I love the first day of school! Our schools are filled with an atmosphere of renewal evidenced by student and staff smiles, haircuts, new clothes, new school supplies, and an energy of excitement in the air. Expectations are high by all members of our learning team for the establishment of a strong foundation to be built from which a great school year will develop!
A new school year also centers on the establishment of goals. At the district level our Piqua City School District Board of Education updated our district strategic plan in July with the establishment of goals in five areas including students, staff, school/community relations, finance, and facilities. From this document our district Collaborative Leadership team met and developed draft belief statements and building goals which will be further incorporated at the classroom level through teacher goals.
The goal setting process we use helps to establish what we want to achieve throughout the year with our students by our learning team. We use the S.M.A.R.T. goal model in this process. S.M.A.R.T. refers to making sure our goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely to provide an action plan for results for our teachers and students.
I encourage all parents to engage their children in a similar process to develop individual student goals for the school year. Having goals will help the learning team triangle of student-parent-teacher give purpose and focus to your child’s learning, participation, and success in school. Once developed at home, have your child share their goals with their teacher. These goals could also provide a great starting point of discussion for the first parent-teacher conference.
This week our Kindergartners entered the doors of Nicklin Learning Center to experience their first year of K-12 education. Goals for our kindergarten students should be focused on evolving readiness skills into reading, writing, language, and math skills. They should also focus on the development of their social and emotional skills to foster independence and positive relationships.
Primary student goals should center on reading, writing, math and personal learning. This sounds very simple yet if we help our children focus on increasing their skills in these three areas their life path will develop successfully.
As parents and educators we need to help foster self-monitoring in our children so they are aware of what they are achieving in their learning. This can really be influenced at the intermediate level by encouraging the monitoring of goals with charts, graphs, timelines, and checkpoints. By doing this they can develop the skill of keeping themselves on track.
Intermediate and junior high students both should be answering several questions when developing goals for themselves. What are my interests? What are my skills, strengths, and talents? What is important to me? What are my needs? What are my career options? What activities at school and beyond can I engage which highlight my skills, strengths, talents, needs, and career dreams? Once these questions are answered goals can be established focused on the academic foundation needed.
High school students should focus their goals on building a strong foundation to be the best person they can be. Their goals should also include being an active part of their high school by planning to participate in the many opportunities and experiences during the school day and in after-school extra-curricular activities. Goals from former years should also be enhanced including: being an active member of every class, completing all work with quality, and planning for the future.
This week our seniors entered the doors of Piqua High School to experience their last year of K-12 education. According to PHS Senior Guidance Counselor Lyndsay Muhlenkamp: “A senior’s goals for the school year should focus on having a successful year to graduate, making a decision for post-graduation (career, workforce, military, or college), and finishing with a strong foundation as a lifetime learner and citizenship no matter what venue in life they take.”
Kicking off a new school year is a great opportunity for all members of our learning team to set high expectations and goals including an action plan to succeed. Goal setting is essential and we all need to seize the moment and plan for success! Welcome back!
Rick Hanes is the superintendent of the Piqua City School District. Rick continues to ensure that the Piqua City Schools show residents the “Great Schools, Great Value” that they are each day. You can follow him directly on Twitter @raheducator.