A subcommittee of the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board reviewed words collected through visioning discussions and surveys to make a mission statement for the district.
The visioning committee, comprised of school board and community members, met on Tuesday, July 23, to review the most used words from the committee’s previous three-word survey. The group sent out the initial three-word survey months ago and received over 700 responses from community members. The three words in the survey had to describe an individual’s personal school experience, and what the person would like to see in the current and future students in the district.
Committee members are meeting for two sessions this week to review the words and form a statement that they will bring before the entire HUUSD Board.
The committee is in the process of configuring a vision that provides framework for decision making by looking at themes that came from community input. In the exercise on July 23, the group started defining and discussing the words that came up most in the surveys, starting with welcoming and moving on to innovative, rigorous, student centered, inclusive, cost effective, collaborate and nature-based.
Welcoming was defined as having all students feel supported educationally and emotionally and the staff feels supported to encourage positive education and learning, where teachers, students and administrators know everyone’s name, where students and staff feel comfortable expressing their needs, both on an educational standpoint and emotionally.
Innovative was defined as a space where the community feels welcome into the facility on an educational basis, students are aware of the world beyond Vermont, the United States and have the ability to travel. The district takes advantage of new technology and of unique opportunities, looking at what is in the world -- and bringing it back home.
Rigorous was defined as students feeling challenged in school and comfortable being challenged past their ability and encouraged to try. Students should also be encouraged to advocate for themselves if they feel the curriculum is too challenging, or they aren’t being challenged enough.
Under student-centered, the committee discussed encouraging students’ different learning profiles/preferences to reach a goal. Group members wanted to use the words profiles and preferences instead of learning style. Around student-centered, members also added that there should be student-led education.
Regarding inclusive, committee members added that to make everyone feel inclusive, all voice should be heard and that the school should be culturally responsive around LGBQT concerns.
The committee discussed cost effectiveness as the district struggles to afford itself. The committee defined this as looking at taxes, being more affordable and not wasting resources/be more efficient
In discussing collaborative, the committee wants more community members at the table and feels listening to community voice and values is important. Visioning members said it was important for the community to be aware of board decisions and be involved in the process.
In terms of nature-based, when the visioning group facilitated community discussion last year, community members mentioned having outdoor classrooms or open, bright spaces for students that had a welcoming environment.
The committee will meet again tonight at the Waitsfield town office from 7 to 9 p.m.