BBHCSD strategic plan prepares students for success

by Dan Holland

Officials for the Brecksville-Broadview Heights City Schools say the district continues to move forward with the implementation of a five-year strategic plan completed in spring 2019.

That comprehensive plan features a number of elements designed to assure the ongoing success of students at each grade level.

In 2018, the district hired O.E. Strategies, an Independence-based consulting firm, in fall 2018 to help create the plan. A number of meetings held with administrators, students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders helped shape the 25-page document.

A teaching approach called “Universal Design for Learning,“ being implemented by the district, seeks to ensure success for students at each learning level by bringing flexibility to the manner in which students approach subject and course material.

One of the chief components of the plan, called “Portrait of a Graduate,” strives to instill core competencies in students of all grade levels to make sure they are future-ready, emotionally prepared, self-reliant and globally responsive, according to the plan.

Four focus areas of the plan include: preparing students for graduation and the future, creating responsive learning environments, partnering with families, businesses and organizations and creating an inclusive and supportive culture by following the “Culture Playbook” – described by BBHCSD Superintendent Joelle Magyar as a summary of the overall culture of the district.

David Martin, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, discussed the ongoing process of implementing various elements of the strategic plan with school board members this fall. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the district adapted the plan during three time periods: pre-pandemic, pandemic and post-pandemic.

“The strategic plan has been a significant guiding document over the last several years, and while education changed during COVID, the principles and competencies outlined in our Portrait of a Graduate were even more impactful and affirmed, since these are lifelong traits,” said Magyar.

Current goals and action steps

Specific strategic plan goals were set for the 2022-23 school year, with action steps in progress to achieve them, Martin told the school board last fall.

At the middle school, plans call for a team to monitor and evaluate special education methods aimed at improving results for students with disabilities, especially in English and math. Another goal is to improve “‘collective teacher efficacy” with the end result of teachers working together to affect student learning in a positive manner.

At both the high school and middle school levels, the Universal Design for Learning model is designed to bring “disciplinary literacy” to all students with the end result of each being able to read, write, discuss and collaborate on a variety of topics and subjects on a high level.

Two additional goals at the high school level include the development of “social emotional learning” – with the well-being of students in mind – and an emphasis on incorporating Portrait of a Graduate elements into daily learning practices.

An action step at the elementary school level includes a Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports program for all students intended to decrease negative behaviors and reinforce the positive. In addition, discussions with Cuyahoga Valley Career Center in Brecksville may include the availability of vocational training for elementary-level students, with an eye toward future career paths.

In a statement, the district said it reviews progress made on the strategic plan during annual administrative retreats with building principals and directors, during which academic priorities are set for each grade level and building, with reviews and updates to the plan being implemented as deemed necessary.

“Looking ahead, the BBHCSD will remained focused not on only the academic standards, but the non-academic, ‘whole-child’ aspects as well, such as the skills associated with our Portrait of a Graduate,” said Magyar. “We care deeply about student social and emotional well-being and their contribution to be the future, whatever that looks like for each individual, to make the world a better place.” ∞