Rock Island-Milan superintendent reflects on first 100 days

Rock Island-Milan superintendent reflects on first 100 days

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Superintendent Reginald Lawrence reflected on first 100 days in the Rock Island-Milan School District at Tuesday’s board of education meeting and shared stakeholder survey results about the district’s strengths and areas for improvement.

Lawrence joined the district June 3, but his first 100 days report focused on July 31 through Jan. 28.

“For me, July 31, 2019, will go down as one of the most exciting days of my life because it served as an important first for me; my first official student contact day as superintendent of Rock Island-Milan School District No. 41.”

Lawrence said his time leading up to that date was spent gaining valuable connections in the community and forming important connections with school board members, administrators and other staff members.

Lawrence shared his insights and actions taken thus far toward three district priorities: a commitment to equity, enhancing family and community engagement, and sustaining systems for effective and efficient operations.

During his initial school building visits, Lawrence said he familiarized himself with the structures and got to see students engaged in lessons and participating in project-based activities.

In an effort to establish and build relationships with stakeholders, Lawrence said he has joined multiple community organizations, including Rock Island Rotary, United Way Education Commission, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Two Rivers YMCA. He also met with local faith-based organizations and other entities.

During these first 100 days community members were invited to the “Listen and Learn Tour,” which gathered feedback. Lawrence said the district received more than 170 responses to a survey asking stakeholders to share their thoughts on strengths, areas for improvement, and specific actions needed to improve the educational and academic experience.

Lawrence said survey respondents said the district’s strengths include teachers and staff who are committed to teaching and learning; and quality extracurricular and supplemental program offerings.

Survey respondents said the district needs to improve its facilities and improve communications. Lawrence said this includes a need for transparency, building trust, and establishing clearer lines of communication at all levels.

Respondents also said the district needs to take specific actions to improve in the areas of curriculum and grading as well as discipline.

Also Tuesday, board members heard a second-quarter strategic plan update. Among other items, members of the building leadership team shared metrics on student achievement, staff diversity and qualifications, and financial data.

In other business, board members:

– Voted to contract with WestEd, of San Francisco, to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of district special education services. The cost is $85,932, with Title I school improvement funds being used for the purchase. Board member Megan Wilson was absent for the vote.

– Voted to approve administration applying for the Illinois School Maintenance Project Grant. If the district is awarded the grant, it would provide $50,000 toward the Rock Island HIgh School stadium restroom renovations. The total project cost is estimated at $550,000.

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