In our quest to become national leaders in reinventing education, NAPLS began an effort in 2009 to strategically plan for the future. Through the generous sponsorship and support of Corna Kokosing and the New Albany Community Foundation the district was able to launch a benchmarking study to seek out the best public school systems in the nation. The search led us to Minnetonka, Minnesota. NAPLS formed a committee to lead this effort, the Benchmarking Advisory Board, and together we engaged in dialogue and discussion regarding our vision and mission. We explored and considered innovative schools, businesses and professional readings to inform our work. We now have a completed product that is available for public review.
Through the extensive work and data analysis process in the Benchmarking study, six key themes emerged from the Minnetonka Public Schools:
- Theme 1 – The needs of every student are at the center of all decisions, and multiple opportunities and supports are provided to prepare students for global citizenship in the 21st century.
- Theme 2: The district has created a culture of high expectations, rigor, and intellectual inquiry for both students and staff.
- Theme 3: A visionary, forward‐thinking commitment to innovation is powered by research and data and serves as a constant force for growth.
- Theme 4: Clear alignment and unity of purpose result from strong leadership at all levels championing the vision and focusing on the district strategic plan.
- Theme 5: Mutually supportive relationships, active community involvement, and public recognition and celebration foster a deep sense of pride and commitment.
- Theme 6: Communication with both internal and external groups is an ongoing, engaged, two‐way dialogue that is listening, learning, and growth‐minded.
Each of the six key themes described above illustrate best practices that are informative for New Albany as we strive to continue improving educational opportunities for all of our students.
We look forward to continuing our work on incorporating these research findings into our work in the New Albany – Plain Local School District. We also look forward to launching our international benchmarking research in January 2013. Benchmarking with other highly innovative and high performing organizations unleashes our imaginations, challenges us to continuously learn, and sparks our innovations.
Special thanks to the 40-member Benchmark Advisory Board for the extensive amount of work and effort that went into this project.