School district stakeholders influence educational growth

Community members, parents and Winters JUSD staff share things they value in the educational community. Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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In collaboration with parents, community members and staff at the annual Vision Revisited Workshop on Thursday, Oct. 24, Winters Joint Unified School District Superintendent Todd Cutler engaged the school district’s major stakeholders in open discussion and in activities with the goal of gathering feedback to bring back to the school board to make important decisions regarding future district decisions. Attendees were asked to share their honest opinions on what they appreciate the district does and what they wish the district would do. There was much appreciation shared for the hands-on STEAM and music opportunities, newly upped efforts in communication and accessibility to school administrators. There was also a deep appreciation shared for lifelong friendships that were made as students when they were Winters students, and with staff now as adults. There was a desire for the district to explore:

  • More non-traditional learning opportunities for students who don’t fit the mold of the traditional classroom.
  • Guidance for students and families on what it looks like to transition from site to site to help prepare students.
  • More mental health support resources for students at each site and social emotional learning training for staff.
  • Additional foreign language learning opportunities and more after school enrichment programs.
  • More training and professional development and collaboration opportunities for staff and paraprofessionals.
Attendees discussed what skills and abilities they would like to see high school students graduate with. Cutler collected the top choices from each group and plans to use them to create a Winters district graduate profile. Some of the top skills and abilities included for graduates to: be world/work ready, be kind and empathetic, have strong communication skills, have developed problem solving and critical thinking skills and have knowledge of academic/cultural literacy. Cutler noted effective communication, having a safety net and a willingness to fail are important life skills. “People get scared to fail. When something doesn’t go right, sometimes, it’s hard and sometimes they aren’t willing to take on the challenge. That willingness to fail, and learn, and grow is an amazing and important piece,” said Cutler. Before the workshop concluded, Cutler asked attendees to consider their role in the educational community and write down two things they value in it. Once written down they combined all of the values on the wall and voted on the three they found most important. The choices that gained the most votes included relationships, respect and integrity, safe and nourishing environments, the well being of all and learning. Cutler reflected on how the district came together to have a conversation of what their values were when faced with whether or not to have school during the scheduled Public Power Safety Shut-off earlier this month. He said the values they decided they needed to be able to fulfill for students included: Creating a safe place for students to be while the power is out, bringing kids to school to make sure they could have a hot meal and providing students with an opportunity to learn and spend time with their teachers in the classroom. “On that day–it worked,” said Cutler. “We had a generator to heat food. We delivered hot food on the day that we had no power. That day came with criticism, but I can stand with the decisions.” The district’s next step following the workshop is to bring all the information shared to the table and reflect on what it is they do and how they will do it. Once compiled the information discussed at the workshop will be posted on the Winters JUSD website on the “Vision and Mission” page along with feedback from previous Vision Revisited Workshops. A survey will also be sent out in December as the district continues to dive into the next steps.]]>

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