It's Time to Listen Excellence & Equity REview starts this fall

As many of you know, every five years Bend-La Pine Schools convenes a Sites and Facilities Committee to review every facility in the district and identify needed modernization, maintenance, and additions. This rigorous, in-depth process is how we know where our needs are and helps us prioritize where to make investments - from installing energy-efficient windows to adding classroom space.

This year, we are taking a similar approach to examine the experiences of our students and families through the Excellence & Equity Review. The goal is to create a new relevant, rigorous and regularly-occurring process that will allow us to dig deep into the academic, social and emotional experiences of our students, particularly those from underserved populations.

This process will help us strategize for the future, as well as prioritize funding allocations, including funds from the Student Success Act.

Just as with Sites and Facilities, we anticipate this process will uncover some areas that need our attention. But ultimately knowing where we need to improve is a good thing that will only help us grow stronger together.

The process

Today, Oct. 1, we are beginning the first student listening sessions for the Excellence & Equity Review. In all, we will be hosting more than 30 listening sessions with students and families. We are also conducting parent, student and community surveys to ask about student experiences, as well as funding priorities.

We also want to hear from our staff members and hope every one of you will take time to share during this process.

This fall, every staff member within Bend-La Pine Schools will get an opportunity to participate in the Excellence & Equity Review. Principals and department heads will set up dates and times to connect. We want to hear from you regarding our strengths and areas for improvement, as well as your recommendations about funding priorities. We will be using this information to help inform the choices we make in long-term budget planning.

Looking ahead

Excellence & Equity is a huge undertaking and I'm grateful for the team of staff members who are helping do this work so we can learn from our students and families how to make our schools stronger. Thanks to each of you for lending your voice to this effort. If you have questions about logistics or details, contact Assistant Superintendent Lora Nordquist.

Our goal is for the Excellence & Equity Review to take place every three years and for this to become ingrained into our culture.

Thanks for everything you do to support our students and schools - now and in the future.

Shay Mikalson, Superintendent