Committee hopes plan helps school exceed goals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Late last week, the Ironton Board of Education formally adopted a strategic plan that will guide the district for the next five years.

Members of the team of

more than 80 volunteers who worked on the

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plan hope the results will help the school not only reach, but also exceed its goals.

Members of the community signed up late last year to be a part of seven action teams. Each action team was given a strategy for progress. Each team was charged with developing specific results that could be accomplished to improve education. These are the final three strategies.

Strategy: We will develop and implement a career awareness program for all students.

The action team developed four specific results:

4Make elementary students aware of career choices with the help of their parents and teachers

4Middle school students will become aware of career choices through various activities and opportunities

4Junior high students will become aware of different careers by using interest inventories, researching their career matches, investigating various Internet, and creating a career planning portfolio

4Senior high school students will be more focused on career choices of interest through interest inventory, testing programs, researching, Internet use, job shadowing and educational knowledge and visit.

Strategy: We will develop and implement partnership programs to involve parents and community.

The action team developed four specific results:

4Build a better partnership between the school district and entire community through better communication from the schools

"One of the things we want to see is a calendar of events that tells what is going on at every school in the district," action team leader Tim Johnson said. "Maybe we can put it in the newspaper. We just need to make sure everyone in the district knows what the kids are doing."

4Build a better partnership between parents and community through available media

4Build a better partnership between parents, teachers and community by improving our current volunteer program

Johnson said he would like to see school officials encourage volunteerism as well as more people in the community to become volunteers.

"We don't expect people to spend even a whole day at school, but if people could give just an hour of their time. There are a lot of talented people in this town, and we want them to share their talents with the kids. There are all sorts of people who could help - accountants who could help with math, people who could volunteer to read to the kids," Johnson said. "We want to utilize whatever talent is out there to help the kids."

4Build a better partnership between school administration, staff and community.

"One of the things we'd like to see done is to move the school board meetings to the high school," Johnson said.

Action teams members said they would also like for Superintendent Dean Nance to have town hall-style meetings at each school, in addition to regular board meetings. Johnson said the tone of these meetings would be informational, with parents able to ask questions.

Strategy: To create a plan to establish a unified school district/community program.

The action team developed three specific results:

4Establish a more effective flow of communication between the school board, administration, teachers and parents

Action team leader Jeff Handley said he would like to see the district's Web site updated regularly and a district-wide newsletter created to keep parents informed about what's going on in the schools.

"These things don't cost a lot of money," Handley said. "I think most people realize that having an effective line of communication is critical to make sure everyone is moving in the same direction."

4The school board should adopt a policy to improve the school district/community relations, which will include these guidelines: all school employees, board members and administration will treat all students fairly and all parents and families consistently following school board established policy; school administrators will be approachable to staff, parents and community members; all teachers, staff and administration will present a unified front to the community which will be based on trust, integrity and honesty

4The school district will become a family friendly school district by the school board adopting this philosophy and program, and inviting Dr. Steve Constantino to present a one-day workshop with administrators, faculty, school board members, students, parents and community members.

Constantino was voted "Time" magazine's "Principal of the Year" for his program "Family Friendly Schools."

Hopes for the future

Johnson said he hopes the strategic plan will be used, and will not be just a collection of ideas that are never seen again. He said he also hopes that the community and the school district will support the plan.

"If we have enthusiasm as parents and as a community, we can make the Ironton City Schools great. We can't have apathy. If we have enthusiasm, we can move mountains."