In Other News

As part of an initiative to improve communication throughout the district, the school administrators and Governing Board of the Sedona-Oak Creek School District met for an administrative retreat and work session Aug. 1.

During the all-day session, which was the first in what will be a quarterly series, administrators and board members collaborated on the district’s key priorities for the coming school year, including improving communication not only between the board and administration, but also between the district and the community.

“It was an excellent opportunity for all five board members and 12 district administration members to work together and discuss what we’re delivering to our students, which is really what this is all about,” Superintendent Dave Lykins said. “We also went over commitments we’re all going to make to ensure lines of communication are open.”

Toward the end of the day, the Governing Board and Lykins met to discuss goals and requests of the administration, while school administrators, including the principals of each school and district program directors, met to discuss goals and requests for the board.

The two groups then reconvened to share their work. Jennifer Chilton-Estes, the newly hired communications director and facilities use coordinator, presented the school administrators’ goals for the coming academic year.

The administrators committed to improve their communication with the board, work to present a unified front to the community and model professional educational leadership. The administrators asked the board to do the same, as well as respect the specific roles of each employee.

Board member Karl Wiseman shared similar goals and requests the Governing Board and superintendent have for the school administrators.

“You have my utmost respect and confidence,” Wiseman began, before describing the board’s commitment for each member to share their perspectives on issues the schools face, as well as communicate with administrators with respect and professionalism.

Specific commitments to improve communication between the board and school administration included members promising to attend Parent-Teacher Association and site council meetings when possible, direct concerns to Lykins before approaching school staff directly and share positive feedback more widely.

The board then requested that each member receive school newsletters and PTA and site council communications, be informed of news in advance of it appearing in local media and generally receive more communication about what’s going on at each school.

The board also asked administrators to encourage PTA and site council members to attend the district’s Governing Board meetings.

After the work session concluded, the board held its monthly meeting.

On the agenda were changes made to the district’s teacher evaluation form, as well as final approvals for new hires and other contract changes. The evaluation form changes passed in a 4-1 vote with Wiseman dissenting, and the board approved staff changes unanimously.

“This is going to be one of the district’s most important, defining years,” board President Randy Hawley said, noting the board’s and administration’s joint commitment to improving communication district-wide.

The next SOCSD Governing Board meeting will be Wednesday, Sept. 13, and the next administrative work session will be Tuesday, Nov. 28.


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