Emerging from an intensive spate of lengthy meetings this summer involving Falls Church Public Schools’ central office administrators, school principals and assistant principals and teachers, the system’s latest Triennial Plan was floated at a public meeting Tuesday night prior to being presented to the annual “Back to School” general assembly next week. A final vote for adoption will be made by the Falls Church School Board at its next meeting on Sept. 12.
The single-spaced one-pager identified five priorities for the school system over the next three years, and was augmented by a detailed 16-page work plan identifying action steps, current ratings of performance, evidences of effectiveness currently, and per an ideal state, who’s responsible for each action step, with initiation and completion dates.
It is the first such plan under the new regime of Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan, who was present at the Henderson Middle School cafetorium Tuesday to present the package.
The five areas of prioritization identified in the new plan are 1. student centered teaching and learning, 2. Excellent staff, 3. Optimal facilities and learning environments, 4. Fiscal management and 5. Community engagement.
It’s opening mission statement identified the Falls Church Schools as a “student-centered, innovative, and inclusive community of lifelong learners.” It adds, “We strive to guarantee a personalized environment that supports each child’s unique needs, where each student achieves at least one year academic growth annually, and where every graduate is prepared for their next step in life as a responsible, caring and internationally-minded citizen.”
As the only school system in Virginia, and only one of seven in the U.S., to offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum for all grades, K-12, the mission statement concludes, “We aspire to be the premier International Baccalaureate school division. To that end, we will continuously improve as a learning organization” with a focus on the five identified priorities.
Noonan’s presentation was to an unexpectedly small turnout at Tuesday’s meeting, coming in the middle of summer as it was, and he was accompanied by School Board chair Lawrence Webb. F.C. City Council member Phil Duncan was also present.
Noonan said he plans to reference the plan at next Tuesday morning’s “Back to School” event, when the entire system will be there in force to welcome the start of the next school year, which will commence following Labor Day on Sept. 5.
He said limited feedback he’s received to date has been very positive, favoring the document’s emphasis on equality and fairness, organizational strength and longer-term view.