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What a Safe, Supportive, Collaborative Culture Can Do for Students

What a Safe, Supportive, Collaborative Culture Can Do for Students

by Natasha L. Adams, Superintendent & CEO
West Clermont Schools

We believe that if we redefine and retool our district-wide practices of safety, systems of support, and collaboration, we will elevate outcomes for our students specifically related to the improvement of attendance, school perception and engagement, behavior and academic performance. 

Our mission is to commit to excellence with every learner, every day, every way!  We do this by being intentional about living out our values. In West Clermont, we RISE together! 


Creating a Safe Environment
We value every child and believe that each one can learn! And, we know we are the people who can make this happen. Our work begins with making sure that our school environment is safe, orderly and welcoming. By getting to know every student's name, story, strengths and needs, we are able to create a sense of belonging and connection to our community.

West Clermont Schools is committed to continuous improvement in the areas of safety and security. To learn more about how we work together with our partners to keep our students safe, visit the Safety & Security section of our website. Additionally, follow along with the Citizens Advisory Commission (CAC) work this fall as they tackle student and staff safety topics and recommend enhancements to our current efforts.

We know we are achieving our goals when all stakeholders believe we have a safe, orderly and welcoming environment, and our staff and students are consistently living the WC values.

Creating a Supportive Environment 
In our schools we have adopted the MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports) framework. It streamlines and brings cohesion to the good work and best practices already happening in the district so that we collaborate as one in the areas of academics, behavior and career education.  In this model, our educators work to provide a systems-level approach at the right intensity according to the student’s needs. Student screening, strong Tier 1 instruction, interventions, progress monitoring, and collaborative problem-solving are key elements of this framework.

In order for classroom teachers to implement the MTSS system effectively, they too must be supported very intentionally. We have invested heavily in growing our support over the last few years in the following ways: 

  • Purchased and developed K-12 math curriculum 
  • Increased number of school psychologists, special education staff and counselors 
  • Provided user-friendly assessment and data tools
  • Given instructional coaching for job-embedded professional learning
  • Provided 1:1 technology

These enhancements were made possible with additional funds from new valuation of property after the passage of the levy and ESSER funds.

We know we are achieving our goals when all stakeholders are coming together to support student learning; when financial, operational and technological resources are managed in a way that directly supports teachers; and when teachers play a key role in the decision-making of these systems and processes.

Creating a Collaborative Culture 
A top priority in West Clermont is to facilitate collaborative conversations with our students, staff, families, community organizations, and businesses centered on improving outcomes for our learners. We believe strongly that elevating the voice of our stakeholders will be the driving force behind changing our school district culture. Building stronger relationships with all of our partners will open up the possibilities in our classrooms to include deeper learning opportunities that foster student ownership and learning experiences that build collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills.  

We take a Team of Teams approach within the District Leadership Team (DLT), Building Leadership Teams (BLT), and Teacher Based Teams (TBT) that work to provide direction, alignment and commitment to the district’s aspirational vision by meeting on a regular basis to assess progress and respond to needs. Additionally, we have blended stakeholder teams like the Business Advisory Council, Whole Child Network, PTO/As & Booster organizations, and the Citizens Advisory Commission that collaborate to enhance the student experience. Design teams are often created to support district innovations such as Course of Study Curriculum Teams, Student-Centered Learning Ecosystem Fellowship, Wellness Champions, AboutFACE (Family and Community Engagement) Team, and our Human Capital Team. A newly created team for this year is our Retention Team to address innovative ways we can support and retain our staff beyond a competitive salary.

Modern educators cannot be successful working in the traditional, isolated ways of the past.  Our master district calendar and building master schedules have been altered intentionally to provide more time and opportunities for staff collaboration and peer support so that we can more effectively reach and teach our students.

We know we are achieving our goals when teachers have roles in school decision-making, teams regularly meet to discuss curriculum, and feedback loops are available for students, staff, families and community members to positively impact learner outcomes.

Have feedback on what you’ve read?  Let us know!

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