Targeting the Focus Through Collaboration and Investigation

In Pingree-Buchanan’s school district, encompassing 146 students K-12, Superintendent Denise Harrington proudly explains that she is lucky to work in a community full of very caring people.

“People in this community are constantly willing and grateful to participate in activities where they are needed and can be of help.”

Harrington has 17 years of education experience in her background as a teacher and principal before being encouraged by colleagues to apply for the superintendent role which she has now held for two years.

The 2017-18 school year is full of planning for the district including prep work for a technology upgrade including access points, switches, and wiring with remote monitoring abilities; the installation of a Smart Lab; and remodeling both the Science Lab and Family and Consumer Science Lab to bring in water to both rooms and gas to the Science Lab.

“Throughout all the planning of these projects we are making sure to properly prioritize the building and grounds projects while also utilizing our own students in our Construction Tech classes to complete small projects with the school.”

The focus does not stop on facility management but also flows into addressing the needs of the recently adopted Strategic Plan which focuses on the AdvancEd priorities. Most importantly, Harrington explains how these focus areas were all targeted through collaboration and investigation.

“Many meetings were held to continue to make progress in each area. I believe the staff is motivated to work together and they continue to help each other on a consistent basis. Because of the philosophy that we must continually make progress, we meet, plan, face obstacles, solve problems, and then continue with meetings and planning.”

As we all should strive to do, Harrington instills the need to always focus on continual improvement and addressing AdvancEd priorities.

“We need to continue to work on integrating engaging activities into the classroom and ensuring teachers have the skills to increase student engagement as we look at the state’s focus and the new national ESSA laws.”

With this being Harrington’s second year as a “new” superintendent, she has shared the value she sees in the collaboration and knowledge that provided in SEEC’s superintendent meetings; a variety of professional learning opportunities and support for individual teachers and district teams.

“From a financial standpoint, the opportunities SEEC provides are not only informational but also budget friendly. SEEC involvement with the Valley City Teachers Center helps provide us with technology-based resources for STEM including Ozobots, Breakout boxes, LEGO Storystarter kits; Digitalis star lab; and the life-size whale.”

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