In the Winter of 2022, after enduring two years of the pandemic and witnessing myriad changes and reorganization at the District level, our community mobilized to create a strategic plan to ensure a thriving future for Lincoln Elementary and Montessori School. Volunteers led the process to engage our community through interviews, focus groups and a vision session to build an actionable 3-year roadmap. As we look to our future, we envision a thriving, accessible, and diverse school that is exceptional, progressive, welcoming and grounded in the best educational practices.
The first phase of the strategic planning process, finalized in May 2022, focused the data and community input we collected into 5 priority areas. This phase identified where we are as a school and outlined general goals for where we want to be in 3 years’ time. Our school Mission and Vision were rewritten to better articulate who we are and what we aspire to as a community. Check out the deck below for details about community input, focus areas and goals generated in phase 1 (The Strategic Vision).
Our next phase will prioritize efforts, obtain and allocate resources, and align our community’s work into an action plan. Systems of measurement and accountability to assess our progress will be embedded in the plan at this stage. Phase 2 (the Strategic Plan) will be complete by Winter 2022: please check back for updates!
Click here to see the Strategic Vision presented to our community in May 2022.
Click here to see the Strategic Plan – forthcoming, Winter 2023.
We are already taking action to make big changes for our students, staff and parents with the direction set by our community during our Strategic Visioning this past Spring. If you’re curious to see what the Strategic process looks like in action, here are some examples of what has been initiated.
The Community Innovation and Resilience for Care and Learning Equity (CIRCLE) Grant awarded nearly $23 million in grants to child care providers and other community, education, or governmental partners to pursue innovative solutions to challenges worsened by the pandemic. This is a year-long grant for the ‘22-‘23 school year. Lincoln received $125,000 to dedicate to pandemic recovery focused on social emotional learning. Some of the partnerships and positions below are funded by the Circle Grant money we received.
Lincoln is proud to have a Restorative Justice (RJ) Coordinator on staff whose expertise in psychology, organizational culture, restorative justice practices, and social emotional learning is an asset not only for students, but for our staff, administration and families. Our RJ coordinator works throughout the school and at recess to facilitate learning and growth through techniques such as conflict-resolution, restorative conversations, and classroom connection circles.
We have contracted Playworks’ TeamUp service for the ‘22-’23 school year to provide an on-site coordinator to transform our recess culture by leading, supporting, and empowering our recess team and bringing results-driven programs to Lincoln. For 25 years, Playworks has helped schools across the nation improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities to move their bodies and engage in safe, meaningful play. Through play, children discover the joy of physical activity and learn the social and emotional skills they will use in the classroom, in the workplace, and in life. Playworks is aligned with our belief that safe and healthy play is an effective way to build a more fair and equitable future for all kids.
At a great recess, all students have real choices in how they play. They feel included in games or in imaginative play. They also feel empowered to play on their own or to start activities with other students. Playworks will be bringing many transformative approaches to Lincoln, including staff coaching, recess design and the Junior Coach Leadership Program, which puts recess culture into the hands of capable upper-elementary students. We are excited to develop a culture on our playground that empowers staff, excites students and facilitates social emotional growth and leadership skills. Click here to learn more about Playworks.
Over the next several years, we aim to increase the FTE of this position to provide more direct instruction, allow for consultation with educators and push-in to classrooms, more fully develop programming for our dedicated Innovation Space and broaden student thinking in the general education setting.
We believe that building out our GT services will support relationships and extend grade level peer groups across the Montessori and Elementary programs. Increasing GT offerings and cross-pollination between our two educational tracks was a clearly expressed need we heard from parents and students in the strategic plan focus groups. We look forward to the expansive effect this position will have for years to come.
Funded through a 2020 taxpayer bond and completed in the summer of 2022, our dedicated Innovation Space is available for all students. We will continue to work with our community partners to build out offerings, including engineering, technology, maker tools, robotics and science supplies. Check out our After School Enrichments programs to get an idea of the diverse ways we currently utilize this space beyond the everyday classroom curriculum.
Our library received a major aesthetic overhaul in the summer of 2022 at the same time our Innovation Space was completed. This window-lined room is a wonderful, bright space for children to read, relax and work that feels fresh and modern while preserving the beloved historic character that runs throughout the building.
We are transforming our paraprofessional workroom into an office for our school psychologist as well as a restorative and calming space for students. We will use funds from the Circle Grant to equip this newly dedicated space with a calming swing, sensory materials, sofas and a SEL resource library for parents and students. Our calming room will be a space for both our SEL Coordinator, school psychologist and psych intern to use for individuals and groups. We will also be extending calming spaces into the classrooms to support our social emotional curriculum and improve student transitions throughout the school.
Lincoln’s Speaker Series invites members of the extended Lincoln community to learn from inspirational people about a variety of topics throughout the year. For the 22-23 school year, we have chosen the theme: “Rebuilding relationships by honoring human dignity”. Thank you to the Circle Grant for sponsoring our Speaker Series this year, which will feature in-person and virtual engagements.
Check the school calendar for updates on the diverse, dynamic and engaging array of speakers and performers coming to Lincoln this year.
In the summer of 2022 we began a partnership with our local bookstore, Second Star to the Right, to offer classroom and library wishlists and host a school book fair. We are excited to partner with a thoughtful organization in our neighborhood that is aligned with so many Lincoln values. Owned by former teachers, this independent bookstore actively promotes the principles of fairness, equality, and social justice through their selection of books, knowledgeable staff and community events. Community members can purchase books for our classrooms and school library through this link: https://www.secondstartotherightbooks.com/shop-school-wishlists
For extra assistance in purchasing, check out this video.
Keep an eye out in our school communications for Second Start to the Right offerings throughout the year, including the book fair, discounted book sales, and events! Their shop is located at: Old South Pearl, 1455 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210.
We have begun transforming our school communications and, based on the feedback gathered through the Strategic Planning process, have developed a comprehensive plan that refines our current platforms and thoughtfully engages families. Our goal is to build a partnership with parents that fully supports students, provides a lens into academic and social emotional learning at Lincoln, and facilitates community. It is a priority for our communications to be timely, informative and sustainable.
In the Fall of 2021 we began re-envisioning our communications, which started with bi-monthly classroom emails. In the winter of that year, just before embarking on the Strategic Plan, we revamped our website. In the Spring, as we were engaged in the Strategic process, we started using MailChimp for our all-school communications, redesigned our newsletter, added a Lincoln-specific calendar and started to reconfigure the PTSA App. Many of the revisions last year were supported by a talented parent volunteer who joined the PTSA Board as a newly appointed “Communications Chair” for the ‘22-’23 year. The PTSA also added a Technology Chair position to their Board to sustain our ambitious communications goals over the next three years.
Throughout the ‘22-’23 year, some of the initiatives our communications plan will address are: continued refinement of all-school and classroom communications; adoption of an internal academic progress tracking app; strategies and goals around marketing and brand awareness; a new PTSA website to support fundraising and events; and more. We are excited to continue engaging our community and sharing all the amazing things happening at Lincoln!