BOURBON — “Weighing the cow doesn’t make it fatter. You have to feed the cow,” said Dr. Steve Benjamin’s father.
Benjamin, the facilitator for Triton School Corporation’s Strategic Planning Team, shared this memory from his father to indicate that writing a strategic plan is not an end in itself. You have to constantly use the plan to adjust expenditures, curriculum, and procedures, he indicated.
The occasion was the final planning retreat for this team held Nov. 7 at the school administration offices. While not the final product, the team mostly completed its work on the plan which will guide the school system through 2020. (Final items will complete the project as the five working teams submit their focus area details to be included.)
The final draft document will be available in December. Plans are to have a forum for public input prior to the January school board meeting.
The board, all of whose members served on the planning team, will review stakeholder comments and approve a final strategic plan at its regular meeting.
This instrument, then, will have gone through an extensive writing and review process, and will guide the corporation as it makes necessary cuts to this year’s budget. A downsize of 46 students has resulted in a loss of $250,000 from state funds.
Benjamin led the group in a review of strategies from its prior retreat. These focuses, in hierarchical order from visionary to task-oriented, are:
Values — continuous improvement, high expectations, alignment (of corporation efforts K-12), shared leadership, social responsibility, evidence-based decision making, and accountability.
Vision — by 2020, the Triton School Corporation will become a 90+% school corporation in reading rate, state and national testing, and graduation rate.
Mission — to develop students who are literate, responsible, proficient in state and national standards and college/career ready.
Dashboard (like a car dashboard, shows indicators which guide instructional decisions) –
1. Percent of K-12 students reading at or above grade level and/or showing progress.
2. Percent of K-12 students mastering academic standards in language arts/writing.
3. Percent of K-12 students mastering academic standards in math.
4. Percent of K-12 students mastering academic standards in science and social studies.
5. Percent of K-12 students mastering academic standards in all other subject areas.
6. Percent of attendance.
7. Percent of students with appropriate/inappropriate behavior.
8. Percent of students involved in extra/co-curricular and service activities.
Scorecard (additional performance indicators that are important to monitor, but which are “once a year” or “once a career” in nature and non-student learning indicators such as satisfaction levels of employees, students, and stakeholders; financial results; and facility adequacy data. There are 32 of these.)
Five focus areas were identified in the previous retreat to channel and achieve the above goals. In the interim, planning team members submitted SWOC (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, challenges) data for each focus area. The bulk of the final retreat was devoted to fleshing out each focus area with targets, strategies, and action steps as the participants worked in five teams.
Each team is to finish its work and submit its conclusions for the final draft report in December. The focus areas are:
1. High academic/extra-curricular achievement.
2. Safe, healthy, and orderly environments.
3. Home/school/community partnerships and communication.
4. High performing employees.
5. Efficient and effective operations.
The Strategic Planning Team consisted of administrators Mike Chobanov, Bob Ross, Jeremy Riffle, Christine Cook, and Mason McIntyre. Teachers Shawna Shively, Jack Carpenter, Janet Jackson, Paul Walker, Ron Brown, and Rhonda Hostetler were also included. School board members Jerilyn Anders, Teresa Barnhart, Amy Middaugh, Deb Shively, and Dick Trowbridge all participated. Community members Rev. Stormy Scherer-Berry, Kevin Boyer, and Ed Scherer-Berry, as well as student Quentyn Carpenter, rounded out the team. Coordination and supervision was provided by Superintendent Donna Burroughs.