Click here for more information on the work of the Innovate 2.0 Committee and learn about Broadalbin-Perth’s original strategic plan, “Innovate.”
The third meeting of the Innovate 2.0 Committee, which took place on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, began with the screening of an inspirational video, “Be a Mr. Jensen.” At the conclusion of the video, Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson welcomed committee members and told them that he hopes all of our teachers are Mr. Jensens and develop the ability to recognize students’ innate abilities and talents and nurture their potential.
Tomlinson then reviewed the takeaways from the previous committee meeting, when committee members were asked to discuss in small groups the knowledge, skills, and attributes they want Broadalbin-Perth graduates to have. (See notes from the discussions.)
Next, Tomlinson revisited the district’s first strategic plan, “Innovate,” and he told committee members that the district failed to achieve the plan’s first goal, which was to “develop a MAP (My Academic Plan) for each individual student, taking into consideration aptitudes, abilities, learning styles, past achievement, and interests.” Tomlinson underscored the importance of this goal, saying that every child is unique and, if the district doesn’t support each child’s natural growth, it will have failed to support the child’s college and career aspirations. Tomlinson vowed to revisit this goal in the district’s next strategic plan.
In the next section of the presentation, Tomlinson talked about the district’s goal to create a roadmap from pre-K to graduation that includes specific milestones, activities, and important transitions that all Broadalbin-Perth students will go through along their educational journeys. As the committee helps the district develop this roadmap, Tomlinson said that it’s important to keep in mind the purpose of public education, which is to help children develop into productive members of society.
Tomlinson showed the committee members a graphic the district has used for many years with students to help them visualize the six career clusters. He also showed them data from the U.S. Department of Labor on the top 10 fastest-growing occupations through 2031. He told committee members it’s important for the district to look at this kind of data so that teachers and counselors can help guide students along their pathway to college and careers.
Tomlinson reviewed with committee members the state’s requirements for graduation from high school, along with Broadalbin-Perth’s local requirement that all students earn a half credit in personal finance. He then spoke about some key transitions the district has identified when students’ school experiences or district expectations of students change. Those transitions are:
- 4th to 5th grade
- 6th to 7th grade
- 8th to 9th grade
- 10th to 11th grade
Tomlinson told committee members he wanted them to think about and discuss the activities or experiences students should complete at each of those transitions, as well as in between the transitions. He then showed them some examples of visualizations of completed pathways, including transitions, that other schools have published, telling them that Broadalbin-Perth will create a similar graphic after the district has defined all of the milestone activities students are to complete.
Tomlinson clarified that he was asking the committee members to brainstorm and discuss ideas for developmentally appropriate events, expectations, or tasks, such as writing a letter to the student’s future self or conducting a job shadowing experience. He was not looking for academic milestones, such as reading at grade level or knowing multiplication facts – he said that while those are obviously important, the district already has those covered as part of the regular curriculum.
Director of Human Resources and Communications Michele Kelley then introduced the essential question for the evening’s mind mapping, which has been used in each Innovate 2.0 Committee meeting. The essential question for the March 22 meeting was: “What milestones activities or benchmarks should all B-P students complete or achieve on their pathway from pre-K to high school graduation?” Kelley told committee members they would discuss the questions in small groups and write their ideas down on the large pieces of paper covering their tables. She also reminded them that the district was looking for specific activities and benchmarks to come out of the evening’s brainstorming session.
Groups were pre-assigned, with group numbers printed on committee members’ nametags. Each committee member visited a total of three tables during the activity, participating in discussions for 15-20 minutes at each table. Each table had a pre-selected “anchor” who remained at the table, took notes on the discussion, and helped subsequent groups make sense of the mind maps left by prior groups.
Reporting Out and Next Steps
When the committee members returned to the auditorium after the activity, Tomlinson reviewed the next steps, including asking committee members to send any additional ideas or feedback about the activity to Kelley via email, and confirmed the final committee meeting will be held Tuesday, May 2.