District 26 putting 
together its vision, goals

CARY – Emphasizing that the entire community is part of District 26 is one of the cornerstones of the school system’s new mission, vision and goals document.

District 26 adopted the new document after its steering committee worked on the project for more than three months.

It includes vision statements for students, the curriculum, the culture of the district, finances, working in a learning community, and the community, parents and guardians.

Steering committee members included school board members, administrators, teachers, support staff, parent-teacher organization members, committee engagement committee members, community members, and foundation members.

Director of Curriculum Valerie McCall said that sometimes discussions became heated, but the process was worthwhile.

“It was nice to see everybody was dedicated and committed ... [and] that our students in Cary District 26 have comparable learning opportunities that we’re able to provide,” McCall said.

The district wants students to take intellectual risks and expects students to demonstrate and accept responsibility for their learning, decisions and actions, among other commitments.

The district also should be a place that fosters emotional growth.

The document calls for teaching critical content in all areas to ensure mastery and providing students with learning experiences that will strengthen their individuality, initiative and creativity.

“It does take an effort of all participants, teachers, parents, community members to make these things happen and for our students to be successful,” teacher Annette Bear said. “We can and do achieve these commitments every day when parents and our community members get involved.”

The district has to have a welcoming and friendly atmosphere and be a place where people develop and sustain relationships characterized by tolerance, respect and acceptance.

Finances have to be aligned to the district’s vision and run on a balanced budget. All finances should be transparent as well, the document says.

A learning community has successful communication with constructive feedback, listening, encouragement and recognition of accomplishments.

Parents will be encouraged to be active and involved in student learning.

Goals are part of the mission and vision document.The district will strive to reinstate art, music and physical education and noncore subjects, increase achievement in reading and math each year, and reduce the achievement gap for those sub groups that are trailing.

Superintendent Brian Coleman said the district will need to embed the strategic plan into the culture of the district’s schools.

“It will be the job of the administration and the staff to put together initiatives and projects and action steps to get to those ... goals,” Coleman said.

To carry out the plan, there are commitments from various stakeholders.

The school board promises to demonstrate fiscal responsibility in district decisions and use data in the decision-making process, among other things.

The administration plans to hold high expectations for student achievement, facilitate development of curricular and extra-curricular programs that improve student academics, and establish opportunities for professional development.

Staff members promise to conduct themselves in a professional manner, engage in lifelong learning, and use a variety of balanced assessments to guide instructional design and to monitor students progress.

MaryAnn Louderback, PTO president at Cary Junior High, said this plan would not be put on a shelf and ignored.

“We need to hold everybody accountable, and we need to communicate perspective, ideas, issues, opportunities and solutions, back and forth,” Louderback said. “I think if we do this all together, we have built a foundation. We have the passion ... so it will help move this thing forward.”

To learn more

The district’s new mission statement is, “The District 26 community works together to provide a sound educational foundation that supports and inspires all students to reach their full academic potential.”

To read the full mission and vision document for District 26, visit www.cary26.org.

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