Superintendent Baker's First 90 Days
I am honored to serve as the superintendent of Brooklyn Center Community Schools. While I started this role in January 2018, I have been a member of the community as principal of Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM since 2013. BCCS is a special place for our students and staff. I hope to continue the great work that’s currently in progress and to continue growth in other areas. During my first 90 days, I met with many staff members, students, families and community partners to listen to their experiences in BCCS through listening sessions.
Groups were very honest about strengths and challenges they see in the district. After each listening session, I provided a response about how we can partner to address the challenges in our system.
By learning more about our strengths and areas of improvement, I am excited to lead our organization towards completing our strategic plan.
Dr. Carly Baker, Superintendent of Brooklyn Center Community Schools
Learning, Listening, Leading
Goal 1: Strengthen positive and productive Board-Superintendent relationships
Our school board members are passionate about serving the needs of each of our students. As representatives of the greater BCCS community, I’ve established regular communication opportunities with each board member. We’ve also worked together to establish board priorities and set a commitment to their ongoing development as board members. Board members attended a retreat and a training session hosted by the Minnesota School Boards Association. There is an additional training opportunity scheduled for June. I look forward to working with our school board representatives as we work to increase student achievement through the strategic plan roadmap.
Goal 2: Establish a clear strategy for continued growth in safety, security, and climate for all staff and students
During listening sessions, it was apparent that creating a safe, positive and productive school climate is a priority for students and staff. I also reviewed data from the 5 Essentials survey, which measures staff perceptions around climate and other essential areas for school success. The data indicated there is work to do, which is one reason why we will establish the Climate Advisory team beginning this summer.
Last fall, we received notice from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that we were identified, along with other public school districts and charter schools, as having significantly disproportionate suspensions for students of color as well as for students receiving special education. The Climate Advisory team will develop a plan to address these inequities and this work will help improve the school climate for all students. It will take each member of the BCCS team to commit to our continued strategic plan work around identifying and eliminating bias in our practice.
Additionally, as construction work begins in our buildings, we will work with operations to ensure alignment with safety and security in these facilities upgrades.
Goal 3: Strengthen family and community engagement and communication
Our students’ success relies on a close relationship between school and home. Parents and family members play an important role as partners in their students’ learning. We want to regularly invite families to have a seat at the table so their voices are heard. I reviewed meeting structures and practices to ensure they are equitable and meet the needs of our community.
As a Community Schools district, we also value the partnerships we have with community and external organizations. I have met with leaders from community groups and the City of Brooklyn Center to learn what they value in a partnership with our school district. This work helps to ensure all of our children are socially, mentally, and physically prepared for an ever-changing world.
As we plan for next year and beyond, I will create an engagement plan that includes non-traditional outreach with families. It is my hope that we can create a culture with our families that supports and prepares students for college success.
To help solicit regular feedback, I will also establish a site leader advisory group and process to receive input.
Goal 4: Promote and ensure a positive and collaborative climate focused on student achievement
My first 90 days as superintendent of BCCS were focused on listening -- really listening -- to all of our stakeholder groups. I want to learn what it’s like to serve breakfast each morning, to safely bring our students home each evening, and how we’re preparing our students for a lifetime of success. In addition to listening, it’s also important that we continue to use data to inform discussions of our current reality so that we can create a collaborative culture focused on student achievement.
As a Centaur, there is so much to be proud of and I want to celebrate our student and staff achievement on a regular basis. I’ve continued the use of My BC updates to share with staff about news and accomplishments. During school board meetings, we’ve added a time for staff to share their Centaur Pride. Work will continue to create regular communication opportunities to celebrate our students and staff.
During my time as Principal of Brooklyn Center STEAM, I told my students and staff each day that “today is a great day to be a Centaur.” Everyone in and beyond our community should understand that everyday is a great day to be a Centaur.
Goal 5: Increase organizational effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability
By establishing regular check-ins with department and site leads, I shared my expectations and vision to ensure we are in alignment with our work. I learned where we are and where we want to be. We created mid-year and end-of-year budgeting timelines to help identify needs. Our budgeting and creation of new positions directly connects to meeting our strategic plan goals. We’re entering an exciting time in BCCS with the construction that will begin in the next few months. Our facilities will finally match the outstanding caliber and talents of our students and staff and I am so excited to partner with our community on this journey.
Next Steps – Beyond 90 Days
I learned so much about our district by listening to our stakeholders. Looking forward, district and site leaders will engage with families to determine how we can best meet their needs. We want to make our schools fun, inviting and welcoming for all. By partnering with and learning from our families, we can create meaningful engagement opportunities.
We’ll also continue envisioning and executing our equity work outlined in the strategic plan. Specifically, this means addressing our schools’ climate and safety. We will create space for all viewpoints to be expressed and received through culturally and linguistic practices. The next phase of this work will focus on coaching and support for staff and creating the on-boarding process for new staff.
At Earle Brown, we’ve started implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The foundational design is underway this spring and teams will continue to design and receive training over the summer months. We see PBIS as a positive approach to make schools safer and improve student behavior and we’re excited to get this work underway yet this school year. At Brooklyn Center STEAM, we’re continuing our work in restorative practices. Planning, foundational design and training will take place this summer for all staff.
Across the district, we are identifying specific planning to meet the developmental distinctions for our students that’s unique to each site. We will also provide intervention training for teachers and a systemic response for how we can better meet the needs of our students who present with academic, social-emotional and/or behavior needs.
There is much work to be done and my hope is that this work can be done in partnership with our staff, families, students and community.