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Dr. Zambreno Highlights First 90 Days as Superintendent

After 90 days as Superintendent of South St. Paul Public School, Dr. Zambreno highlights his first three months on the job. Speaking at the school board meeting, Monday, June 13th, Dr. Zambreno talks about what he has observed during his time visiting our schools and meeting with stakeholders, staff, and community members.

Phase I: Listen and Learn

The first part of Dr. Zambreno's entry plan was to get out to the SSPPS sites and hear from stakeholders about what's working and what they are concerned about. He highlights some of the strengths our district has that became apparent during his meetings. He also noted the opportunities for improvement he found during his conversations and areas of concern. 

Strengths Dr. Zambreno identified:

  • Packer Pride, "I knew this was a proud town, but I will say the pride here is second to none. The sense of Packer pride transcends everything throughout the entire community."
  • Support for Schools, "The community groups that I talked to are always involved and supportive at events for anything we may need."
  • Student Involvement, "It's easy for students to be involved in multiple and a variety of extra-curricular activities. It's an advantage of our small district size, it creates a lot of opportunity for our kids."
  • Tri-District Partnership, "We partner well with some of our neighbors which helps us create more opportunities for our students and community."
  • Focus on Individual Student Needs, "At all levels we have a strong commitment to looking at our students as the individuals they are and what they need to be successful."
  • Committed & High Quality Staff, "We have all of these opportunities for our kids to be involved and that requires committed staff to fill the roles necessary to make that happen."
  • Amazing Students, "Our students are amazing at all levels. The curiosity they show and the ingenuity."

Areas of Focus Dr. Zambreno Identified:

  • Culture and Climate, "The reality is that the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on young people. The amount of trauma they've been through with the uncertainty of school and changes that took place."
  • Academic Programs & Systems, "Academic achievement is a point of focus for us moving forward. It will be a high priority of mine."
  • Enrollment, "That's something that's been heavily spoken about and passionate about understanding. We are doing studies and will be a priority as we move forward.”
  • Facilities, "How do our facilities help us get to the outcomes we want around academics?"

Phase II: Analyze and Plan

In the second part of Dr. Zambreno's plan, he discusses the first steps to be taken in identifying and implementing needed changes. The leadership team and School Board will begin work on a long-term strategic plan. Within that plan, with help from outside companies, will be a thorough look at SSPPS enrollment. Using census and other data points to dive deeper into enrollment numbers and see what changes could have an impact. 

Another focus area of phase II will be Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). Dr. Zambreno says part of this plan will be to take a close look at our academic programs and make sure the results the systems are designed to get are working. One of those will be social-emotional learning and how we can help our students develop restorative mindsets. The last piece to MTSS will be a look at equity. Dr. Zambreno says, "We can't be concerned about each and every individual without having an equity mindset and approach toward our work."

Funding and Facilities was the last part of phase II. Dr. Zambreno spoke about the financial cliff the schools will soon be facing and what we need to learn from the community. He spoke about a survey currently underway by Morris Leatherman to randomly selected SSP residents to get a feel on where they might support the district in terms of operating dollars. Also underway is a facility study to look at the health of our buildings. It also looks at how we use our facilities to make sure we are maximizing them in a way that is efficient and effective to the get outcomes we are looking for.

In closing, Dr. Zambreno says, "We have amazing students and amazing staff. What a great place to be. The Packer pride is felt within the community, I feel like I've won the lottery to get to be the Superintendent here. I look forward to partnering through the strategic planning process in the days, weeks, and months ahead to propel us toward a bright future. I've said it before, we're going to be small, but we're going to be mighty."


Watch Dr. Zambreno's presentation to the school board in the video below