A focus on Curriculum & Programs, Environment & Culture, and Partnerships
In the spring of 2016, the Board of Education established a strategic plan to guide district initiatives and priorities in the years ahead. The plan focuses on three major areas, or pillars: Curriculum & Programs, Environment & Culture, and Partnerships. While progress is always ongoing, the information below highlights some of the major initiatives and activities that are embedded within the plan.
Curriculum & Programs
Strategic Goal: Create a world-class educational experience.
- An Instructional Program Advisory Council (IPAC) is developing a vision for the future of academic programs, with an initial focus on kindergarten through eighth grade and raising awareness about the pathways to college and careers, including career and technical education, currently available through BOCES.
- A District Curriculum and Assessment Council has established a multi-year Program Review Process to inform regular updates in each academic area. The Science & Engineering Technology Department began the process in 2016-17 and the World Language Department and Department of Art & Design will initiate their reviews in 2017-18.
- An enrollment and capacity study will be conducted during the 2017-18 school year as a baseline long-range planning tool.
- The vision of IPAC, the Program Reviews, and the enrollment/capacity study will inform future facilities improvements, ensuring that the district has adequate space for the student population and for modern programs.
Environment & Culture
Strategic Goal: Create learning environments that are safe, welcoming and constructive for all.
- An Environment & Culture Advisory Council (ECAC), comprised of community members, parents, faculty and staff, developed District Diversity Goals that were adopted by the Board of Education.
- The district is working with a consultant on a diversity initiative to develop and implement an action plan that increases its capacity to meet the needs of all students, strengthens connections with students and families, and ensures that it is an inclusive learning community.
- Niskayuna schools achieved the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” designation for activities during the 2016-17 school year.
- A capital project, which focuses on health and safety work, was approved by the community in December 2016.
Strategic Goal: Engage business, industry and higher education organizations to think of Niskayuna as a building block for their success.
- The district enjoys a multitude of partnerships with local and regional business, colleges, municipalities, nonprofits and others.
- Building stronger connections within the district has been a primary focus of the plan. The district Professional Development Plan calls for utilizing the expertise within the district to build capacity to improve instruction and support for students.
- Partnerships that have been developed under the plan include Schenectady County Community College and the Anti-Defamation League.
- Shared transportation services with other districts and the nonprofit Center for Disability Services, continue to grow. The district’s bus garage is a hub for these joint efforts that save taxpayers money while continuing to serve children and families.
Tenets of a Successful Strategic Plan
Niskayuna Board of Education, February 2017
- Drive the 21st century educational experience through professional development
- Ensure fiduciary and fiscal responsibilities in the creation, optimization and execution of a balanced budget
- Appropriately assess and make recommendations for the maintenance of buildings, improvements of human resource processes, and advancements in technology
- Sustain a transparent, open and communicative relationship among leadership, Board of Education, staff, students, parents and community