Clay Community Schools administrative staff, including Thomas Rohr, school superintendent, submitted to board members a corporation improvement plan for 2003. The board voted unanimously at the Dec. 12 meeting to adopt the plan.
Little future planning has taken place during the past three to four years except that done by administrative staff to meet the changing requirements for students. It is true that several major projects have been completed during this time, but those changes were not a part of any developed plan. These include the building of weight rooms, air conditioning for elementary schools and updates in technology.
In addition, the school corporation received the Community Alliances Promoting Education grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. that will benefit the schools through construction of an alternative school and development of a preschool and adult learning center.
Rohr began preparing a corporation improvement plan in 1990 which listed the various objectives the school corporation would pursue to meet the needs of the corporation. This continued until the 1999-2000 school year.
In addition to the annual corporation improvement plan, the school corporation developed, through a cooperative effort with Indiana State University, a feasibility plan for future needs of the corporation. Information included in that plan supported the renovation and addition to Jackson Township Elementary. A similar study added support for building North Clay Middle School.
Also, after 1998, Rohr sought permission from the board to conduct a community survey to ascertain the concerns of the community and the direction they would like to see the school corporation take. Again, the board asked that this not be pursued at that time.
During the past few months, Rohr sought permission from the board to develop a strategic plan for the corporation. He made arrangements with a firm having good background in developing strategic planning to explain the process. However, the meeting was never conducted and for various reasons, the board (except for Terry Barr, Len Fischer and Ted Jackson) has not shown interest in this approach nor indicated a willingness to expend the time necessary to develop an effective plan.
Therefore, still seeing a need for the board to establish common direction that is clearly communicated to the staff and community, Rohr suggested the board adopt some specific objectives as outlined by various administrators in the school corporation.
The Corporation Improvement Plan is designed to provide focus for school improvement efforts and to assist in the annual budget development and allocation process. The breadth of this plan doesn't suggest unusual deficiencies in the school operation; it merely points out some significant needs within a complex operation that have developed over a period of time.
Although there may be some merit in developing a muti-year plan, it seems more appropriate, given the school funding structure in Indiana and current board membership, to concentrate on short term plans. This plan should not be viewed as a list of goals to be accomplished during the year, but rather as an action plan which provides direction for various projects that will eventually lead to improvements in the corporation.
The plan should compliment legislatively mandated school improvement initiatives as well as local initiatives while keeping the affordability and tax rate considerations clearly in mind. As new programs are considered, old ones should be reviewed.
With this in mind, staff can be working toward the same objectives and have a greater sense of commitment for the needs of students in the community.
Goals established for 2003 include:
- Analyze current unfunded liability obligations for retirement benefits
- Negotiate new contract for the 2003-2004 school year with Clay Community Classroom Teachers Association
- Conduct a comprehensive analysis of all compensation related issues for all employee groups
- Develop and implement Clay Community Schools Comprehensive Assessment Plan
- Develop corporation-wide guidelines for teaching and assessing student writing
- Evaluate and modify the current alternative school program
- Better prepare special needs students for success
- Conduct orientation and induction program for beginning teachers
- Update and modify facility/maintenance plan for the school corporation
- Improve delivery of technology
- Training for custodial and food service staff
- Review and update information on the feasibility of offering full-day kindergarten
- Prepare for mandating the teaching of algebra
A more complete explanation of these goals will follow in The Brazil Times next week.