Message from Superintendent Polm: Our New Strategic Plan
Dear Puyallup School District Community,
Our school district has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence and providing high-quality education and learning opportunities to students. However, as we have learned in recent years, it is increasingly important that we continuously improve and adapt to meet the changing needs of our students and community. With that in mind, I am proud to announce the launch of our district’s new strategic plan, which will help guide us in this effort.
This strategic plan has been developed through a collaborative and inclusive process with input from a wide range of stakeholders, including teachers, staff, parents and guardians, students, community members and district leaders. When we began this process in the summer of 2022, a 17-member Steering Committee, which included leaders from district administration and schools, assembled to develop the strategic plan. The Steering Committee was chartered with developing new mission and vision statements, codifying a theory of action, developing district priorities, and identifying measurable goals. To accomplish this, the committee worked tirelessly to gather data, conduct research and engage in thoughtful discussions about the future of our schools. On behalf of the Board and myself, I am grateful for the time and energy that so many have put into creating a blueprint for supporting the highest levels of student success now and into the future.
This plan is designed to address the existing challenges and opportunities facing our district, with a focus on student success and well-being, academic excellence, quality programs, and exceptional student experiences. Serving as our compass over the next five years, this plan will allow us to inventory initiatives and identify where we need to put our time, resources, and focus. Aligning our most critical needs and priorities will allow us to prepare and empower every student to thrive in school, society, and beyond.
Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the success of our students. I am confident that this plan will position our district as a leader in education and will better serve the needs of students, families, and community. This plan is dynamic and may evolve based on data or changing situations, however it will be a powerful tool for us now in our ongoing efforts to improve schools and ensure that every student has the opportunities they need to succeed in school, work, and life. As you review this document, I encourage you to stay engaged and continue providing feedback so we can learn, grow, and move forward together.
Dr. John Polm
The mission and vision of Puyallup School District represent the long-term aspirations of the district.
To prepare and empower every student to reach their full potential and to thrive in school, society, work, and life.
The Puyallup School District values academic excellence and ensures every student learns in safe and supportive environments in order to develop as critical thinkers ready to take on the world.
Puyallup’s Theory of Action reflects the fundamental beliefs of the district around what will lead to long-term success for students.
If district leadership distributes resources in alignment with strong district priorities and values, including
- Allocating resources according to criteria based on school needs, size, and goals;
- Providing support and accountability from the district office;
- Giving school leaders clear expectations to decide how resources are used within the building for school culture, safety, and strong instructional practices
Then school communities will make positive, sound, and strategic decisions based on school needs, and academic and social-emotional outcomes for students will improve.
1. Academic Achievement
The district will emphasize access to and learning in early literacy and mathematics (PK-3) in order to establish foundational skills, so all students are set on a successful course for graduation.
Puyallup School District believes that rigorous standards for academic achievement should remain at the forefront of our mission and priorities. Given the critical importance of early reading as a determinant for long-term success1, the Puyallup School District will emphasize early literacy, specifically from kindergarten through third grade. Additionally, as math proficiency continues to lag behind reading, a focus on numeracy is also critical to achieving academic success for all students.
How we will measure success…
- Percent of students, from all backgrounds, meeting or exceeding the benchmark on 4th-grade, 8th-grade, and 10th-grade STAR Math and Literacy assessments.
- Percent of students, from all backgrounds, who are on track to meet or exceed the four-year graduation requirements.
In order to monitor progress on how these early indicators are impacting students later in their academic careers, the district will also measure and track student proficiency levels and on-track-to-graduation metrics at the junior high and high school levels in addition to early literacy and numeracy metrics.
2. Family and Community Engagement
The district will clearly and efficiently communicate goals, priorities, and critical information in order to engage families and community partners in two-way communication.
The Puyallup School District continues to be deeply committed to partnering closely with families and our community to ensure that our students are able to achieve at the highest levels. This requires ongoing efforts to strengthen trust, transparency, and communication with families and community members. In addition to in-person events and engagements, Puyallup School District’s robust set of digital tools enables the district to reach families in unique and effective ways.
How we will measure success…
- Digital-Based Metrics: Social media reach and engagement statistics, Website traffic as measured by Google search analytics, Broadcast system engagement as measured by reach and engagement statistics.
- Number of communications translated into multiple student home languages.
3. Social-Emotional Supports
The district will cultivate an inclusive and supportive school community in order to promote a sense of belonging and well-being for each student and staff.
The Puyallup School District understands how critical students' social-emotional well-being is to their ability to engage successfully in academic pursuits and growth. Simply put, for students to learn, they must first feel emotionally safe and cared for in school. In accordance with the Washington State Board of Education, guided by the Washington State Legislature (RCW 28A.300.477), the Puyallup School District is committed to a “whole-child approach toward providing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) implementation that is equitable, trauma-informed, culturally sustaining, and universally designed.”
In addition to the well-being of students, the mental and emotional well-being of staff is also critical to their ability to effectively teach and support students. An emphasis on well-being will bolster staff effectiveness as well as their own sense of belonging in the district.
How we will measure success …
- Percent of students receiving suspensions, referrals, and exclusionary discipline (disaggregating student discipline data).
- Percent of students who feel they are valued members of their school community as measured by a district-administered survey.
- District and staff perceptions of their own professional well-being as measured by a district-administered survey.
4. Staff Development, Culture, and Satisfaction
The district will continue to focus on attracting and developing a highly effective, representative staff while bolstering overall job satisfaction for all staff in order to ensure quality instruction.
Our staff and teachers are one of our greatest assets in the Puyallup School District. Continuing to strengthen our staff workforce will be essential to ensuring that students are poised to achieve in the long run. Developing best-in-class educators who can effectively meet the academic and social-emotional needs of students will be a continued focus of the Puyallup School District. We also know that a staff and teaching force that represents the students it serves is a key lever for student sense of belonging and academic success. The Puyallup School District is dedicated to continuing to engage in hiring practices that ensure we can achieve a representative staff.
How we will measure success…
- Percent of staff who respond positively to questions related to teacher Effectiveness on a district-administered survey.
- Percent of staff who respond positively to questions related to feedback and support on a district-administered survey.
- Percent of staff who demonstrate growth on annual evaluations.
- Percent of staff whose demographics represent student demographics.
5. Facilities, Safety, and Security
The district will ensure the timely repair and maintenance of schools and support facilities in order to maintain a safe work and learning environment for students and staff.
The Puyallup School District knows the critical role that our facilities and infrastructure play in our ability to educate and support students. Students and staff are able to succeed when their environment is clean, maintained, and welcoming. Most importantly, maintaining adequate facilities is critical to keeping both students and staff safe. Through the use of robust standards for excellence and a dedication to timely service, the Puyallup School District will ensure that students and staff are able to teach and grow in a positive physical environment.
How we will measure success…
- Completion time and number of follow-up status inquiries for work orders after submission.
- Percent of families who respond positively to questions related to school safety on a district-administered survey.
- Percentage of students who are attending school in a permanent classroom facility.
Next Steps - Implementation
Through the strategic planning process, we have written a district mission, vision, and theory of action that guide the identified priorities and the measures through which those priorities will be assessed. These strategic priority areas will ensure that challenging decisions about how to allocate resources - people, time, and money - will be made easier with strategic guidance from this plan. As the Puyallup School District continues to refine our strategic direction and monitor progress, district initiatives and their accompanying action steps will be analyzed and vetted. This process will require continued partnership with families, staff, and community members to build on and strengthen the excellent work happening in the district.