Our Strategic Commitments
Each year, Ferndale School Board meets to review the previous year’s success in the areas of progress and areas of greatest need, and establish future directions for Ferndale School District. In light of their dialogue, board members made minor revisions to their previous five strategic commitments and added a sixth commitment focused on safety.
Implemented August 2011 and last reviewed and revised August 2014
We are committed:
1. To enhance student learning and development.
We believe that nurturing the development and maximizing the learning of all children entrusted to our care is our highest mission. We believe that every child comes to us with unique strengths, and, supported by skillful instruction, can expand his/her abilities. Therefore, we pledge that advancing student growth will be our primary consideration in all discussions and decisions.
2. To Communicate Openly and Effectively.
We believe that good communication is vital to the success of any organization, and it is particularly critical in our public school system. Therefore, we will work to achieve regular, transparent, inclusive, two-way communication at all levels – with students, staff, parents, and community members, as well as among ourselves as School Board members.
3. To Manage Resources Responsibly and Productively.
We believe the way we allocate resources significantly impacts our ability to serve the growth and learning needs of children. Therefore, we are dedicated to the careful use of all resources — people, time, facilities, and money, along with other less tangible but essential resources like trust, vision, ideas, energy, and hope.
4. To Honor, Celebrate, and Embrace Our Diverse Community.
We believe that our public schools belong to our entire community, and our diversity makes us stronger. To capitalize on this strength, we are dedicated to energizing and integrating all aspects of our community in support of our children and their learning.
5. To Safeguard Equity and Equal Opportunity.
We believe our district cannot be truly excellent if it is not also equitable. In a democratic society built on values of fairness and justice, the concept of educational excellence must encompass not only high-quality educational opportunities for all students, but also high-level outcomes for all.
6. To Ensure the Safety of Each Student and Staff Member.
We believe that safety is a basic need and fundamental right of every person. A sense of safety is critical for learning and development to occur. Therefore, ensuring the physical, social and emotional safety of all our students and staff is an essential priority within our school system.
In addition to the six commitments, the school board adopted some beliefs related to facilities. They are—
- Physical safety is always a top priority.
- School buildings/facilities are tools that either enhance or detract from student learning.
- Personalization is an important component of quality education. Small school size is one way to achieve personalization; but there are also other ways.
- Small is a relative concept. A middle school of 400 can be too small to run a comprehensive program. An elementary school of 600 can be small enough when the physical layout includes “pods” or “houses” and the common spaces allow for multiple lunch periods and recesses.
- The most economical size for an elementary school is between 500 and 600.
- Active learning is an important component of quality education. Students learn by doing.
- In order to serve all students well at the high school level, we need to provide a variety of high school options including some that are non-traditional. Windward is a small high school option that we plan to continue.
- To create neighborhood schools and reduce transportation, elementary schools located on both the North Bellingham campus and the Custer campus would be most desirable.
- The wise expenditure of public funds involves short and long-range planning.Sometimes the quickest and/or cheapest fix is not the best solution.
- Community stakeholders need to be provided with information about school programs, finances, and facilities needs; and they need to be provided with opportunities for input. The school board needs to listen to the input and then make the final decision they believe will best serve the learning needs of all children.