Dr. Joseph’s entry plan is centered on five core priority areas. They will drive much of the work of the first 100 days beginning on July 1, 2016 and ending November 18, 2016 (weekends not included). Based upon conversations with the Board of Education, priorities will be added or deleted.
Specific action steps for each priority area can be found in the full entry plan, along with progress toward completion.
1. Governance Team: Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education
In order to ensure that the district has an intense focus on meeting the needs of all children, the Board of Education and Director of Schools must develop a trusting, positive, collaborative, team-oriented relationship. These relationships must be established with each Board Member and the Board of Education as a whole. During his plan of entry, Dr. Joseph will work with the Board of Education to discuss issues and matters of governance, management, core values and beliefs, structures of their working relationship, and consider issues of reform governance.
2. Organizational Capacity and Alignment: District Executives and Senior Staff
It is essential for MNPS to have a high-performing, results-oriented district executive team. To make sure that we operate as a highly-effective, positive team with a professional culture, we must, as author Jim Collins states: “Ensure that we have the right people on the bus and in the right seats.”
3. Student Achievement
Ensuring that all students not only graduate from MNPS, but also receive their diplomas truly college and workforce ready is the ultimate goal and responsibility of all employees. To ensure instruction is occurring at high levels, teachers must have a rigorous K-12 instructional curriculum, processes, and tools to monitor students’ progress, and opportunities and resources to provide appropriate interventions. Ensuring all decisions are made using the barometer of “Is it good for children, teaching, and learning?” will be emphasized in all discussions.
4. Community and Public Relations
The proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” reflects Dr. Joseph’s core beliefs about involvement and engagement of the community. During the time of initial entry, there will be a focus on engaging and mobilizing parents and community leaders in the pursuit of making MNPS a world-class school district. There will be a focus on establishing openness and transparency in all communication systems and protocols used by Dr. Joseph.
Understanding the culture, history, and expectations of MNPS will be critical. Dr. Joseph will be proactive and deliberate in reaching out to stakeholders traditionally underrepresented in public education to make certain their voices are also heard and valued. Key questions to consider for all stakeholders will include:
- What are the strengths of MNPS?
- What areas need to improve for MNPS?
- Where should be Dr. Joseph’s top priority as he starts working in MNPS?
- What should be the budget priorities of the district?
- How can we raise the bar of academic achievement for all students?
What will “world-class” mean as a standard for MNPS?
Dr. Joseph will have a presence in all MNPS schools. He will visit all schools within his first year as the Director of Schools. He will engage the principal, teachers, non-instructional staff, parent volunteers, and students in discussions about where we are as a district and where we need to be to meet the needs of all children.
Dr. Joseph, in collaboration with Board of Education members and senior staff, will host multiple “school community forums” to gather input from the community and share observations. These meetings will be scheduled in schools and within communities across the city. There will be a proactive effort to meet with stakeholders who have traditionally not attended such forums by collaborating with local community activist in the planning of locations and agendas.
Dr. Joseph will identify local venues such as religious meeting places, public housing complexes, libraries, malls and other community gathering places to establish “Ask Metro Schools” kiosk locations. Dr. Joseph will participate in student forums via the internet and in person with secondary students at the high school and middle school level.
Dr. Joseph will meet with leaders of local media outlets, editorial boards, and education reporters. These meetings will set expectations for collaboration that is open, honest, transparent, and accurate. Television, radio, and newspaper reporters will be invited to appropriate community sessions. These meetings will be important to engage the media in current education issues and system improvement efforts to begin positively branding MNPS programs.
Dr. Joseph will evaluate the MNPS external communications strategy to understand how the district is proactively and effectively communicating with all constituents through media, social media outlets, parent outreach and ongoing community engagement. Dr. Joseph will also evaluate the infrastructure that supports external communications, including the systems and processes that support collecting and maintaining parent contact information.
Dr. Joseph will also evaluate internal communication protocols to determine how systemic messages are understood by Board Members, principals, instructional staff, non-instructional staff, and central office staff.
5. Operation and Finance
In order to meet the needs of all students in MNPS , it is critical that operations and finance continue to be exemplary. Understanding the current strengths, strategies, and opportunities for improvement in light limited budgetary resources will be a critical focus for Dr. Joseph. Each division will be appraised to determine how they maximize support and services to schools using the continuous improvement model.