Letter from the Superintendent
Greetings Arrowhead High School Community,
In my letter this month, I hope you’ll enjoy learning about three different topics:
An opportunity to share your opinions on a community survey,
Arrowhead High School being recognized as a 2016 Top Workplace, and
Mother’s Day is coming up.
Community Facilities Planning Survey and Possible November Referendum
The Arrowhead Union High School District’s School Board has renewed its focus this school year on updating Arrowhead’s Long Range Facilities Master Plan as it considers the campus-wide facilities’ needs for a potential November 2016 referendum.
Arrowhead has not pursued additional revenue through a referendum in 17 years, since 1999. Unfortunately, school districts needing to use referenda has become the norm in Wisconsin. A filtered search of the WI Department of Public Instruction’s Custom Referenda/Resolutions Reports webpage indicates approximately 310 of the 424 school districts in Wisconsin have proposed one or more referendum questions since funding to public schools was significantly reduced in 2010-11. Some districts have pursued more than one referendum during these last five years. During the recent April 5th election alone, 53 school districts asked one or more referendum questions, with 77% of them passing.
School districts are often asked, “Why don’t you save up and budget for maintenance needs?” We too have been asked this question and the answer is yes, Arrowhead indeed budgets proactively for infrastructure and maintenance needs, such as roofing, heating/air conditioning, flooring, plumbing, safety systems, technology wiring, etc. In fact, over the last six years, over $10 million has been spent in these areas; an average of about $1.6 million each year. With nearly 500,000 square feet of buildings to maintain and many naturally aging building systems, we simply cannot keep up with the infrastructure needs as part of the general operating budget. The district strives to financially protect the community’s investments in Arrowhead’s buildings and infrastructure. Now, it is no longer feasible to dedicate that same level of spending on infrastructure maintenance, within the state funding scenario, without compromising the high quality educational programs and services provided to Arrowhead students.
With input from the School Board, administrators and staff, Eppstein Uhen Architects, and Miron Construction, preliminary options with estimated costs have been developed to address the identified facility needs. Before the School Board can further prioritize the projects for a potential November referendum, feedback is needed from as many district residents as possible. To collect this feedback, the district hired School Perceptions LLC, an independent Wisconsin-based firm with expertise in conducting surveys.
Important information to know about the upcoming Community Survey:
The survey will be distributed through the US Mail Service, to every household within the Arrowhead residency boundaries.
The survey should arrive in your mailbox around May 9th.
All survey responses are kept confidential and returned directly to School Perceptions.
Each survey contains a randomly generated individual access code on the front cover. This code can only be used once. To obtain a second survey for another adult in the household, residents can simply call the District Office at (262) 369-3611, ext. 4110.
To save on district expenses, residents are encouraged to complete the survey online. However, a postage-paid return envelope will also be included with the hard-copy survey, should that be a more convenient method for some participants.
All Arrowhead parents and staff members will receive an email directly from School Perceptions regarding the Community Survey, and an email message from Arrowhead, as a reminder to take the survey.
Arrowhead area residents and staff members will have until May 25th to complete the survey.
School Perceptions will present the findings of the survey results during a June School Board Meeting.
Feedback from this community-wide survey will be very important to the School Board to inform decision-making regarding a potential referendum and the possible projects to include in a referendum question(s). Please, take the survey-- your voice matters!
Arrowhead: A 2016 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplace
We were pleased and proud to be nominated by a teacher last fall for a Top Workplace Award. While earning the award is certainly a wonderful honor, that recognition is just frosting on the cake. The administrative team is most enthused about receiving feedback from nearly every staff member through a research-based, anonymous survey. Ninety percent, or 209 Arrowhead employees, chose to participate in the survey covering 19 different work environment topics.
Arrowhead’s greatest level of employee satisfaction fell into the categories of:
Referral to others - “I would strongly recommend working at Arrowhead to others”
Connection - “My job makes me feel like I am part of something meaningful”
Execution - “New ideas are encouraged at Arrowhead”
Alignment - “Arrowhead operates by strong ethics and values”
A common characteristic of top workplaces is striving for continuous improvement. Our staff survey results indicated Arrowhead’s greatest opportunity for improvement fell into the category of Connection- “I feel well-informed about important decisions at Arrowhead.” Approximately 20% of the staff felt there was room for growth in this area. With that feedback in mind, several communication efforts have been enhanced including more update-emails to staff, sharing of top administration's meeting minutes with department chairpersons, individual meetings between the superintendent and each new teacher/faculty member, and this Arrowhead Advisor district e-newsletter being disseminated to staff a day before it is emailed to the broader Arrowhead community.
We are proud to be named as a Top Workplace, particularly because very few school districts earn this recognition, but especially because the judges were our very own Arrowhead Team members!
May 8th is Mother’s Day this year (hint, hint to the children and fathers out there). In the U.S., the day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the Battle Hymn of the republic, as a day dedicated to peace. In 1914, President Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day as a national day of recognition.
A little tribute to all moms…
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone
Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories. ~ J. Wilmot
Dads, please don’t feel left out. I will provide some Father’s Day trivia/sentiments next month for you, too. Moms, I hope you feel happy, proud and appreciated on your special day!
Enjoy your day,