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Lifelong Learning

District’s high school task force working to identify strategic framework and portrait of a Moorhead High graduate

September 22, 2017

For six months last school year, data was collected for the first phase of the Moorhead High School Community Task Force process. This summer, the Moorhead School Board heard an update from Terry Quist and Jeff Olson, Minnesota School Boards Association, related to the Designing Moorhead High School’s 21st Century Academic/Instructional Program, as the process is called.

The planning process included opportunities for the district’s staff, students and residents to provide input in developing the strategic framework of belief statements, mission and portrait of a Moorhead High School graduate (Phase I) and reach consensus on a set of guiding principles in the areas of academic program, instruction, technology, and facility design (Phase II) necessary to support Moorhead’s strategic framework.

During their update, Quist and Olson provided the board with a summary of the process, findings and recommendations. Over six months, data was collected from internal and external stakeholders through 11 listening sessions, a perception survey taken by more than 375 residents, and the community task force. Listening sessions focused on strengths, opportunities, and the ideal future for Moorhead High School in five years.

Survey respondents were asked to rate high school effective practices and identify top priorities for the educational program for Moorhead High School. On the survey, respondents identified these as the top five skills, attributes or abilities required of Moorhead High School graduates: 1) effective communication skills (written, oral and interpersonal), 2) critical thinking/discernment of information, 3) life skills (financial, etc.), 4) problem solving, and 5) collaboration/teamwork skills.

In April 2017, the task force made site visits to high schools in Alexandria, Chanhassen and Burnsville. At each of the sites, task force members were provided insight into academic and instructional programming options, technology structure and facility design items.

Phase I included development of a mission statement, belief statements and a portrait of a graduate for Moorhead High School. The task force created these drafts based on data collected. The drafts may be expanded or adapted during Phase II this school year.

As currently drafted, the mission states: “The mission of Moorhead High School, in partnership with students, staff, parents, and the community, is to develop creative, collaborative, thoughtful and communicative learners.”

Belief statements were drafted as follows:
Moorhead High School believes:
• In creating critical thinkers and problem solvers.
• That learning opportunities should focus on students’ strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
• In building community through a single identity.
• That positive culture allows everyone to take ownership and belong.
• In a positive and interactive relationship between the school and community.
• In holding students to high expectations so they expect more of themselves.
• That students and staff should be physically, emotionally, and socially safe.
• That students have a voice and choice and subsequent accountability.
• In ensuring that all students are effective communicators.

The final item drafted during Phase I was the portrait of a Moorhead High School graduate.
• Resilience — Growth Mindset
• Critical Thinking
• Communication
• Problem Solving
• Empathy — diversity, inclusive and altruistic
• Content Mastery

Other Considerations
• Collaboration
• Creativity

These findings will continue to reviewed, and possibly amended, as the task force collects additional data during Phase II this school year. The task force reconvened this fall and is meeting monthly through January to refine the guiding principles on academic programming, instruction, technology and facility design.

The final principles and recommendations are to be finalized in January 2018 and presented to the School Board in February 2018. By the spring of 2018, using the task force’s guiding principles and portrait of a graduate, a plan will be developed to study high school facilities during the 2018-19 school year.

The Moorhead School Board and administrators listen to update from Terry Quist and Jeff Olson, Minnesota School Boards Association, about the Designing Moorhead High School’s 21st Century Academic/Instructional Program, as the high school task force process is called.

Categorized under: School