Every student is known, valued, and believed in.
That is the vision of Saskatoon Public Schools, created as part of the school division’s new strategic plan.
"This plan is focused on students, above all else. It begins with a vision of what we want to achieve for every young person who walks through our school doors,” said Board Chair Ray Morrison. “It's a grand vision, but it is one I know we can achieve through focusing on our student goals and our commitment."
The strategic plan, which was approved by the Board of Education in June, sets the course for the division’s work during the next five years. The plan’s development included consultation with parents, students, staff, and community partners.
Deputy Director of Education Shane Skjerven, who led nearly two years of work to develop the plan, said the feedback focused on preparing students for an evolving world and highlighted the necessary skills, character traits, and knowledge that students will need for their future. Those responses helped identify four student goals – academic excellence, character, engagement, and well-being.
The goal of academic excellence states that students will achieve success in their learning goals. Those goals, Skjerven explained, are as unique as our students.
“For many, success means achieving curricular outcomes. For some, it could involve exploring more advanced disciplines. For others, it will mean accomplishing hard-fought physical and intellectual achievements. We want to know our students, value their abilities, and believe in their ability to achieve their individual goals,” said Skjerven.
The goal of character states that students will demonstrate respect, responsibility, and perseverance – themes that were repeated frequently in feedback from the learning community. Skjerven said teaching respect, understanding responsibility, and fostering perseverance will develop students’ ability to not only exist in the world, but be active community members now and in the future.
The goal of engagement will see students actively participate in relevant and meaningful learning.
“We must adapt and innovate to engage and challenge students. Lessons in the classroom should be collaborative, appealing and joyful,” said Skjerven.
The goal of well-being states that students will develop the skills to make healthy choices. This means equipping students so they know how to take care of themselves and be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually strong.
"To achieve our vision and help our students reach these four goals, we need to make a promise to our students, to their parents and caregivers, and to our community," said Director of Education Barry MacDougall. "Our commitment is we will create learning experiences that inspire all students to reach their potential."
This commitment will be achieved through a focus on three key areas: relationships, equity, and accountability.
MacDougall explained the school division will focus on fostering caring and supportive relationships, will honour diversity, creating welcoming and joyful spaces, and developing and growing community partnerships.
Saskatoon Public Schools is open to all. As part of its commitment to equity the division will focus on Indigenous student success, enact anti-racist/anti-oppressive practices, and pursue a representative workforce.
Through a focus on accountability, MacDougall said the division will maintain high expectations for all, respond to student needs through evidence-based practices, pursue continuous improvement, and ensure safe, caring, and accepting environments.
“Our new strategic plan will change our work. While some parts will feel familiar, other areas require a shift in our focus and practices. All our work will be done to provide the best for our students,” said MacDougall.
“I am confident this new plan will result in greater success for our students.”
For more information, visit www.saskatoonpublicschools.ca