Dr. Shawn Joseph plans to chart a new course for Metro Schools

Official entry plan details actions for his first 100 days working in the district

Today Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph released the official entry plan for his leadership transition into Metro Schools. The plan covers all areas of priority and activities for his first 100 days on the job, excluding weekends.

The entry plan is designed to launch a long-term, sustainable strategic planning process that will drive the district forward. It will take Dr. Joseph to all corners of Nashville and into every Metro School in order to give him a comprehensive view and understanding of the district, the city and all major stakeholders. Simultaneously, it will help him build the relationships needed to address immediate, short-term needs and design and execute long-term strategies. All of this will happen on an accelerated timeline and while normal operation of the district continues, so no time is wasted standing still.

See the complete 100 Day Entry Plan.

“This plan is ambitious because it has to be,” said Dr. Joseph. “The children of Nashville deserve excellence now. They don’t have any time to waste. I intend to hit the ground running and expect my leadership team to join me in running fast so that we can give our students the education they deserve and help them maximize their potential. I promise to be relentless in pursuing excellence for all children, and in this plan I ask Nashville to do the same.”

Dr. Joseph wrote the plan to achieve five broad goals for his transition:

  1. Ensure an effective, efficient and orderly transition of leadership with a focus on increased achievement for all children;
  2. develop a trusting, productive and collaborative relationship with the Board of Education;
  3. create opportunities for deep engagement and listening with all stakeholders;
  4. proactively seek inclusion of all voices, not just those traditionally in the conversation; and
  5. build excitement, momentum and sustained engagement in the district’s vision and work.

To achieve these goals, the plan is structured with specific action items to address several priority areas:

  • Governance
    Activities that will help build positive, team-oriented relationships with individual Board members and with the Board as a whole.
  • Organizational Capacity
    Examining the alignment and culture of the district office to ensure a high-performing, results-oriented executive team is in place to support the work of schools.
  • Student Achievement
    Evaluating instructional supports for teachers and school staff, including curriculum, professional development, and tools to monitor students’ progress.
  • Community and Public Relations
    Building and sustaining two-way dialogues with all key stakeholders, especially with those who are traditionally underrepresented in public education. Assessing the district’s communication systems and processes to ensure openness and transparency.
  • Operation and Finance
    Appraising each district division to determine how they maximize support and service to schools.

Work on this plan has already begun. The action items for each priority area include activities that have been underway during Dr. Joseph’s “pre-entry” period, as well as tasks he will undertake after he officially begins work in the district on July 5.

“This plan is indicative of the methodical and deliberate approach Dr. Joseph has taken throughout his career and what was well demonstrated in his interactions during the interview process,” said Board of Education Chair Dr. Sharon Gentry.  “It’s a comprehensive plan that shows near term goals that will have an immediate impact on the culture of the district.  Dr. Joseph is moving with a sense of urgency and brings the change the district needs to support the bold action that will be necessary for progress, and I’m beyond excited to be a part of it.”

Aiding in execution of this plan will be a transition team made up of local and national experts, parents and district staff. They will come together into four subcommittees to study and give recommendations that will form the basis for the district’s new strategic plan. The transition team members are expected to be named later this month.

The transition team work and Dr. Joseph’s long-term plans for the district will also be informed by broad community input. Last week, Dr. Joseph and the Board of Education announced a series of 11 community meetings, called “Listen & Learn” sessions. The first one is scheduled for Dr. Joseph’s first day on the job. All of them will take place prior to the start of school on Aug. 3.

“I want to build a collective vision for the future of Metro Schools, hand-in-hand with the Board, parents, staff and community leaders,” said Dr. Joseph. “Effective, sustainable change can’t come from the top down. It has to be built from the bottom up, and I look forward to starting that work on day one.”

The end goal of the entire entry plan is to build a launching pad for the next era in Metro Schools. A full report of all findings, observations and key lessons from community engagement will be paired with an outline for a new strategic planning process that will review the current strategic plan, Education 2018. With the community energized behind the work, Nashville will chart a new course forward for its students.


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