How should Midway address future growth at the high school? Questions like this and 34 other major topics were asked to the community as a part of Midway’s community visioning project.
Since March, Midway ISD has been gathering input from the community via surveys and focus groups to build a multi-year strategic plan. Four major topics were discussed through 35 questions regarding Student Achievement, Community Engagement, Facilities, and Funding Priorities.
1,272 people responded to the surveys and 101 community members represented parents, taxpayers, students, community members, and alumni through 17 focus groups. Results and preliminary action steps to address the community input were presented to the Midway ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday night. Highlighted goals to be addressed over the next few years include:
- Cultivate creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking to maximize student learning.
- All students will graduate postsecondary ready.
- Increase communication to non-parent tax payers to develop a better-informed community.
- Facilitate involvement and interactions with community partners to strengthen the community-school relationship.
- Explore additional and maximize current funding opportunities.
- Work to educate the need for legislative support of public schools.
- Effectively explain school finance and how MISD efficiently manages current resources to the community.
- Develop long-term vision to address student growth, ensuring equitable facilities across the district.
- Provide safe, clean and modern facilities that contribute to the success of faculty, students, and other staff.
Consultant Laurie Cromwell of Foundation Innovation said, “The strategic planning process facilitated by Foundation Innovation differs from the traditional process that many school districts undergo, and this was by design. It was important for the Midway ISD School Board and Administration to determine what focus areas held particular importance for future planning and to involve internal and external stakeholders to provide input. This collaborative process sparked very healthy dialogue from all involved. Not only did the process provide an opportunity for engagement, it also revealed some important opinions, particularly in the area of growth. The majority of those responding indicated a preference to build a second high school; however, it was closely followed by the options of a 9th grade center. They were not in favor of adding-on to create mega-campuses.
Another outcome that could prove very useful, particularly for the Administration, is opportunities to promote the programs and services currently offered by Midway ISD. Many focus group participants offered ideas and suggestions for programs and services that are already provided, but they were unaware of them. While it is difficult for a school district to make sure all its constituents are aware of all Midway
ISD’s offerings, robust discussions and actions plans created during the administration retreat will help accomplish that task.
It was clear from those involved in this process that the profile of a successful student is hardworking, resourceful, respectful, and possesses strong communication skills. In addition, the top funding priority was academics including a salary scale that will attract competent and effective educators. This is affirming for future resource allocation. Perhaps surprising to some is that the state assessment, STAAR test, was not an important or a strong indicator for academic success.
An observation by the Foundation Innovation team is that survey data, focus group discussion, and overall input was extremely positive. Midway ISD is a great school district and the community knows this to be true.
The action plans in this report are the true product of this process. They should be adopted, reviewed, monitored, edited, and assessed as they are implemented. Although the Administration will be primarily responsible for this, the School Board’s involvement and awareness are critical to increase the impact and to keep the community apprised. This scope of work is an opportunity to report to the community that their input was important, taken into consideration, and used for future decision making.”