Mid-year Update on FHUSD Accomplishments from the Governing Board
Dear Families and Community Members,
In an effort to increase our communication and transparency with our stakeholders, we would like to pass along excerpts from an email provided to our Fountain Hills Unified School District staff and faculty.
While we as a board were, and remain, united in our commitment and love for this district, we were aware of areas that needed improvement and advancement. As governing board members, we receive communication from community members, parents, staff, and faculty. Over the past two years, we have heard from our stakeholders about areas for improvement including: (1) Special education; (2) Discipline policies; (3) Academic rigor; and (4) Communications from the district and schools. In addition to those four concerns, as a governing board, we were also concerned with what was perceived as three schools rather than a unified district.
For too long we had progressed as a district in baby steps, instead of the big steps needed to be the best we could be. We as a board knew we could not produce students meant to be the future of our country by living in the past. Therefore, when hiring our superintendent for this school year, we knew we needed someone who had the skills in curriculum, special education, facilities, finance, leadership, and more who could leap us forward. Above all else, we needed a superintendent who along with district leadership could do all these things, while every day putting the best interests of each student first in providing an exceptional academic experience. This is our mission and what we mean when we say, "We Achieve and Celebrate Educational Excellence."
As a board, we tasked Superintendent Glass along with her leadership team to:
- Review all our special education documents
- Review current discipline protocols and determine where we had room for growth
- Improve academic rigor.
- Provide more frequent, transparent and unified communication
- Unify our district. Transitioning between schools should not be a hurdle for our families or our students.
- Be visible to teachers and staff. To walk through classrooms, to get a sense of what support teachers needed and what professional development would be beneficial.
Superintendent Glass and the district team have dug deep into literally every nook and cranny in our district from physical assets, to landscaping, policy and procedure documentation to district technology infrastructure and customer service training for district staff. All of this in addition to creating our COVID plan, acquiring the needed technology and PPE and implementing a new learning platform prior to school opening.
Since July 2020, Superintendent Glass and district leadership have:
- Reviewed all special education documents to examine compliance with state and federal standards, putting protocols in place to maintain compliance.
- Determined, from evidence-based information, that Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as a discipline strategy would be implemented across all schools to provide consistency for our students and a unified approach. Our district was also able to successfully apply and receive a state grant to fund this initiative.
- Reviewed our academic practices, scope and sequence, and our resources. Steps are in motion to better align curriculum with current state standards, provide teachers what they need to be successful, and refresh materials and resources for 21st century skills to be taught to our students so they can thrive in today’s society and workforce.
- Provided regular and clear communication to district staff and parents. Regrettably, not all of these communications have been well received. This is an item we will continue to work on as a district, including the Governing Board.
- Taken steps to begin to unify our district. One of those steps, as noted above, is the implementation of PBIS. Another relates to aligning the curriculum throughout the district, also noted above. Additionally, the district has started to facilitate communications between the guidance counselors and social workers between the school sites to ensure students' social and emotional support as they move through our district from one site to another.
- Been visible on every campus, visiting all teachers and classrooms to identify and solicit input regarding needed supplies, support, training, etc.
As a Governing Board, it is our job to set the direction for the district, support the Superintendent and her leadership team to achieve that mandate, and communicate the direction to all district stakeholders (students, parents, employees, community members). Living in a small and close-knit community such as Fountain Hills, we your district Governing Board, want to share these accomplishments meant to move our district by leaps and bounds.
Each individual school site has its own achievements to tout; as a small unified school district we need to truly unite our schools by achieving great things together. There is work ahead and more change to come for us to truly meet the mission and goals we have as a district. We have long talked the talk about being the best; we are now more than ever committed to walk the walk.
FHUSD Governing Board