During a recent conference I had the opportunity to hear Todd Berry, President of The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, (https://wistax.org/) discuss demographic forecasts for the State of Wisconsin through 2040. Mr. Berry’s monthly publication is widely considered one of the most nonpartisan and objective sources of information on the use of taxpayer resources in our State. During this session, Mr. Berry focused on the impact of population changes our state will face in the three decades between 2010 and 2040. Reputable studies show that during this thirty year period Wisconsin will face some very significant demographic shifts. In fact, it is anticipated that the 19-26 year old population will remain relatively stagnant during that time while the population 60 years and older will double in size.
Should these predictions remain accurate our State will be faced with a potentially severe decline in workforce candidates to support a growing economy. What does this mean for the Oostburg School District? First, our mission “To prepare students to be productive and positive contributors to our society and the world” takes on new meaning. We absolutely must have a focus which insures that all of our students graduate ready to further their education or begin a career. Simply put, all students must learn at high levels allowing them to achieve our mission. This means a continued focus on increased literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coursework with rigorous expectations that challenge our students to be their very best.
Our strategic focus has been firmly grounded in literacy and as that work continues we are now aggressively tackling improvements in our STEM curriculum. We are looking at course offerings as well as scope and sequence to ensure we are providing students with opportunities for authentic high level work. We are investing in staff positions which enhance our STEM programming. We are assessing our expectations against external benchmarks like the ACT, Workkeys, AP scores, and College Placement results to make sure rigor is not simply a word we casually toss around. We have revamped our student services department to allow for improved support for students as they plan for their futures. We have increased the learning opportunities for our staff so they are fully prepared to take their already strong classroom leadership to the next level.
Each of these areas of focus comes with specific action steps that are part of our strategic plan, and more than ever we depend on a strong partnership with our parents and community members to reach our goals. Specifically, we encourage parents to be involved in the course planning and selection process. Take advantage of communication opportunities with our guidance department, encourage rigorous scheduling, and help your child set aggressive goals that will prepare them for a changing Wisconsin! In my next blog I look forward to sharing how we are using the 2013 Community Survey results (http://oostburg.k12.wi.us/pdfs/Oostburg_2013_Survey_Report.pdf) to inform our decisions.
Enjoy this day!
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