Washougal school leaders establish 6-year plan

Staff members will be held accountable for meeting new ‘pillars’ of success

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category icon Schools, Washougal
Washougal School District’s director of technology, Les Brown, talks about the district’s new strategic plan during the Washougal school board meeting on June 11.

Washougal School District leaders will adhere to a new set of “pillars” under the district’s recently approved six-year strategic plan.
The plan, approved by the Washougal school board on June 11, and meant to guide the district from 2019 to 2025, begins with a vision statement: “Washougal knows, nurtures and challenges all students to rise.”
To achieve that lofty goal, district leaders have set “pillars” to work toward over the next six years: effective instruction, career and college readiness, equity, educational engagement, partnerships to support students and stewardship of resources.
The school district’s staff members will be held accountable for achieving those pillars, and will rely on a series of internal and external metrics to measure progress.
“Accountability is a critical piece to make sure that people are actually paying attention to the metrics and taking them seriously,” said the school district’s director of technology, Les Brown. Brown was the lead developer of the strategic plan.
“If we’re doing all of this work to ask big questions about where we want to be, then put the plan on the shelf and not look at it until 2025,” he said, “that’s the wrong way to go about it. We want it to be a living (document) that will help us to continue to refine our work.”
“It’s a lot,” said Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton, “but if you have a plan, if you have a team that’s highly skilled (and on) the same page and looking at the same data points and has the same vision statement, it will be much easier to collect the data and talk about the data and make sure the data is informing the next steps.”
District leaders will rely on the annual Board Ends Report, a compilation of data collected by the district executive team under the guidance of Assistant Superintendent Renae Burson.
The report, categorized by “learning milestones” from every school year from 2016-17 to 2020-21, is posted on the district’s website.
“The metrics on the ends report are good because they tie in to (the strategic plan) areas nicely,” Brown said. “We’ll use the metrics to judge if we’re making progress, and some things will be added to it. The ends report has 70, 80 percent of all of the metrics (for the strategic plan). Now that we’re in the habit of producing that document every year … we don’t have to completely start over.”
A few of the areas district leaders will use to assess progress as it relates to the six-year strategic plan include: exams and assessments, the number of marginalized students participating in sports and extracurricular activities, academic performance and post-graduation preparedness, attendance rates, graduation rates, Healthy Youth Survey results and the district’s credit rating and levy passage rates.
In 2022, the district will reassess the plan’s effectiveness and make necessary changes, Brown said.
The strategic plan includes input from Washougal School District community and staff members, parents and students, who met in person and online to generate and share ideas, which were eventually distilled by a steering committee into the final document.
“The purpose of this plan is to make sure that, as we think about the future of Washougal rising to (become) one of the top performers in the state of Washington, that all our systems are aligned and all of our resources and allocations and energy is purposefully moving us toward that trajectory,” Templeton said.