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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Ensuring Equal Opportunities, Maintaining Quality Teachers Among Jungmann’s 8 Goals for SPS

Scott Harvey

Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann has outlined eight actions to move the district forward.

The recommendations were presented during Tuesday night’s school board study session, and are the result of 90 days of meetings that Jungmann had planned shortly after his hire this summer.

Those goals include ensuring equity of opportunity, which Jungmann stressed can be improved through better understanding of student backgrounds and cultures.

“If you look at free and reduced students and how they’re accessing our choice programs, and if you look at schools across our district on a regular basis, and you look at technology access in the classroom – the tools for our teachers to unleash a 21st century learning environment for our kids – they’re very different from school to school,” Jungmann said.

Jungmann says that by working to identify opportunity gaps, officials can develop strategies to appropriate or adjust resources and better assist all students.

The superintendent, while praising the current makeup of SPS faculty, says the district cannot become complacent. Quality of teacher in the classroom is the number one impact on student performance, Jungmann says.

“So if we’re not getting the highest quality of people on regular basis through our process of recruitment, through our hiring process, through our development process and through our retention process then we have to reflect on those.”

Quality teachers were the highlight of a survey of 1,500 plus administered by Jungmann during his 90 day listening session. It was the number 1 measure of success for SPS among employees, patrons and parents surveyed.

Some of the survey data is what Jungmann referred to as a conversation starter, noting disconnects in the way certain success measurements were rated from students compared to that of employees, patrons and parents. Other measures, like graduation rates and reading and math proficiency, were rated more consistently but still ranked low. Given the two measurements help make up a district’s accreditation figure, Jungmann called the data a reality check for what the community wants out of education.

“And it kind of reinforces a lot of the conversation around assessment, culture and the things that have been kind of been driving education reform for a while. And I think this is a good conversation starter as we build those measures.”

Using the data presented, Jungmann wants to create a collective vision for the district within the next 60 days. His other goals focus on financial stability, eliminating barriers to 21st century tools and schools, empowering partners, fostering regional collaboration, and a realignment of the organizational structure.

View Jungmann's complete report.

Strategies and Actions   

  1. Create a Collective Vision
    • Begin a 30-60 day strategic plan review process to immediately engage community stakeholders in identifying the results desired for SPS students.
  2. Create Financial Sustainability
    • Conduct a thorough review of current spending habits over the next 6-9 months to identify and improve efficiencies and reveal new opportunities for reallocation of resources.
    • Empower employees to offer solutions to budgetary challenges and to be more engaged inconversations about maximizing resource
  3. Ensure Equity of Opportunity
    • Ensure an understanding of student backgrounds and cultures exists within district staff in order to effectively meet student needs.
    • Work to identify existing opportunity gaps and develop strategies to appropriate or adjust resources to provide equality for all students.
  4. Guarantee access to High Quality Educators
    • Investigate perceptions about SPS as an employer by seeking input from current employees.
    • Review Current hiring practices and compensation to ensure there are no processes or practices that limit the pool of applicants or inhibit the district from attracting, hiring, developing and retaining high quality educators and support staff.
    • Ensure that student and parent feedback are valued by employees and processes are put in place to listen to input.
  5. Eliminate Barriers to 21st Century Tools and Schools
    • Conduct a thorough review of technology implementation policies and strategies within the next 90 days to determine the level of success teachers and students are experiencing with the integration of technology into the classrooms.
    • Review current technology plan and ensure it aligns with best practices and district vision.
    • Identify and remove barriers to innovation.
    • Create a fiscally responsible and flexible facility master plan.
  6. Empower and Engage Partners
    • Realign responsibilities of current administration to create a single point person for community and business partnership development.
  7. End isolation and Foster Regional Collaboration
    • Break down culture of isolation by creating systemic professional development practices to ensure employees learn from and with our peers from the region, state and nation on a regular basis.
  8. Realign Organizational Structure to Meet System Goals
    • Hire a Chief Learning Officer to lead the pursuit of student success academically and non-academically while ensuring that the preK-12 system operaties in collaboration.
    • Assign leadership team members to areas where their strengths can be maximized to positively impact system performance.
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