District 281 to Focus on…..Academic Achievement!

March 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm Leave a comment

By Andrew Richter

Check out the title to this column by Robbinsdale Area Schools Superintendent Also Sicoli;

New strategic plan focuses on academic excellence

Ok now you’re a school district right? If you weren’t focusing on academic excellence what were you focusing on?

After a year of collaboration among employees, students, parents and community members, I am pleased Robbinsdale Area Schools has a new strategic plan. The School Board approved the new plan this month, which is designed to increase the academic achievement of all students.

A year of collaboration???

The plan was developed through a community planning initiative and explicitly makes student achievement our number one priority. Robbinsdale Area Schools is committed to ensuring every student graduates career- and college-ready. We believe each student has limitless possibilities and we strive to ignite the potential in every student, every day.

You mean academic excellence wasn’t your number one priority before??

One of my greatest joys as an educator is to see students learning, growing and achieving. There is no work more inspiring than ensuring our students have the skills they need to live successful lives. In our new plan, we have four major goal areas: implement policies and practices that open pathways to academic excellence for all students; utilize culturally relevant teaching and personalized learning for all students; engage family and community members as partners and engage; and empower students by amplifying student voice.

That doesn’t sound like anything new to me.

Each goal area has a commitment statement that summarizes our vision for achieving that goal.

• We are committed to focusing on each individual student’s potential for academic excellence. We will strengthen our policies and practices to ensure our programs and services provide equitable access for all students, especially with regard to areas which currently have high racial and economic predictability or disproportionality among groups of students.

Sounds like the typical educrat sob story about the poor and so-called disadvantaged.

• We are committed to deliver teaching that inspires all students to experience the highest levels of critical thinking and achievement. We will implement research-based best educational practices to engage our students in learning. Equity is raising the achievement of all students; student success will not be predictable based on race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.

Once again we see the social stuff; we’ve been throwing money at the poor for 80 years, what good has it done?

• We are committed to providing opportunities for meaningful engagement to support the learning of every student. Family and community collaboration is vital to success in educating our students.

• We are committed to intentionally engaging student voice in important decisions. We believe that students are our most important stakeholders. Their input is invaluable to the growth and success of our district and the larger community.


The promise of a great education is more critical now than ever. There are many possibilities that exist for our students and our community through our knowledge economy, innovations in technology and our growing diversity. Our students must be prepared to lead both locally and globally. Achieving each of the goals we have outlined above will mean all students will soar and all students can develop their unique potential.

This plan aligns with the goals of Minnesota’s “World’s Best Workforce” legislation. The program has five goals and is intended to have all students meet school readiness goals; have all third-grade students reach grade-level literacy; close the academic achievement gap among all racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic groups and students receiving special education services versus those in regular education; have all students graduate from high school; and have all students attain career and college readiness.

Grade level reading is a new goal? I also cringe when I hear things like “World’s best workforce”…..sounds like one size fits all best practice stuff.

In the months ahead, our team will now begin the hard work of writing action plans and developing SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused and time bound.

Smart goals aren’t related to smart growth right?

There is a Chinese Proverb that says, “If you want one year of prosperity, plant rice. If you want 10 years of prosperity, plant trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, educate the children.”

For what we are spending that should have been happening long ago…..

We want to partner with the community to produce academic excellence in our district for all students. When we increase the achievement of each and every student, there are immeasurable benefits for the student, the community, the nation and the globe.


Now folks, I like Dr. Sicoli, he’s a nice guy but do you really see anything in this you haven’t heard before?



Entry filed under: Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Education, Golden Valley, New Hope, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, School Board.

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