January 12: Strategic Leadership and Community Engagement

Hello, Black River Falls Community! This is Dr. Shelly Severson with the School District of Black River Falls here to share this week’s installment of our Spotlight on Schools!  Today we are going to talk about Strategic Leadership and Community Engagement. Perhaps you already know, but January is School Board month.  The role of being a board member is not very glamorous.  Unfortunately, there are budgets that need reducing in order to balance. Students sometimes make poor choices, and board members are put in a position to make decisions on an expulsion. Sometimes parents or community members are disappointed in the decisions or actions of the district and reach out to a board member with the hope of them “fixing” the problem.



To balance out the challenging work and difficult decisions that need to be made, the board members are also treated to some fantastic presentations from our talented students, the opportunity to hear about the exciting adventures of some of our classrooms, celebrations of success, and the congratulations and sharing of appreciation with so many of the individuals and organizations in our community that support the work that we do.  In the end, we try very hard to make sure the positives outweigh the negatives!  We are extremely lucky that the seven locally-elected officials for the School District of Black River Falls have accepted the challenge to serve our community in this way.  Our board president, Mary Jo Rozmenoski, frequently states that the board is not elected to run the district, but to ensure the district is run well.  

How does the board know when the district is being run well? They know by making sure that their actions and decision-making align with the four pillars of our strategic plan.  The pillars that we measure our success by are Student Success, Our People, Community Engagement, and Finance and Facilities.  If you read the Banner Journal and see the posting of the school board meeting agenda, you will notice that the meeting is organized around these pillars. The Board committees are also created around these pillars. These goals that we carefully measure and track our progress toward are the goals established back in 2015 when we went through the comprehensive strategic planning process.  Public education can sometimes be the “dumping ground” for every initiative that comes by.  The board is careful to weigh any new initiative against the goals of the pillars. If it isn’t in alignment with the collaboratively-created plan, then it isn’t something we should expend time, effort, and resources on.  We also need to make sure we are collecting data to mark our progress toward those goals. We really appreciate people taking the time to fill out surveys when they are shared.  We cannot meet the needs of our community if the community isn’t willing to share their thoughts and needs with us.

The board is extremely committed to the idea of encouraging input from families and the community as often as possible.  We exist to serve the community that supports the work that we do.  We appreciate it each and every time people share their feedback with us. Only through continuous feedback can we focus our improvement efforts!

As always, thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls!  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  Let’s show our Tiger Pride in all that we do!

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