APS board, admin free strategic roadmap

Published 7:04 pm Friday, March 26, 2021

On Monday, the Austin Public Schools Board, along with central administration, met for its Annual Strategic Roadmap Review study session.

The review comes before its three-year restructuring of the roadmap, which will take place in 2022.

The review looked at leadership roles within the district as well as went over the mission statement for the district.

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While only a review, with no actionable items, Superintendent David Krenz used the opportunity to impress on the school board just how important their job is.

“Your jobs are very difficult,” Krenz said. The pressures upon us are much more severe than any other political entity. Legislators are removed from the electorate by not only miles, but dozens of bureaucratic systems. School boards are front and center. There’s a lot of pressures that come to all of us.”

A central theme of Monday’s study session revolved around leadership and how they can facilitate results that cultivate better student learning.

“Leadership at some point has to drive results,” said Mark Raymond, executive director of Human Resources at Austin Public Schools.

Through a system of evaluations from outside the school district, APS administration and board members were able to tout a record that has seen a numerous amount of success. One of those evaluations came from something called Baldrige Criteria that gave the district the second highest award in Minnesota last year.

However, that doesn’t mean the Criteria and the district itself haven’t found things it can work on to improve its situation.

One of those areas is data. APS uses data in several different ways to further inform its educational practices, but there are some areas that aren’t as strong as others.

Executive Director of Educational Services John Alberts pointed out that while the district has been good in distinguishing longer term goals, “short term, we’re not as good at doing yet.”

Towards the end of the nearly four-hour session, the group went about identifying both strategic advantages and strategic challenges the school district faces each day.

Later down the road, these examples will help further refine the district’s road map.

We’ll take these tenets, and lay them out against strategic directions we have,” Alberts said. “We might decide as a district that we might have some learning work around this. Our task next, as an administration team, is to look at the advantages and disadvantages. How are we going to approach these things? All of this input is going to help us tremendously.”