Transforming Our Schools
Dear Community Members,

The mission of the Green Bay Area Public Schools is to ensure that every child is well prepared to find their way to success in life - to be college, career and community ready, inspired to succeed in our diverse world. To that end, we have been working diligently to ensure that we have a robust portfolio of pathways, systems of academic and behavior interventions, as well as experiences and opportunities to meet the unique and individual needs for each and every child we serve. 

We have also seen a significant uptick in the percentage of students graduating from our schools - up 4.6% over the last two years, and 12 of our schools improving their ranking on the state issued report cards. Programs such as the Academy and Turbocharge with College Credit are critical additions changing our District’s trajectory. While we have been making progress, we also know that we are still not closing gaps fast enough in some of our schools. Therefore, we need to accelerate the learning in our schools with the greatest needs.

Beginning last spring, I have had the opportunity to participate in a statewide urban Leadership Learning Community which includes the Big Five school districts (which includes Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha and Racine) as well as the Department of Public Instruction and the Urban League, working in collaboration “to build the capacity of education leaders to implement supports and interventions to turnaround schools most in need of improvement.” Our collective goal is to identify issues and share research-evidenced best practices to turn around our most challenging urban schools. 

As part of our efforts with the Department of Public Instruction and the Big Five school districts, we’ve been working in partnership with the American Institutes for Research known as AIR. This organization is focused on district and school improvement - their success in providing technical assistance and support in leading school improvement is noteworthy, with a track record of turning around schools.

In February, I shared that the District has been pursuing a comprehensive plan to change the trajectory of our schools in greatest need. As we begin this process, we are planning to implement two key evidence-based efforts to transform our schools. One such effort is focused on implementing a turnaround model to change the trajectory of a school. We have seen great success at Fort Howard Elementary, where the District, in partnership with the Department of Public Instruction and a state and board approved turnaround partner, moved Ft. Howard from the bottom 5% of schools in the state to a school that is exceeding expectations on the state report card. We have identified Washington Middle School as the first secondary school in the District where we will be implementing a turnaround model. Our search for a turnaround principal is in progress and we hope to have an announcement of the name of the new principal very soon. The selected principal will have experience with turnaround schools, and success in improving academic achievement for all students. He or she will have a track record of implementing innovative approaches to school climate and culture and demonstrated high expectations of students and staff - resulting in increased student achievement.  

In addition, we are bringing forward to the Board of Education a recommended turnaround support partner, to assist with school improvement efforts focused on data-driven decision making, visioning, problem solving and driving results. We expect to replicate what we learn from our experience transforming Washington Middle School and implement similar strategies to transform other District schools.

Work is also underway in the development of community schools. In partnership with United Way, we are in the process of putting into place strategic measures to implement this evidence-based success model in one or more of our schools prior to the fall of 2018. Stay tuned for further information. 

As a school district, we have been on a very important journey to ensure that all students graduate college, career and community ready. Our journey has resulted in strengthening community partnerships, enhancing programming and opportunities across the District, collaborating with our higher education partners so that all students will graduate with college credit (Turbocharge), to name a few. Through the development and implementation of community schools, we are taking another important step which will have a long and sustainable impact on the District as a whole, providing our youngest students, no matter what their life circumstances, with the academic, emotional and social supports needed to remove barriers between them and success.

Michelle Langenfeld Signature
Michelle S. Langenfeld - Superintendent 

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