Celebrating Short-Term Wins and Sustaining Acceleration
Last week was marked by the public acknowledgment of Mitchell High School's improvement related to Colorado Department of Education accountability. At the August 23rd D11 School Board meeting (superintendents report 1:20:30), it was announced that Mitchell High School is officially out of “turnaround” status and has improved to “priority improvement.” This news was followed by an August 24th Gazette Telegraph article titled, “Colorado Springs District 11 projects half of low-performing schools will escape state watch list (see image below).”
This improvement was able to take place in two short years because of D11’s 2021 request that the State Board take "early action", which resulted in State Review Panel’s November 12, 2021, report which recommended innovation status. On April 12, 2022, the State Board unanimously approved the Mitchell High School innovation plan.
Our innovation plan leans heavily on five key pillars that serve as the bedrock of school improvement efforts. An emphasis on community engagement, culture design and shift, distributive leadership capacity, talent development, and quality instruction have and will continue to serve as our school’s strategic guiding light moving forward.
The revitalized partnership between Mitchell High School and the United Way, our vision to restore stakeholders' trust by way of initiatives like the Mitchell Promise and staff innovation incentive pay, talent contributions by all stakeholders regardless of title and position, staff engagement with intentional professional development, and consistent cycles of observation and coaching to improve instruction, have all led to this great news.
Though we are extremely excited about this huge win for our school community, as Superintendent Gaal stated at the August 23rd school board meeting, “We are a long, long way from 50 schools being at performance level.” We must all focus on sustaining acceleration by reaching for increases in student growth and higher levels of academic achievement.
For certain, getting to this point was no small feat. My hope is that all of us, students, families, and staff will take the time to celebrate and enjoy this moment. Thank you for your ongoing partnership and support as the mighty Marauders continue to climb towards cruising altitude!
George Smith, Principal