Reflections on My First 100 Days

Reflections of my first 100 Days - Superintendent Shawn Woodward

Dear Monroe School District Community,

We made it! I have officially wrapped up My First 100 Days as Monroe School District’s new Superintendent and am excited to have kicked off the collaborative process of developing our strategic plan for the future. Thank you for sharing your ideas, experiences, and perspectives with me through focus groups, meetings, and emails.

It has been a busy 100 days of engaging, listening, and learning with community collaborators. I have had the pleasure of meeting with the following individuals or groups so far:

  • I engaged with over 100 students, staff, families, and community members through individual meetings and focus groups.
  • I met with the administrators from each of our ten schools and I met with, or I have meetings scheduled with, all ten of our schools to gather feedback from our staff.
  • I visited every operational, school, and educational program site at least once — and attended numerous staff meetings, professional development, and events across the district.
  • I met with City of Monroe officials, including Mayor Thomas, Chief Jolley, City Administrator Deborah Knight, as well as city planners. 
  • I met with many civic and non-profit organization leaders, including the VFW, the Monroe Public Schools Foundation, Citizens for Monroe Schools/Friends of Monroe SD, Monroe Equity Community, Monroe Chamber of Commerce, ECEAP, Rotary of Monroe, Evergreen Hospital, and more!
  • I had meetings with each one of our district's department leaders. 
  • I facilitated a retreat with the Board of Directors of the Monroe School District and have had multiple one-on-one meetings with each Board Director.

What I Heard

Many of you have provided valuable feedback regarding what we should start, stop, and continue as we chart our course for the future. The recurring themes that emerged from your input include:

  • Appreciation for our Transportation Department.
  • An abundance of positive feedback in relation to our schools, teachers, and dedicated staff.
  • The presence of diverse alternative learning opportunities for our students.
  • Kudos to our Communications Department for keeping our community well-informed.
  • The strength of our athletics and extracurricular activities programs.
  • The need to enhance safety and security measures for both staff and students.
  • A desire to expand early learning opportunities.
  • A focus on fostering a greater sense of belonging for all students, families, and staff members.
  • A commitment to reducing incidents of bullying, intimidation, and harassment.
  • A call for increased community access to outdoor recreational facilities, such as tracks, fields, and tennis courts.
  • A desire for the development of a strategic plan for our district.
  • A need for the overall improvement of facilities, along with a more streamlined process for reserving gym and field space.
  • A call to increase trust and transparency within the district.
  • Asks for regulating student cell phone usage.
  • A desire to create opportunities for more community input.

Your feedback has been invaluable, and it will serve as a guide as we work toward the continued improvement and growth of our educational community. Thank you for your contributions and commitment to providing the best education for our students.

What We've Done

Based on your input, we have already made some changes that will benefit our staff, students, families, and community members, including the following:

  • Installed new security cameras at various places throughout the district. 
  • Made plans to increase security measures at the front entrance of school buildings. 
  • Installed air quality indication monitors across our school district to help inform decisions in the event of wildfire smoke.
  • Developed a plan to pilot vape detection devices at the high school level, with the intent to implement this at our secondary schools district-wide if we have positive results.  
  • Opening up the track and fields at Park Place Middle School for community use during non-school, daylight hours. Community members will be free to use the track and the fields, as long as there is not a scheduled user group. Tennis courts will also remain unlocked for community use at Monroe High School.
  • Added a Transition to Kindergarten program classroom at Frank Wagner Elementary School. Learn more here.
  • Developed a district-wide goal to increase student belonging in our schools. 
  • Developing resources for our students and families related to Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying. This will reinforce how people can report incidents, as well as a detailed description of how we respond as a school district. 

Next Steps/Strategic Planning

The input gathered thus far will help inform our strategic planning as we move forward over the next several months. As previously mentioned, key themes have emerged through the many input-gathering sessions and we will continue gathering information over the next couple of months through more focus group discussions, community-wide meetings, and surveys. We currently have a Strategic Planning Community Input survey open through ThoughtExchange and encourage you to share your input on what we should prioritize in order to positively impact student learning over the next five years - share your input here.  I also plan on engaging at a high level with students to ensure their voices are heard. 

By mid-February, we will be sending out a draft strategic plan for your feedback, before going to our School Board for their approval.

I look forward to further interactions with you as we continue charting a path for the future of the Monroe School District. Please reach out if you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss any aspect of our school district! I am proud to serve this community and to call Monroe my home.

Shawn Woodward
Superintendent
woodwards@monroe.wednet.edu