Strategic planning meetings produce 5-year plan

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cassville school district aims to pass plan in July meeting

After a total of 25 hours spent in eight separate meetings, the Cassville school district has produced a five-year plan it hopes to pass in July addressing community concerns brought up in the strategic planning meetings with the community.

Eric White, current intermediate school principal heading into a co-director of learning position in the coming school year, said the community was invited to three hour-long strategic planning meetings, and a school improvement committee comprised of about 20 teachers, learning instructors and administrators met another five times to hammer out the details.

“Ultimately, we developed a five-year timeline with five strategies we plan to implement to improve the educational experience for students, teachers and the community,” he said. “Those five strategies were identified in those meetings.”

The strategies included in the plan are: personalized learning, school readiness, curriculum and instruction, college and career readiness and family and community involvement.

White said each strategy has its own action plans, which will be implemented over the five-year timeline.

“Like with personalized learning, we want to challenge students to personalize their educational experiences,” he said. “We’ll have students involved in creating their own goals and teachers being more proactive. This will include enrichment, remediation when needed and more flexible learning opportunities.”

For the school readiness piece, White said the district aims to better mix traditional and progressive learning techniques.

“We want to incorporate the traditional teaching methods, like when people say, ‘That’s the way I learned it,’ but we also know every child has a digital device around them all the time, and we have to be progressive there,” White said.

With the curriculum and instruction, White said the district is trying to develop plans to enhance the curriculum, especially when it comes to literacy and math, to form a more blended learning experience.

“College and career readiness speaks for itself,” White said about the fourth goal. “We want to provide students with the opportunity to develop skills based on their interests and mold instruction to that.”

Finally, the district wants to enhance communication with parents and the community.

“We need to communicate more effectively and more often about students’ successes and progress,” White said. “We have to have better, more frequent communication, so we’re looking at things like altering parent-teacher conferences and expanding from offering only two days to communication in-person, by phone or by email and give parents more of an opportunity to be involved.”

White said the action plans in each category are expansive, and the five-year plan aims to implement them and maintain endurance in the long run.

“We want something where anyone can come in and get right on board and know where we are going and what the expectations are,” White said.

White said the meetings had strong turnouts, with about 50 students, teachers and community members involved, plus another 20 on the school improvement committee.

“We felt the information we received was valid and applicable to what we are trying to accomplish,” he said. “Some frustrations were voiced, and that’s why we are addressing those issues, and we also took note of things people thought we were doing well. Having this community involvement gives us a more well-rounded perspective to our strategies.”

White said the plan will be up for board action in July, and if it passes, will be presented to all district staff in August.

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