Purdy school districts' strategic plan progressing

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Building, technology improvements head list of gains

Building improvements have contributed to major progress made on the five-year strategic plan for the Purdy school district.

The district targeted 36 projects in its first year. Superintendent Steven Chancellor documented significant progress on 27, eight completed, and modifications to capture the intent of the action in one case. In the second year, 22 projects saw significant progress, 22 were completed and one was modified to capture the intent.

Chancellor detailed progress on four strategies. In the effort to upgrade and expand existing facilities, the high school gym entryway was remodeled, capacity of the cafeteria increased, classroom trailers were removed and carpet or area rugs were added at the entry to elementary classrooms.

Major progress included increasing exterior lighting, upgrading the baseball and softball facilities and setting maintenance schedules for roofs and the heating and cooling systems. On security, the district established a direct line of communications with the Barry County E-911 system. The number of security cameras in and out of the school increased.

Several projects remain under consideration. Chancellor would like to see a FEMA storm shelter and a bus building constructed. The addition of security cameras on school buses and increasing the entrance visibility for the middle school office are also on the.

The plan also calls for purchasing a floor covering for the high school gym, upgrading the elementary gym and floor, paving the parking area in front of the recycling center and eliminating the outdoor classroom to create additional parking. To improve energy efficiency, the plan calls for replacing outdated windows throughout the entire school campus.

The second strategy concentrated on hiring exceptionally-qualified employees. Chancellor reported the district had increased the base salary schedule, developed a more uniform and specific screening process for applicants and expanded the mentoring program. The district now offers a competitive compensation and benefits package, and more frequent observation by administrators to provide feedback on teaching strategies. The district eliminated the procedure that allowed parents to select teachers for their children.

Progress was made in raising available employee benefits, developing job descriptions and written expectations for extra duty assignments, creating a recruitment team and a more diversified workforce. Chancellor indicated qualified staff now receive a financial commitment to high-quality professional development with new procedures. Teachers now have a redesigned reimbursement approach encouraging course work in salary schedule advancement. Teachers can now provide more input on professional development opportunities and receive job-embedded training. A systematic approach has been added to maximize staff satisfaction.

Looking ahead, the plan calls for developing salary schedules for all positions, increasing substitute pay and instituting extra duty pay based on an indexed percentage of a teacher's salary. The plan includes professional development for support staff and extra duty assignments, supporting wellness programs, and developing new ways to evaluate certified staff to reflect present-day teaching and learning standards.

The third strategy focused on identifying and fulfilling the learning needs of all students. The district established an alternative education program to meet that goal. Progress included increasing student use of technology, supporting the technology and implementing a reading program aligned with Missouri learning standards.

Action focused on implementing a forward-thinking instructional program in problem solving and critical thinking. This approach emphasizes skills that will help students succeed after high school.

Areas not yet addressed in the strategy include increasing dual credit and advanced placement course offerings, establishing apprenticeship and job shadowing opportunities, along with establishing student mentoring and tutoring programs.

The least developed strategy focuses on collaborating with the community. Chancellor reported progress in establishing regular opportunities for community feedback. The school has partnered with the city and community organizations to make the community a more attractive destination for families.

The strategy also called for establishing an Alumni Hall of Fame and a "Golden Age" dinner for senior citizens. Other possibilities cited include establishing an after-school care program, increasing the pre-school capacity, setting up a student-adult mentoring program for at-risk students, and establishing an education foundation.

Chancellor indicated the district had made major progress on which he hoped to build in future in future years.

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