Park City superintendent plans to improve communication, processes in district | ParkRecord.com

Park City superintendent plans to improve communication, processes in district

The new superintendent of the Park City School District wants to go back to the basics.

Jill Gildea, who assumed the role on Aug. 1, said she plans to focus on rebuilding the district's processes from the ground up while using the recently crafted strategic plan to do so. She hopes to improve communication within the district and with the community as well as update teaching techniques to be in line with today's world.

To start, she is using operational plans, or shared documents that specify who is doing what and when they need to complete it by. That way, she said everyone can be united in its efforts and know what they and others are expected to do to keep on pace with achieving district goals.

Since the district is welcoming several new positions the upcoming school year, she said having a common understanding of what the district is doing is vital.

Under her new structure, when a new initiative is brought to the district's table, district leadership can then slow down, fill out a chart and realize what needs to happen to implement the new program successfully.

Community members and district employees have expressed concerns in the past with the district's tendency to quickly change initiatives within schools. Although Gildea supports innovative new programs in classrooms and schools, she said communication about new programs can be better explained to all stakeholders.

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She hopes the new operational plans will improve that communication.

"It helps us all document our path toward the mission and vision," she said. "Everything we do will be focused on the mission."

That mission, which was written by the Park City Board of Education with help from community members who attended work sessions last fall, is defined as "inspiring and supporting all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential."

Gildea said she is eager to "bring the community's vision of its schools to life," which she said is one of her favorite tasks of leading a district.

Another change that Gildea hopes to bring to the district is improved training for incoming employees, as well as ongoing training for administrators. This year, she plans to train administrators about new teaching techniques to equip students with skills to succeed after graduation.

She said teaching the "whole child" is part of that.

"You don't just focus as a school district on reading and math," she said. "It's a more comprehensive look at the child. So you look at academic, behavioral, social and emotional well-being and learning."

Gildea said the district has already taken steps to focus on the whole child, and she hopes to continue those efforts, especially as they relate to mental health.

The district has also focused heavily on safety and security over the last two years, which has become a responsibility that Gildea said might be better supervised under another administrative position. She suggested that a deputy superintendent be hired to oversee safety and security as well as child nutrition, master planning and other operational duties that have previously been performed by the business administrator and superintendent positions.

The Board is currently receiving applications to fill the position.

Gildea's responsibilities would then focus on instructional support for administrators.