board member has FLOWN by.
I hope you were able to stay plugged into the School Board’s activity through the District Board web page (https://district279.org/about-us/school-board/meeting-materials) that contains links to board meetings, work sessions, and content. I also hope you are able to follow my board member activity through my Facebook Page (TanyaforOsseo) and Twitter (@TSimons279sb). I often post updates about recent events, meetings, and learning that I am experiencing. I would love to hear back from all stakeholders in these social media vehicles. The board is continuing to work on new engagement efforts such as public and student listening sessions.
Our board work this year was primarily focused on hiring a new Superintendent to lead our district forward, discovery work / research to ready ourselves and the district for a new Strategic Plan, several infrastructure and athletic facilities projects, and routine work in budget and tax levy approvals, policy updates, and priority progress reviews.
Among our work this past calendar year, there are a few things I’m most proud of:
1. Selection and hiring of Superintendent McIntyre on February 23rd, 2019. Mr. McIntyre is bringing a fresh perspective to our district, creating new levels of relationship, and has spent a great deal of time learning and analyzing the current state of our district. I’m looking forward to our transition from discovery work, to strategic and operational planning, to future implementation. We are all working to move quickly on improvement opportunities, but also recognizing the time needed for assessment before action.
2. Selection of strategic plan partners Team Works and foundational work to date. We know we have great strengths as a district, but we also know we have some big issues that we need to address including declining student outcomes and an unacceptable student achievement gap according to the required state testing measures. While this strategic work sets our course forward, all board members have articulated the urgency of action to address immediate solutions and opportunities for improvement. Expect to see board members continue to articulate specific ideas and initiatives and request district leadership action for implementation.
3. Partnership with the City of Brooklyn Park to build the Dome Facility at Park Center High School. Prior work and dialogue turned into action with a single conversation at a council member’s listening session. The ball got rolling and both the students of Osseo School District and the Community of Brooklyn Park are going to benefit greatly with the opening of the dome at the beginning of January.
4. Establishment of three community Listening Sessions over the 2019-2020 school year. This was a new avenue of ensuring community members had access and opportunity to bring their perspective, ideas, and concerns directly to the school board and engage in dialogue. We are working to expand engagement and expect much more to come in the area of parent and community engagement. Remember, board members are always open to attending events and meetings with community members at any time and happy to meet one on one or in small groups. Interested community members can email the board at OsseoSchoolBoard@district279.org or contact board members individually.
5. Engagement in committee work.
All board members participate in committee assignments to work along side either partner organizations or community members in district priority work. I learned so much and greatly appreciated the work of our stakeholders in my committee groups including the Enrollment and Capacity, Fiscal, and District Planning Advisory Committees. Thank you community members for you deep analysis and insight and dedication of time to support the work of the district on behalf of students.
6. Strong fiscal management of the district by our board oversight and our extraordinary Finance Department.
We were given a Clean Opinion by our auditors on our prior year financial statements. Based on our board review and analysis, I believe our budget, fund balance, and investment portfolio are strong and this places us in a great position to ensure we invest wisely in our district needs and priorities.
7. New board member onboarding and learning. I have enjoyed jumping into the world of Education and Board Governance. I completed my full Minnesota School Boards Association Learning to Lead Series in my first year on the board and attended many conferences, workshops, and learning opportunities to ensure I was knowledgeable and trained to properly serve in my board capacity. My professional role as a continuous improvement consultant carries over into my personal and service life. I love opportunities to pursue excellence and my passion is to use my skills to help people and organizations reach their goals.
There is much more I could list and I’m sure I’ve been remiss in fully reviewing the great work of our board and district. I have truly enjoyed getting to know my fellow board members and serving with them to achieve our mission in our students’ lives this past year. I have really appreciated partnering with Interim Superintendent Jim Bauck, Superintendent McIntyre, and each Cabinet Member… you are a GREAT team. I am so thankful for our administrative, teaching, and support staff. Each year, day in and day out, they carry out our district’s mission forward in each building, classroom, and student’s life. Thank you for your Servant Leadership.
There is much work ahead. I look forward to accelerating our work in 2020 and implementing change that will produce improved outcomes for each and every student.