Producing intended outcomes

Posted by Jim Schlacter on 1/9/2019

Dear Riverdale Community,

Five months into my tenure as Interim Superintendent and I am now past first impressions and knee-deep into the important work of supporting our students’ education. That means keeping one foot in the day-to-day, current year work, while the other is strategically planning for the future. Rather than boring you with the daily tasks I tackle, I would like to characterize my work in terms of the intended outcomes being produced. 

Four terms come to mind when I reflect on the work happening at the district and school levels: efficiency, effectiveness, clarity and collaboration

It is all too often the case that a government agency, such as a school district, has practices that confuse and frustrate staff and community alike. Efforts are underway to streamline and establish user-friendly processes and increase clarity for all. Our goal is to save both time and money, and have systems that work well in our small district. 

We are also working to maximize the revenue available to support student learning. For example, we are tapping into non-general fund resources at the state and federal levels to address facility needs. Our first project is to audit the lighting in our districts’ classrooms and use state money for upgrades and improvements. This may sound like a small matter, but having appropriate lighting is an important part of providing quality learning environments for students. 

With support coming from multiple community partners, such as our Parent Teacher Clubs and Riverdale School Foundation, the ability to collaborate is critical. In my continuing interactions with organization leaders and our administrative team, I am working to maintain clear lines of communication that will unify our work, help break down silos and foster understanding of the important work done by others. 

Clarity of purpose and direction is our primary goal in creating a renewed strategic plan. Riverdale will be well served to have a high-quality plan for the future that clearly outlines our community’s visions for our schools now and in the future. The interactions of the 35 hard-working members of our Strategic Planning Team and the feedback provided by eight varied groups during input sessions have provided valuable information to move us forward. 

I am inspired and energized by this important work and grateful for the opportunity to serve as your superintendent. 


Jim Schlachter