A Vision for the Future

As we’re planning for the future of the AAPS, here are some things I’ve been thinking about and would like to share.  I’m interested in other’s ideas as well.  My ideas are a start toward re-invigorating our programs and putting the AAPS on a trajectory for growth and sustainability, with an end goal to be the best district in Michigan and high-ranking in the US.  Here are some of the ideas, organized by 1) sustainability and 2) thrive.

Please share your comments/thoughts.  I’d be interested to see what resonates.

Building a Sustainable Enterprise

Financial Controls & Oversight

  • Receive monthly status update on actual to budget tracking of AAPS
  • Seek external performance audit firm and initiate assessment with goal of report by December 2013
  • Ensure implementation of Zero-Based Budgeting and line-by-line accounting

FY15 Budget Planning

  • Begin budget planning process in September 2013 with community engagement on specific initiatives/ideas

New AAEA and AAAA Contracts

  • Renegotiate AAEA contract to remove items that are unreasonably expensive; create more flexibility to respond to our needs; extend day and year; negotiate calendar as a yearly BOE item, not an AAEA only item.
  • Renegotiate AAAA contract to remove items that are unreasonably expensive; create more flexibility to respond to our needs; extend day and year.
  • Tenure reform must apply to new contracts.
  • Evaluation tools must be in place.

3 Year Projections

  • Initiate a planning process to assess 3 year financial performance of AAPS (revenue and expenses projections, risks, impact of strategic initiatives)

Revenue Initiatives

  • Assess viability of a 2014 enhancement millage
  • Assess viability of changes to legislation that might allow local levy authority and/or revised Proposal A


AAPS Thrive Initiatives

New K-8 STEM School

  • Use redistricting to create space for a new K-8 STEM program
  • Create a multi-disciplinary committee to lead the development of the program
  • Opportunity: there are 400 students on the waiting list at Ann Arbor Open

Tuition-Based Pre School

  • Assess report recommendations
  • Get community-based task force and administrative owners to work on a plan for FY15 opening

Expanded School Day and Increased # of Days

  • Needs to be part of negotiations; extend school day by XX minutes; add 20 days to school year (decrease winter break by 3 days; remove 1 – 2 other days off; decrease summer break by 5 days)

New Small Learning Community High School

  • Create another small learning environment – secondary level program (if two small buildings become available through redistricting assessment).  This could be an AAPS IB program.

Flexibility for Students

  • Create more partnerships and options for secondary students to achieve credit recovery and higher learning opportunities of interest
  • Create forum at all high schools
  • Move all high schools to trimester model if block scheduling is the best model (needs to be explored for scheduling, cost, with data-based outcomes as guidance, etc.)
  • Deploy flipped classroom models in key areas with good programs to model (e.g., structure Salman Kahn is using to work with district in Silicon Valley)

Alternative Program for Struggling Students

  • Work with Friends of Roberto Clemente Task Force on ideas to improve/enhance/integrate program
  • Consider linkages in elementary and middle school levels
  • Consider community supports and neighborhood-based support

Reinvigorate Magnet Programs

  • Expand programs where demand is high (3:1 demand for some; less demand for others)
  • Revisit magnets and ensure those offered are of interest/desired
  • Set up committee with parents/teachers/students to explore ideas

Public-Private Partnerships

  • Create a PE program with a private partner that can be provided prior to the start of the school day and work with scheduling so that students’ more challenging classes are directly following physical activity
  • Work with scheduling to achieve other PE prior to difficult courses model (see Napier School District, in Illinois)
  • Work with parents/families/donors to enhance PE and/or athletics with community service as part of the program for secondary programs
  • Other public private partnerships should be explored and developed in high-impact areas (arts, music, theater, etc.)

Targeted Giving

  • Identify programs that could benefit the most from targeted giving (e.g., RC program, RI, WL, PE, etc.)
  • Work with AAPSEF to create a targeted giving program that links to our strategic plan

Police Program (similar to EXPLORE program we used to have; funding by Ann Arbor Community Foundation or other foundation)

Enhance PR with focus on success, innovation and outcomes

  • Multi-pronged approach
  • Building-level effort coordinated across district
  • Excellent, open and ad hoc communication with district leadership: Superintendent and building leadership

Superintendent Transition Planning

  • Create a transition plan for the new Superintendent that includes community welcome, key interviews and sessions and some goals for a 90 day plan.  A visit for each school within the first week of school will be posted, planned and open to the public.
  • Ongoing networking events will be planned for the first 6 months, including media and legislative leaders.

10 thoughts on “A Vision for the Future”

  1. I think it’s important not to view things through the lens of “unreasonably expensive” but through the value of the cost. Just because something is expensive, does not mean it’s not worth it. I also have concerns about accountability issues with public-private partnerships. When private money is given,what are the expectation involved on both sides and is it properly delinated and defined before any exchange of monies occurs?

  2. And just so you know, I posted this and an excerpt of my preceding post to my public setting on my timeline on my facebook page earlier today at 1:50 pm :)

  3. And just to be clear, because apparently, sometimes, I’m not, your post and my excerpt were posted at 1:50 pm today.

    1. Should be. You can be pretty specific in these contractual arrangements, including defining boundaries that ensure no conflict of interest is breached on either part, goals, outcomes, etc.

      1. I also think a language immersion program or a STEM + intensive language component would be an interesting draw. When I am trying to envision what skills do I think my 4 and 6 year olds will need to be competitive in the workforce 20 years in the future, science, math and language proficiency are my best guesses.
        Thanks for your reply and thoughts. I’ll be looking forward to the due diligence piece to find out how to formally express my interest!

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