ICS planning committee mulls strategic plan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 26, 2004

One year after the implementation of a five-year strategic plan for the Ironton City School system, members of the strategic planning committee say they are pleased with what has been accomplished thus far.

The planning committee met Thursday to review the changes that have been implemented. The public will get a chance to give input when the school board meets in July.

In late 2002, school officials asked for the community's help in creating a document that would serve as a guide to improvement during the next five years. The result was a series of goals aimed at providing better education for city students. Superintendent Dean Nance said the purpose of Thursday's meeting was to evaluate how well district officials have followed the plan.

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"We realize we have not accomplished everything we laid out to do the first two years, but we are just ending the first year," Nance said. "It would be great if we could accomplish all of our goals for the first two years."

Many of the goals accomplished the first year dealt with technological improvements.

Among other things, the school has instituted a technology plan, employed a full-time computer teacher at the junior high school, and purchased 63 new Gateway computers for use at the junior and senior high schools, as well as 24 new laptops at the high school.

"Technology has come a long way with the acquisition of these new computers and laptops and mobile units for the science department," IHS principal Joe Rowe said. "We've taken a hard look at technology standards, and I'm pleased with what we've accomplished."

Another goal named in the strategic plan was the improvement of the district's physical facilities.

"We have older buildings, but the maintenance crew does an excellent job of making them presentable to our students," said

Annette Massie, principal of West Ironton and Whitwell schools.

"We're in the process now of putting new boilers in Whitwell and Kingsbury, and that should be done this summer."

Other accomplishments in this area include resurfacing parking lots at the high school, repairs to the middle school roof and air conditioning in the middle school cafeteria.

District officials have also worked over the last year to improve communication between educators and the community and among school officials themselves. The district now has its own newsletter, and efforts are made to update the district's Internet Web page on a regular basis.

The district now uses the Ohio University Southern Bulletin Board on the Adelphia cable community access channel; board meetings are moved from building to building to make the meetings more convenient and accessible to the community, and the elementary schools now have family fun nights that allow parents to not only meet with teachers but see what their children are learning.

Better communication has apparently spurred a sense of unity, a fact in which Nance said he takes much pride.

"I'm really proud of the working relationship between the administration, the staff, the parents and the community," Nance said. "I feel like a level of trust has been established, and that we have dedicated ourselves to providing the best we can for our students."