Focus: Cultivate Trust & Mutual Respect

Two of our cultural beliefs where it will take the most time to see considerable growth are “Cultivate Trust” and “Mutual Respect”. Respect and Trust are earned over time, and we fully expect it to take time to demonstrate growth in these areas. This is top of mind for us and for our board as we guide the direction and decisions of our district. A few of the ways that we are working hard to cultivate trust and demonstrate mutual respect:

Messages from Superintendent Maxwell: 

February 14, 2020

  • Juston, Shannon, Roberta, and I met with our four PHS Student Ambassadors on Tuesday afternoon. We continue to discuss topics of importance to PHS students, including sustainability, increased communication, and bullying. This is a great example of cultivating trust through positive, collaborative conversations! The student input is so valuable and they have some great ideas on how to improve the educational experiences for all students at PHS.
  • The Kamiak Kestrel Council, led by their adviser Emily Poston, did a fantastic presentation to the school board on Wednesday. They shared a lot of cool things happening at Kamiak to promote a positive, kind culture! One of the students shared about the Kamiak High Five cards for students – when students get special high five cards for exhibiting Kamiak school expectations they get to make a call home to tell a family member about their special recognition! I encourage you to watch their report to the board, they did an incredible job! Thank you to Emily Poston and Evan Hecker for bringing this great group to the board meeting to show off the wonderful culture at Kamiak! 

February 7, 2020

  • Emily Poston and the Kamiak Kestrel Council are organizing a “Kindness Week” next week – looking forward to seeing a week of positive, fun events! Kindness matters!
  • Our district sustainability committee met on Tuesday afternoon. This is a great group of individuals that share a common interest in making our schools and our environment a better place for current and future students. You may remember that 2nd graders from Franklin visited the board a couple of months ago requesting more trees at Franklin. These students used their voices for good, and we are committed to doing what we can to show them the power of their voices – the sustainability committee is in the process of determining how we can get more trees planted at Franklin, and at other schools in the future! The team also started the process of developing a list of projects to tackle, based on the energy audit report we received in December. We will spend time at our next meeting prioritizing projects based on multiple criteria, including cost and energy savings realized.

January 31, 2020

  • This morning a few of us at the district office met together to review the anonymous survey feedback that staff provided after the January 17 professional development day. That survey feedback is so valuable for us, we use it to find out what our teachers need in terms of professional development. We are already in the process of planning the next couple of professional development days. If you are interested in sharing your expertise at a future professional development day, please let Grace Grow know!

January 17, 2020

  • Last Friday we had another fabulous LID day – these LID days take considerable effort and are based on survey feedback from YOU! Thank you to all who contributed and helped to make the day a great success. Please participate in the post-LID day survey sent out by Grace, it helps us provide PD that is valuable to you!
  • We had another great collaborative meeting with PEA representation on Tuesday – these meetings are always impactful to me because it’s a powerful example of our cultural beliefs in action! I appreciate the conversations we have at these meetings, and the problem-solving attitude we embrace.
  • Sunnyside Elementary is decorated with a variety of art work with messages of hope, kindness and respect. Another great example of our cultural beliefs with student involvement. 

January 10, 2020

  • Our Wellness Committee met on Wednesday afternoon. The team discussed scratch cooking updates, the School Pantry program, and a district green cleaning initiative. Wellness Committee meetings are always open to anyone (not just district staff), I encourage you to attend if you are interested! Next meeting is on April 22nd, 3:30pm in the PHS Community Room.
  • Please continue to share High Five Recognition Cards, Focused Stories and Focused Feedback.  This is a great time to continue supporting our Cultural Beliefs.

December 20, 2019

  • I met with PEA leadership on Tuesday for our monthly meeting to talk about areas of mutual interest. These meetings are so helpful in proactively addressing questions and potential concerns. It is also a time to share what is working well  – thank you to Luke Conley and Stephanie Horn for your positivity and willingness to bring ideas to the table and work together to make this district a place of continuous improvement!

December 13, 2019

  • Shannon and I met with our PHS Student Ambassadors on Tuesday afternoon – I enjoy this opportunity to have conversations with our high school students! We spent some time this week continuing a conversation about increasing sustainability efforts at PHS, and talking about ways to communicate well with our high school students.
  • I am currently re-reading Chapter Six – Aligning a Culture For Rapid Response from the book, Change the Culture, Change the Game. The chapter focuses on getting aligned and maintaining the alignment of the culture. Below are some important points.
    • Alignment is a process, not an event.
    • Focus on implementing the culture tools of Focused Feedback, Focused Story Telling and Focused Recognition
    • Alignment requires clear and focused effort
    • Alignment is one of the most important accelerators of the change process

December 6, 2019

  • On Tuesday afternoon, the Sustainability Committee met and we had great, inspiring discussions about potential district goals, and we reviewed a draft of a Green Ribbon School application that our district is working on. Later this month this team will review the results of an extensive energy audit conducted in November by McKinstry.
  • Lots of great collaborative work happened on Wednesday afternoon! I enjoyed observing our special education teachers spending time having productive conversations around student programming, progress monitoring, and data collection.

November 22, 2019

  • I met with PEA leadership on Tuesday for our monthly meeting to talk about areas of mutual interest. These meetings are so helpful in proactively addressing questions and potential concerns. It is also a time to share what is working well  – thank you to Luke Conley and Stephanie Horn for your willingness to engage in these conversations each month! Keep your eyes on your inbox for the notes, coming soon!

November 1, 2019

  • We are at the end of conference week and I've heard great feedback about our move to 2.5 days of school and 2.5 days of conferences (for K-8). In the past we’ve had a week of half days. Based on discussions with teachers last year, we made this change so that our students and staff can have more productivity during conference week. This has been a positive change for us! It’s an excellent example of how our district continues to listen to feedback and work collaboratively to cultivate trust and mutual respect! It is also a great example of shared decisions!

October 11, 2019

  • Our district Wellness committee met on Wednesday – this is a great group made up of staff members are invested community members. They offer excellent insight and recommendations to benefit the well-being of our students!

October 4, 2019

  • We value the feedback of our stakeholders and want to discuss topics that are important to them, not just to me. This year, we will be hosting 2 or 3 evening sessions where community members can learn more about our schools such as hot topics, initiatives and upcoming plans. We asked  all families and the community for their suggestions for presentation topics. We’re making significant efforts to cultivate trust in our community! You’re more than welcome to attend the event, which we are calling “An Update on our Schools with Superintendent Maxwell”. The first one will be on October 21st, from 5:30-6:30pm at PHS.

September 27, 2019

  • We’re moving forward with planning a new transportation maintenance cooperative to serve our district and neighboring districts. With a state grant covering approximately 90% of the cost of this facility, this is an excellent example of our district respecting our tax payers by seeking creative ways to fund much needed projects! #MutualRespect
  • Architects from Design West held a forum on Tuesday evening to gather additional feedback from our community about the proposed LMS renovation and expansion. The voice of our community is important to us! #CultivateTrust
  • I would like to recognize Anne McKeirnan for demonstrating the cultural beliefs of Take Action and Student First.  While filling in for Stephanie Bray this week Anne did a great job handling a situation by putting the students first and taking action by addressing the concerns, seeking solutions and asking for feedback.  She did a great job.

September 20, 2019

  • As we prepare for the upcoming 2020 Bond and Levy election, I will begin the Bond & Levy Presentation Tour. The Capital Projects Committee invested their time and energy on developing a bond proposal that reflects the needs of our community and we are grateful. We are confident the proposal respects the wishes of our families and community members and value the importance they place on education. 

September 13, 2019

  • Several schools hosted curriculum nights this week. What an incredible opportunity to educate families regarding our curriculum, share our mission and curriculum with them, and invite them to join us in supporting their child! It takes a village!#MutualRespect

September 6, 2019

  • I am thrilled to spend time with members of our team as I shadow jobs this year! I hope that by learning more about you each of you as individuals and as valuable contributors of our district team, I can continue to cultivate trust and demonstrate mutual respect. There has been a lot of interest in having me join you in your work – which is great! Please continue to submit your interest on the survey sent out. We will start scheduling October and beyond dates since my September calendar is full!

August 30, 2019

  • Our new “PHS Ambassadors” program is an effort to increase our engagement with PHS students and hear their valuable feedback! #MutualRespect
  • I’ve seen so many staff lending a hand to our new colleagues! What an incredible thing to witness, and what an incredible place to work! #MutualRespect
  • Over the summer we facilitated a team of staff and community members (the Capital Projects Advisory Committee) through the process of determining the scope and dollar amount of a bond to fund the renovation and expansion of LMS. This was a collaborative effort, culminating in the team developing an independent recommendation to take to the board. It was a powerful way to #CultivateTrust as we move forward with meeting the facility needs at LMS and HVAC upgrades at three of our elementary schools.

June 14, 2019

  • Our Capital Projects Advisory Committee had their first meeting on Monday. We look forward to working as a team to make a recommendation to the board about the future expansion/remodel of LMS!
  • Sustainability committee – will be a new committee for the upcoming year. The current draft purpose of the committee is to make recommendations to the leadership of PSD to promote environmental sustainability, efficient use of resources and ensuring the teaching of environmental sustainability standards. 
  • Grade level/content team leader meetings – will continue for the upcoming school year.  Another year will allow the group to continue their great work.

June 7, 2019

  • Our Schedule Committee, made up of a team of staff representing each elementary school, worked together for several months to develop a specialist schedule plan to best serve our students!
  • Our great PEA leadership worked with Roberta and me to develop a hiring process for Kamiak Elementary. This collaboration was evident in how smoothly the process of staffing an entire school went!
  • The board reviewed each and every piece of feedback received related to our District Priorities Plan, from the listening sessions with Mick Miller, the ThoughtExchange process, and a focus group we hosted. They spent time making sure common themes are reflected on the most recent draft and that ideas related to format, structure, etc. are incorporated as possible. The board will continue to refine the plan in the coming weeks, and it will likely be a board discussion item over the summer.
  • Principals and administrators met this week to review survey feedback related to 5th grade camp. The feedback we received last year helped to make this year better than ever, and we are excited to continue this trend, incorporating feedback we receive to make the experience incredible for our fifth graders! #Focused Feedback
  • Instructional Technology sent a survey to gather information regarding Office 365 to help guide future decisions regarding this product. I appreciated seeing the survey results as well. Great job! #Focused Feedback

May 31, 2019

  • Our district Wellness Committee met for lunch at PHS on Thursday so that they could see, firsthand, the strides we’ve made in our school nutrition program.
  • A Parent resource partnership meeting was held on Wednesday evening – a great opportunity for us to hear the input and values of our families, specifically those with students with special needs. This provided time for a thoughtful discussion followed by an activity to focus on priorities for future meetings.
  • On Tuesday evening Shannon and I met with a group of PTA/PTO/Booster representatives to listen to their feedback regarding the development and direction of our district’s Strategic/Priority Plan. The comments and questions provided valuable perspectives and insight to consider.