Leadership teams from Birmingham Public Schools gathered for a three-day leadership planning event.

Leadership teams from Birmingham Public Schools gathered for a three-day leadership planning event.

Photo provided by Birmingham Public Schools

Birmingham Public Schools create and align goals at School Improvement Institute

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 23, 2022


BIRMINGHAM — This year, staff and administrators at Birmingham Public Schools spent part of their summer preparing for the upcoming year through a leadership planning event.

Over 80 Birmingham Public School staff members participated in the district’s first-ever School Improvement Institute at Oakland University, a three-day event July 20 and 21, and Aug. 9.

Each school brought its instructional leadership team together to develop a school improvement plan in a way that aligns with the goals of the new strategic plan, district officials said.

“That way we are all working towards accomplishing the district’s goals together,” April Imperio, the assistant superintendent of student learning and inclusion, said.

Across the nation, all schools are required to create a school improvement plan. A school improvement plan identifies goals to enhance student academic achievement.

The district’s previous strategic plan ended in 2017 and it has been rolling over through the pandemic.

This year, Birmingham Public Schools is launching a brand-new strategic plan that has been developed by its stakeholders.

“We used the opportunity of developing a school improvement plan to have a three-day leadership institute,” Imperio said.

During the School Improvement Institute, leadership teams began by participating in professional learning that helped them begin to internalize the district’s strategic plan.

“I thought it was a really intentional and designed way to make sure that the buildings were aligned with the strategic plan so that we could see some significant improvement, not only at the building, but also at the district level in terms of our academics and wellness goals,” Seaholm High School Principal Kyle Hall said.

Hall said it was helpful being in the same room as other leadership teams in the district to make sure their goals were aligned.

Imperio said leadership teams dug into the continuous improvement cycle, how to write goals, how to select high-yield strategies, and building action steps.

“We really used it as an opportunity to try to inspire us to heal from the last couple of years and move forward in a way that serves the best interest of our students,” Imperio said.

While creating their school improvement plans, staff from each school worked to develop goals for literacy and mathematics, and also for staff and student wellness.

“We have some clear areas of focus as a district that we are working on this year,”  Imperio said.

One of the focuses this year is not only supporting students aspiring to reach grade level, but also helping students who are already above grade level.

They will also focus on helping kids think about their strengths and weaknesses and how that might align with their college and career aspirations.

Hall said one of Seaholm High School’s focuses is improving literacy and working towards graduating all students at college level for literacy.

Building relationships so that students feel connected and valued is also a main wellness goal for Seaholm High School.

“Learning occurs where students feel safe, respected and heard,” Hall said. “We want to make sure our students feel like we value them both as learners and individuals.”

Imperio said she left the event feeling like they have a clear mission, concise goals and an action plan to accomplish those goals.

“It is my hope that we see our school district unify in support of achieving the goals of our strategic plan,” Imperio said.