Superintendent Video Transcript for August 2019

Welcome everyone to a new school year. Hopefully your summer was good like mine. I'm Terry Wilding, and I'm standing here in front of the MSAB campus. First, I'd like to let you know what happened at last June's board meeting. We collected your feedback and finalized our new logo for our schools. We have one main logo for the entire academies, and then we have two sub logos for each campus. I'll show you those logos right here.

 

(Description: We have three logos in the shape of a shield with a banner. At the bottom, each shield has the shape of Minnesota in the center with a star indicating the location of Faribault. The banners at the bottom say Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind, then Minnesota State Academy for the Blind and Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf and then below these three shields are the horizontal logos of each.)

 

Also, as I explained in my June and July videos, we really have to tighten up our budget this year, so we looked at different programs and tried to figure out ways that we can make our programs more efficient, and at the same time, meet the changing needs of our students and staff. So the board and managers came up with some ideas of different areas that we can tighten things up and other areas that we'll continue to look at in the future. Some changes we have upcoming are  with the dorm directors. We looked at our dorm programs and decided to close one hallway in the blind school dormitory. Also, we used to have five lead residential educators -- three on the deaf campus and two on the blind campus. So we decided to try to change that and eliminate those positions and now have two assistant program coordinators, one for each campus. That will bring us more efficiency and communication support and training for staff, families, and parents. That will also give us an opportunity to have one person on each campus for That will also give us an opportunity to have one person on each campus for That will improve our safety and security of our students and everyone on each campus. So that's the biggest change. We're looking at other positions as well and shifting some duties around as needed. We'll continue to do program evaluations and looking at what we can do. A part of the superintendent's goal for this year is to assess each program and how it can be run more efficiently and make sure that we're maximizing the use all of our resources, time and staff to the best of our ability. So you'll see more information about that throughout the year as we study different programs and make shifts accordingly. 

 

I'd like to show that every summer is the busiest time for our maintenance department. You'll see different projects that we've accomplished across both campuses. You'll notice... as you take a look around, you'll see different things like mowing, trees being trimmed, parking lot being painted, sidewalks replaced. And inside the buildings we have different improvements like painting, repairs new chillers, new fire panels, new water meter. It's a whole list of about 50 different projects that occurred throughout this summer. We also have some planned projects that are going through the bidding and contracting process right now so you'll see even more work being done. For example, the FACS classroom at the blind school. There's a gym project at the deaf school and several other projects so I'll be giving updates as the projects are complete. I'll share those with you in our next video.

 

(Description: we have the camera panning across MSAB campus where we see the paved lot and trees are being trimmed.)

 

Here in Noyes Hall now. You can see behind me this monitor is part of our new mass communication system. We just installed monitors into Quinn Hall, Smith Hall and Noyes Hall. In phase two, we will expand this communication system throughout both campuses where we can have a full system fully connected. We'll install different monitors that will allow us to communicate with our students, staff, and visitors in case of an emergency or any event. And at the same time, we can use this for everyday communications, like promotional information, news, announcements and so forth. We'll start using this right away this fall. 

 

I also want to give you an update in regards to our strategic plan. If you remember back in November, we voted on our new strategic plan and set up various committees to work on the

goals of the plan. Then in June we collected all the information of activities that each committee has done and we compiled that into a report that we shared with the board during the July retreat. That report is now posted on our website. You can take a look at it there to see the

different activities and things that have been accomplished in the last six months. In regard to our strategic plan, we expect that this year each committee will again convene and take a look at what they've accomplished and then develop action steps to plan for this year's work and they'll begin their work and continue throughout the year to grow our different programs at school.

 

I also want to explain that we have annual goals for our school. We've worked with the board every year to develop annual goals, and these goals are to address different ways that we can improve our school. This year at our retreat we looked at different information and decided to select three goals for the year. They're considered superintendent or district-wide goals. The first goal is to make sure that the strategic plan committees are continuing to do their work and that they have the appropriate resources, time, money, and equipment to do their jobs to continue improving the programs in the five areas of the strategic plan. The next goal, of course, addresses enrollment which everyone is concerned about. We want to make sure that our program attracts more students and families to come to our school. So that's an important action step and to create ideas to really reach out to more people across the state of Minnesota. Our third goal is what we call program evaluation plan. We will be working on developing criteria and a plan for how we can evaluate each program. That will then help us find areas where we can

improve and invest our money, staff, and resources to really maximize efficiency. Again, as I mentioned before, with these three goals together, we hope to see an increase in enrollment for our schools. So these are our main goals for this year.

 

I'm here now in front of Wilkins Hall, which is where we had our board retreat last July. What happens at a board retreat is we come together to have different presentations and training to help board members understand their job and understand the school better. We talked about the strategic plan, enrollment, and we had a guest come to talk about developing leadership, trust with employees and different topics throughout the day.  This summer we also have changes in our board every year - we elect new officers, so this year's new officers are Alex Caddy as board chair. He's actually the first deaf chair of the MSA board. In the past twice, we've had blind board chairs. Now then we have vice chair Jan, and the officer of business affairs which is kind of a board secretary position. This is held by Benga Ogungbe, and he is our business and finance expert. So those are the three new board officers. We also determined different committees and meeting schedules and things that we would work on throughout the year. If you'd like to see a schedule of board meetings you can take a look at our website. Everything will be listed there. 

 

In other exciting news in regard to Wilkins Hall, we were just notified this summer that we received an award from Finance and Commerce. They have a publication recognizing different top projects in the state of Minnesota for the year 2018, and this building was recognized as one of the top architectural designs. We received the award in July and it is placed here in Wilkins Hall. It's nice to be recognized as being design-friendly for deaf people: very open and accessible, and being recognized as a wonderful building.

 

(Description: here we have an image of the award that says top projects of 2018, Finance

and Commerce recognizing Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf Wilkins Hall.) I'm now sitting in front of the bus stop at the Deaf school. I'm here sitting on a bench which is one of many projects that happened over the summer. Our alumni and friends contributed funds to purchase ten benches which have been installed across the deaf school campus. This is to help people have a place to sit while they're waiting for the bus, or waiting for pickup or other reasons. It's a very nice addition to our campus. 

 

Every year we have new staff members that join us in a variety of positions. I'll show you slides here where you can see the names of the new staff members and where they will work. We have several new names on that list. At the same time, we have more coming up soon and I'll

introduce these new employees as they are hired.

 

(Description: new staff in MSA Student Support Services we have Kelsi Ernst, speech language pathologist. In MSAD Instructional Services, Becky DeGroot as SEPA. MSAB Student Life, Craig Hearn as assistant dorm programs coordinator.  In MSA Food Services, we have Chris Argentina, food service worker at MSAD, and Brett Shepherd as a cook at MSAB. We also have at MSA Physical Plant Operations Sarah Roush in Central Supply.)

 

And now as we wrap up, I would like to share with you that one of my goals is to improve communication with students, staff, families, parents, alumni, and other people involved with the

school. So if you have ideas of what you need for me to communicate better with you, please contact me at our website. There's a Contact Us link where you can fill out your ideas of what you think we should do, and I'll try to incorporate your ideas in my monthly communications with you.

 

And that concludes our video for this month. I look forward to having a wonderful year with all of you and I'm sure I'll see you through different meetings or different groups. If you ever had the opportunity, come by and say hi. Here's to a wonderful 2019-2020 school year.