Chesy schools hosts community celebration

Published 10:00 am Monday, June 29, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — Come Tuesday afternoon, it’s party time. The place: Chesapeake High School’s football field. The reason: A bright future planned for the students of the 21st Century.

That’s when school officials will unveil the strategic plan for the district that teachers, administrators and community members have worked on for about a year.

It started when staff and community volunteered their time to form the Chesapeake Core Planning Team in late October of 2008.

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Then they were led by national school consultant Dr. Steven Barone of Transformation Systems Inc. who took them through the process of coming up with a strategic plan.

A year earlier, Chesapeake staff had worked with the Ohio Appalachian Educators Institute out of Ohio University where they analyzed the school district, looking into its accomplishments and deficiencies.

“They taught us how to dig into data,” Beverly Tillis, the district’s internal coordinator for the plan, said. “After we looked at our data, we decided we needed to make some changes.”

Developing a formal strategic plan was one of the recommendations.

That led to the creation of the core team.

Long hours by the core team and additional ad hoc committees have produced a plan whose goal is to turn students into viable candidates to compete in a global job market.

“This is our blueprint for our future,” Dr. Scott Howard, Chesapeake superintendent, said. “The plan is an attempt to develop education for Chesapeake to prepare students for life and work after high school, whether going directly into the job market or some other form of higher education. We tried to focus on the 21st Century skills.

“We are trying to instill in kids a passion to be lifelong learners, innovative problem solvers and effective communicators. This is not in place of the curriculum. It becomes an integrated part of the curriculum.

“I want to say how pleased I am with the efforts of our staff and community volunteering their time to help develop the plan, to collaboratively put it together. I was really pleased with that.”

The community celebration starts at 5 p.m. with refreshments and entertainment including a performance by the Four-Mile Band.

There will be a brief overview of the planning process with members of the team offering details of the plan.

At 6:30 p.m. the strategic team will present the complete plan to the board of education at the middle school cafeteria.

Tillis, who teaches third grade at Chesapeake Elementary, says working on the plan has reinvigorated her as a teacher.

“I was ready to retire. Now, no way,” she said. “This will be my 36th year. You get burned out. Now, I know where I am going. I am focused. I see a district united. I see a school district, staff and community members working together for one goal: our students.”