Michael R. Cornell

Mr. Michael R. Cornell
Superintendent of Schools
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District Strategic Plan is roadmap
that drives learning opportunities

I have used this space recently to write about our instructional model that promotes deep and modern learning, the many contributions of our Board of Education, the productive partnerships we have forged throughout the community, and our long-term facilities planning. Each of these elements, on their own, significantly impacts the learning experiences enjoyed by our students each day. However, while each of them, individually, has great impact on our students, none of them operates independently of the others. We are very proud of our robust and thoughtful long-term strategic planning process that helps us align our initiatives with one another and then assures that all of them together support the Hamburg Central School District’s vision, mission and core values.

Our District Strategic Plan is revised each year in collaboration with our Strategic Planning Committee. This team comprises nearly 60 stakeholders from every school and job description, and includes parents and business leaders. We meet twice each year for a full day and our meetings are facilitated by myself and our senior leadership team. The plan, itself, has three Strategic Priorities — one that emphasizes the quality of our educational opportunities for students and staff, one that is focused on effective communication with internal and external audiences, and one that addresses finance, facilities and safety.

Each of our Strategic Priorities is accompanied by the Commitments that we make as a district to assure that we actually prioritize each Strategic Priority, and the Commitments are each supported by a series of Action Steps. In Strategic Priority #1 – Educational Opportunities, we have a set of “look fors” which serve as evidence that our Action Steps are effective in forming the learning experiences that the research and our experience tell us will lead to deep and modern learning for each student.

It has been the development of our “look fors” — which are the things that our students will say, see, feel and do when we are keeping the six Commitments — that has been the focus of our most recent efforts. In short, by knowing what we are looking for in every classroom, they help us answer the question, “How will we know when we are actually walking our talk?”

Our “Look Fors”

All students in PK – 12 should:

      ~ Benefit from Purposefully Designed Instruction
      ~ Exercise Agency
      ~ Develop and Demonstrate Self-Efficacy
      ~ Enjoy Productive Relationships

While Regents Exams grades, standardized tests scores and the SAT help pave the way to high school graduation, they, alone, do not prepare students for the world that awaits them after they have actually graduated. Our “look fors” represent a continuum of transportable skills and dispositions that, when we see our students exhibit them, we know that they possess the skills that will help them thrive in a mid-century world that is increasingly influenced by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

By optimizing the positive impact of our Strategic Plan, we assure that the educational opportunities we offer students and staff, our partnerships, our budget and facilities, our safety measures, our communication, and all of the essential functions of the school district support the District’s mission of assuring that we are “engaging all students in learning experiences that inspire lifelong learning and empower each for their future.”

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