Higley USD board approves strategic plan, core values, portrait of graduate

Dawn Foley
Higley USD Superintendent Dawn Foley presents the district's proposed strategic plan, core values and portrait of a graduate to the governing board for its approval. (Screen capture from YouTube)

Higley USD Superintendent Dawn Foley presents the district's proposed strategic plan, core values and portrait of a graduate to the governing board for its approval. (Screen capture from YouTube)

The Higley USD governing board put a final stamp of approval May 11 on a yearslong process to update the district’s strategic plan, list of core values and portrait of an HUSD graduate.

The board approved the documents on a 3-0 vote with members Kristina Reese and Michelle Anderson absent at its business meeting.

“This was a collaborative ... massive effort,” President Amy Kaylor said. “A lot of school districts, not all, hire this out. We did it within our district. We did this to make it Higley’s strategic plan.”

The board members praised the district for including all stakeholders, including the district’s youngest students on up, in the preparation of the plan.

The plan starts with a mission statement of, “We empower students to be responsible citizens with the knowledge, skills, and work ethic required for success in their future endeavors,” and defines its vision as that of “an innovative district that prepares learners for limitless opportunities.”

The district counted its core values as integrity, connections, learning centered and accountability.

The plan gives four strategic anchors:

  • Teaching and learning/student success with a goal of maximizing the academic and social/emotional growth of each student aligned to the district’s Portrait of a Graduate;

  • Highly effective personnel with a goal of establishing a climate and culture that sustains excellence and retains high-quality employees;

  • Communication and community relations with a goal of engaging all stakeholders through transparent, respectful, timely and consistent communication; and

  • Finance and operations with a goal of responsibly prioritizing resources to ensure student opportunity and success.

Each anchor has a number of indicators for the district to achieve its goal.

The Portrait of a Graduate has three listed traits:

  • Responsible citizen who demonstrates integrity and empathy through global awareness and community engagement;

  • College- and career-ready scholar who possesses the knowledge and skills needed to be successful; and

  • Innovative learner who thinks critically and creatively, works collaboratively and communicates effectively.

Budget revision

The board unanimously approved a required budget revision.

Maintenance and operations, which covers day-to-day operations including most salaries, went from $106.76 million adopted last June to $109.52 million under the revision, based mostly on enrollment, according to the district presentation.

Unrestricted capital changed slightly from $23.52 million under the original adopted budget to $23.1 million with adjustments to carryover numbers, Chief Financial Officer Tyler Moore said.

The fiscal year 2022-23 budget will go before the board next month.

Higley High School building addition

Staff and contractors presented the board with update on a Higley High School building addition to campus that will give the school more classroom space.

Preconstruction preparation on the site will begin in June with groundbreaking scheduled for September, Moore said. The building opening is anticipated for July 2023.

The building is budgeted at $10 million, and Moore said the estimates are staying within budget.

Moore said the building will be paid for from the last of 2013 bond funds, which will be about $2.5 million, with the remainder coming from unrestricted capital funds.

Other items

  • The board unanimously approved policy revisions on instructional resources and materials, the selection and adoption of instructional materials, student discipline and reporting child abuse/child protection.

  • The board unanimously approved the purchase of science textbook ancillary materials at a cost of $1.8 million, which Moore reported as being under budget.

  • The board unanimously approved an amendment to an agreement with Maricopa County Community College District for dual-enrollment courses that requires online dual-enrollment instructors to participate in professional development regarding to best practices in online instruction and online student engagement.

  • The board revised its top five legislative priorities for the Arizona School Board Association, dropping out managing the impact of COVID-19 on public schools and adding to fully fund full-day kindergarten and include kindergarten students in the override calculation.

By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.