The mission of our school district is to help each and every child realize his or her full potential and become a responsible and productive citizen and life-long learner who is able to use technology effectively and appreciate the multi-cultural society in which we live as they prepare for the challenges of the twenty-first century.
The Darlington Community School District, including school board, administration, teachers, support personnel, community members and parents, is committed to providing excellence in education to all students. To be an exemplary school, we must have a clear sense of the goals that we are trying to accomplish, a description of the characteristics of the school we seek to become and contributions that the various stakeholders in the school must make in order to transform the ideals into reality.
An exemplary school provides students with a common core curriculum complemented with a variety of elective courses and co-curricular activities. This balanced program stimulates intellectual curiosity, requires students to demonstrate that they have learned how to learn and enables them to become productive and effective citizens. The school articulates the outcomes it seeks for all of its students and monitors each student’s attainment of those outcomes through a variety of indicators. In such a school, the curriculum:
A. addresses mastery of academic skills that integrate the 21st Century Skills.
B. is aligned with the Wisconsin Academic Content Standards.
C. provides for active engagement on the part of students.
D. coordinates instructional goals throughout the grades and courses.
E. recognizes and provides for individual differences and interests.
F. integrates technology as a means to achieve particular outcomes.
G. supports innovation and commitment to continuous improvement.
H. utilizes interdisciplinary instruction.
I. supports opportunities for students to self-select topics and courses of interest.
II. Instruction and Assessment
An exemplary school realizes that each student is unique. Each student deserves the concern of those within the school. As a result each student feels that he/she is valued as a member of the school community. The teachers in an exemplary school are able to change and adapt their teaching styles to ensure that each child is given a chance to succeed. Students are given a clear indication of expectations and of their progress in achieving those expectations. In an exemplary school:
A. attention is paid to making assessment practices clear and consistent;
B. emphasis is placed on classroom creativity and student involvement.
C. emphasis is placed on connecting school learning to real-world applications.
D. students’ needs in academic areas are monitored and remediation or acceleration is provided.
E. emphasis is placed on "essential understandings’ rather than on details.
F. teachers will be facilitators, incorporating student-centered instruction and recognizing that all students do not learn the same way.
G. textbooks are not the curriculum but are viewed as tools for teaching essential understandings and the Wisconsin Academic Content Standards.
H. project-based and problem-based learning are utilized to engage students and to make learning student-centered.
I. teachers will use teaching strategies that enable all students to feel valued and to be successful.
An exemplary school has strong leadership that is committed to providing a warm and inviting climate that enables student to enjoy their school experience and results in a shared sense of pride in the school. Those in leadership positions are dedicated to improving student achievement and in promoting collaboration and creativity in the classroom. The leadership concept is extended to teachers, encouraging them to share, collaborate, model and communicate with other teachers to provide a connected curriculum. In an exemplary school, leaders:
A. promote and protect the district’s vision on a daily basis.
B. establish priorities and focus that provide a sense of direction for the district.
C. are committed to continuous improvement and providing the ongoing professional development essential to an exemplary school.
D. facilitate teacher participation in the decision-making process.
E. promote life-long learning by students and school personnel.
F. promote the use of technology in instruction, intra-school communication and school/community communication
G. facilitate positive relationships between community members, parents, staff, students, and faculty.
H. work to provide a school structure conducive to achieving collaboration and communication between teachers.
I. celebrate the achievements of all, faculty and students, and work to ensure the acceptance of diverse populations.
J. provide a safe school setting for the security and achievement of all students.
IV. Staff Development
An exemplary school has a strong, coordinated, and ongoing model of staff development. The purpose of the staff development model is to promote collaboration and communication between and among the faculty. It is further intended to stimulate critical and creative thinking on the part of faculty and administration in an effort to promote continuous improvement. In an exemplary school, the staff development program:
A. is aligned to district goals.
B. provides time for teachers and administrators to collaborate and communicate with others.
C. provides the time and a format for action research.
D. recognizes that the majority of time needs to be spent on student-centered topics.
E. provides activities/training to ensure a positive school climate.
F. promotes a sense of shared vision.
G. provides opportunities for specific training on certain topics.
H. promotes the continuous implementation of technology into instructional practices.
I. provides a forum for data analysis of state and district assessments and other school success indicators.
V. Parent/Community Support
An exemplary school district has an effective partnership with its community. The district is committed to addressing the needs of the community and establishes effective two-way communication to keep residents informed of district policies and initiatives. The community provides the district with the support that is essential. In such a district:
A. the community has endorsed the district’s vision of the schools it strives to provide.
B. the community provides the resources—personnel, facilities, materials, equipment, and time—that enable the school district to offer exemplary programs.
C. the community has ready access to the school’s resources and facilities
D. parents play an active role in the education of their children, monitor their children’s academic performance, work with teachers to emphasize the importance of education, and model a commitment to lifelong learning.
In the final analysis, the effectiveness of a school district is determined on the basis of the conduct, character, and achievement of its students. In an exemplary school district, students:
A. accept responsibility for their learning, decisions, and actions.
B. set challenging goals and give their best effort to achieve them.
C. believe in themselves and take pride in their achievements.
D. demonstrate a desire to learn.
E. become actively involved in school.
F. conduct themselves in a way that contributes to a safe, orderly, positive school atmosphere and ensures the rights of others.
G. form partnerships with their teachers in working to realize their full potential.