Future Forward: Pathway of Purpose
Re-Imagining the Future of Education at Cherry Creek
Where We Have Been
In August of 2018, we began the journey of creating a strategic vision for the district to advance and support our longstanding dedication to excellence. We enlisted the support of hundreds of members of our school community, which included parents, principals, teachers, students and district staff to identify specific strategies for how we as a district could maintain and build on the Cherry Creek School District’s legacy of excellence.
When the unthinkable happened and the first pandemic in a century swept through our country, shutting down businesses and schools, forcing everyone into months of isolation, Cherry Creek Schools acted. Our 9,000+ employees stepped up to this challenge with courage and conviction and we successfully transitioned from a brick-and-mortar organization to a fully remote school district.
The impact of full remote learning was felt by all students. However, we found that a significant number of our most vulnerable students felt an even greater impact. Indeed, the monumental impact of COVID-19 on learning gaps and the mental health of every student will be measured for decades.
Where We Are Today
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our society, way of life, and the educational and developmental experiences of our students. Current systems are broken and present an unparalleled opportunity to be re-imagined. Our goal shouldn’t be to “go back to the way it was,” but rather create a new reality that addresses issues shaped by the pandemic while implementing a system that better meets the needs of all students’ decades into the future.
In Cherry Creek Schools we will use this opportunity to re-imagine ourselves. From what we do, to how we do it, to create a truly equitable system that is better for all students.
Future Forward was a bold plan, but it is constrained by history and tradition. Future Forward: Pathway of Purpose must think beyond artificially imposed barriers and break self-imposed rules that work to maintain the status-quo to truly develop an organization of excellence for all students.
Where We Are Headed
The Cherry Creek School District is dedicated to connecting every one of our 55,000+ students with their own unique Pathway of Purpose. That commitment is at the heart of Cherry Creek Future Forward, the district’s roadmap for the future that builds on our longstanding dedication to excellence.
Pathway of Purpose is a mindset. It is not a tactical plan to simply get things done to meet the status quo. It is an intentional mindset to re-imagine our purpose, role, and responsibility as an educational ecosystem, to ensure our students’ educational pathway leads each student to discover and fulfill their individual purpose in life. We as a district are committed to analyzing the lessons learned from our experience through the pandemic of 2020 and apply our learning to innovate what future education must be, in order to prepare our students for life.
We will apply our critical thinking from the perspective of our students’ journey. Our work, metrics, operation, infrastructure, and resources will be redesigned from the perspective of our students’ journey. Our success is defined and measured by the whole well-beings of our students, academically, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
We are also focused on the entirety of our students' journey from when they join our ecosystem through their personal and professional journey, to when they become parents and trust us with kids of their own. Our relationship with our students and their families is not transactional. We are an intricate part of their life journey and they are the core element of our ecosystem.
How We Will Get There
Our strategic approach to re-imaging the Future of Education in Cherry Creek Schools will follow an iterative process to ensure we take the time to test out changes, make adjustments and refine before instituting district-wide. We’ll begin by understanding what causes disproportionalities between subgroups of students and the systems at play that contribute to those differences. In order to understand these causes we’ll need to engage with those who are the recipients of education, our students. We’ll also need to gain the perspective of those within our system supporting those students, which includes teachers, administrators, and parents. Once we have enough information to begin testing some solutions, we’ll leverage our Instructional Excellence teams to plan, test, observe results and act on what we’ve learned. Finally, based on the verified, successful solutions we’ll put into action our re-imaged school system.
One of the first steps in our process is to understand the experiences of those whose lives are most impacted by our decisions. Using the current Future Forward Plan as a basis to start conversations, we will engage our staff, students and parents in a conversation about how to re-imagine ourselves.
Below is a list of constituent groups who will help us in this process.