Quarterly Update for 2018-2019

2018 - 2019 Key Initiatives Quarterly Update 



Progress/Next Steps

Strategic Plan Development for 2019 - 2023

Bookcase After a systematic and comprehensive process, the PRSD Strategic Plan for 2019 - 2023 is complete. Beginning with a series of gallery walks with 25 members of the organization and board last summer, we then had over 400 stakeholders participate in a series of town hall meetings and/or electronic surveys in the design process. Five categories serve as the framework for the plan (see image). Within each category, there are a set of four-year long-term goals. Each long-term goal is then achieved through an intentional sequence of one-year action items. The scope of the plan was specifically evaluated to ensure depth and quality of implementation. In addition, potential measures and/or expected results were identified for each long-term goal. These measures will eventually become part of a comprehensive scorecard. Lastly, we were able to also complete the required elements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Comprehensive Plan. The PRSD Strategic Plan and PDE Comprehensive plan will be posted for public review and comment for 28 days beginning on April 9, 2019.

Teaching and Learning: Continue In-Depth Program Reviews (Gifted Education / Social Studies)

Program Review Process Our in-depth program review process for gifted education and social studies was initiated in the fall of 2018-2019, with the expanded teams convening monthly. The in-depth program review process was modified to reflect the differences of the gifted programming in comparison to our other content-specific departments. Committees have been studying the MTSS tiered supports and research regarding the characteristics and needs of gifted learners. Both social studies and gifted education, exemplary school districts and business/university connections were identified and interviewed. Town hall meetings and student voice sessions also occurred in February and March, where input was gathered from stakeholders as a part of the learning cycle. The committee created a draft of the emerging themes and recommendations during the March committee meetings and will continue to refine these as the final report and presentation are prepared for the April 29th special board and community session.  

Teaching and Learning: Implement In-Depth Program Recommendations (Science / Health / PE / Math / Business & Computer Science)

Beginning in the summer of 2017 building administrators, senior leadership team members, academic leadership council members, and teachers have been working on implementing the recommendations from the in-depth program reviews in science (2016 - 2017), health/physical education (2016 - 2017), mathematics (2017 - 2018), and business/computer science (2017 - 2018). Each department is monitoring the implementation process through shared action plans.  

The science department is in year two of implementation. Each of the 13 recommendations is either completed or in progress. The “ripple effect” from the recommendation to provide science credit to all science courses has been positive.  For example, the current anatomy course requests have increased resulting in the need for an honors anatomy course that will begin to be offered during the 2019 - 2020 school year. AP environmental science will be offered for the first time in 2019 - 2020. A core group of teachers was provided training on Next General Science Standards (NGSS) and how to appropriately integrate the key concepts of NGSS into our K-12 science courses. The seventh-grade science teachers, after refining their curriculum, are working collaboratively to develop learning activities that integrate all of the dimension of NGSS through a variety of resources (high-tech/low-tech).  Their process will be used and refined to guide the K-8 science teachers throughout the second semester, beginning with vendor presentations on April 10th.

In health and physical education, all of the 11 recommendations are completed or in progress.  The K-7 health and physical education teachers developed and deployed a health-standards gap analysis to identify the key learning experiences that will be integrated into K-7 health/physical education courses. The results of the gap analysis were used to finalize the K-7 health/PE curriculum.  Through the evaluation of resources process, a committee of health/PE teachers and administrators have identified a 6-12 program that will be recommended for adoption for the 2019-2020 school year. Resources to support the K-7 health program will be integrated into school-wide themes such as healthy heart, drug/alcohol awareness, lifetime fitness.

The mathematics and business/computer science program reviews were completed in April of 2018. To date, 10 of the 15 mathematics recommendations are in progress. Consistent K-5 math resource implementation has been an area of focus, supported by professional development and work at the grade and course level. A committee of K-5 teachers will be convening to study and recommend resources for basic math fact implementation in May.  Middle and high school teachers began to work at identifying the sequence of course options for those students not ready for Algebra I by eighth grade. The high school concept of mathematics course has been revised and components of the revision will be implemented during the 2019-2020 school year. New resources will be available for students in AP statistics to align with changes to the College Board Exam and CHS business calculus.  

In business/computer science, 14 of the 16 recommendations are completed or in progress.   Identifying and developing grade-level competencies was the key area of focus over the first quarter of the school year. The department has identified the competencies and gaps that currently exist. Using state and national standards, grade level competencies are identified.  Teachers are now working to integrate those competencies into their written curricula. Work has begun on the development of the app design course and the Honors Finance course. The Education Corporation Partnership grant through the AIU to further integrate STEAM learning opportunities for all students presentation was shared in February at the AIU.  The district was recognized for its collaborative work with our partner Eaton Corporation and our integration with vertical curriculum and strategic planning. The sustainability-themed learning activities will begin next school year.

Teaching and Learning: Common Assessments, Collaborative Discussion, and Model for Teaching and Learning Refinement

The work started in 2017-2018 to develop common assessments has continued by various degrees. The goal is to have one common assessment built for each major unit of study at the right depth of knowledge. Ensuring completion of this work at a high level will continue throughout this year. Building administrators are including measures for this initiative into their department and grade level meetings to assess progress. Measures include a verified link to common assessments embedded into all curricular frameworks, an evaluation of the quality of the assessments across various depths of knowledge, and a description of how teams of teachers are using the data to modify instruction and/or revise curriculum. The most beneficial aspect of utilizing common assessments is the collaborative, professional dialogue that occurs thereafter. Models of how this is being effectively accomplished will be highlighted and shared with the staff members to replicate best practices. For example, teachers are analyzing students’ mastery of particular learning goals across classes and detailing their instructional strategies leading to success with others teaching the same course.

Student Services and Programs: School-wide Positive Behavior, Intervention and Support (Design Phase)

Rams Way The PR Department of Student Services and Special Education has completed its kickoff and two training days for development of The RAMS Way. Each school building based core team has accomplished several core components of the development process. First, they have completed developmentally appropriate behavioral matrices that align with The RAMS Way acronym. Second, they have developed lesson plans for teaching the expected behaviors outlined in the matrices. Lastly, systems for acknowledging expected behaviors have been outlined at each level. Our last core team training will be held in April. The task at that session will be to develop systems for gathering, maintaining, and examining data to measure the effectiveness of The RAMS Way system. In the meantime, building level team meetings will be held to check on progress and provide clarification. Roll out is scheduled for June and August.                                                                                            

Finance and Operations: School Safety and Security

A series of safety and security initiatives have been implemented during the past year. For example, a variety of technology-related improvements have been made that include final installation of video cameras at all six schools and the stadium. We added a software service that will assist in emergency communications in our schools. The Raptor visitor management system was deployed, creating a photo ID for all visitors, to assist in the tracking of visitors to the buildings and increase communications in our schools.

We are fortunate to sustain a strong partnership with the Northern Regional Police Department. Officers conduct building walkthroughs on a daily basis at all six of our schools, and police vehicles are often present during arrival and/or dismissal at our schools. Beginning in the fall of 2018, the presence of officers within the schools increased as they take the opportunity to complete some of their paperwork in office spaces within our schools.

We have restricted public access to district facilities during school hours. We hired a second safety and security coordinator to increase security presence in the afternoon and evening. A third party security agency also provides additional presence in some schools after the regular school hours. Our safety & security coordinators have been working with outside groups at the K-6 level to improve building access procedures. In addition, the visitor entrances and vestibules at both Hance and Wexford were updated as a security precaution. A state safety and security grant in the amount of $25,000 was awarded to the district to assist with the purchase of additional technology resources, safety equipment, and classroom door access controls.

Finance and Operations: Managed Print/Copy Services

At PRSD, copier and print management services are outsourced to a third party vendor. This contract includes staffing of the district's centralized copy center, providing services and ink/toner to district-wide laser printers and multifunctional devices, and facilitates the delivery of large print jobs and the district's interoffice mail system. The previous agreement with Ricoh expired in December 2018. Ricoh and other competitors were reviewed through a Request for Information process which started in July 2017. ComDoc was selected and approved as the new copier and print management services vendor.


The transition to 80 new Xerox multifunction (copier) devices occurred in mid-December and included a detailed inventory of the additional 90 district-owned printers. The District copy center transition occurred over the holiday break, with minimal interruption.  The technology department has been monitoring print statistics to ensure that the primary objectives of the new contract are met. These objectives include: (1) maintain the high level of satisfaction with print/document related services; (2) reduce use including unnecessary printer/document related waste; and (3) reduce the total annual cost of overall print services. In April 2019, the first quarterly review meeting was held with ComDoc to review the stated objectives and discuss measures to determine areas of effectiveness and/or opportunities.

Finance and Operations: Student Information and Financial Software System Evaluation

The Student Information System (SIS) and Financial Software System (FIS) form a backbone for day-to-day operations within the district. These systems support key processes, such as centralized registration, student attendance, grades, medical records, discipline records, meal plans, teacher assignments, and financial record keeping, teacher employment data, payroll and employee benefits and accounts payable. The current platform is eSchool and eFinance provided and hosted by PowerSchool (formerly Sungard).

In an evaluation of day-to-day operations and given experiences in refining or adjusting software to meet district needs, the decision was made to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of potential software systems. This is critical to future success. The current system was implemented in 2004 for finance and 2011 for SIS. This field has continued to evolve in recent years providing the strategic opportunity to evaluate the best product for the needs at PRSD. There may be significant opportunities to improve integration, flexibility, and agility.

Evaluation committees have held two separate rounds of evaluation (SIS and FIS separately) using feedback from a large group of staff members and stakeholders.  These presentations provided a deeper dive into the potential of adopting a different system. The collection of service offerings, costs, and the vetting/customer reference checking has begun.  The goal is to have a recommendation for review at the June 2019 board meeting, with a “Go Live” date (if a change is ultimately recommended) of July 1, 2020.