BY KARISSA MILLER
Iredell-Statesville Schools administrators kicked off the second part of the Board of Education meeting on Monday night by outlining commitments parents should expect from the school system.
The district’s overarching mission is to provide all students with a high-quality, relevant education in a safe and caring environment.
“One thing I try and talk about when we’re talking about the strategic plan is KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetheart,” I-SS Chief of Strategic Planning and Student Services Boen Nutting explained. “If you don’t take a strategic plan and make it focused, and laser focused, you get lost and mired down in it.”
Nutting told school board members that the strategic plan consists of three main focus areas:
♦ Eliminate Opportunity Gaps;
♦ Improve School and District Performance; and
♦ Increase Educator Preparedness.
Within the three focus areas there are 19 specific and measurable goals:
Focus Area 1
♦ Goal 1: Exclusionary Discipline Practices
♦ Goal 2: School and Department Climate
♦ Goal 3: Postsecondary Opportunities
♦ Goal 4: Diversity and Retention of Staff
♦ Goal 5: School-Based Mental Health Contracts for Students
♦ Goal 6: Healthy Student Habits
♦ Goal 7: Create Healthy and Engaged Students through Increased Participation in School Nutrition
♦ Goal 8: Increase ACT Composite Score
Focus Area 2
♦ Goal 1: Math and English Language Arts EOGs; grades 3-8
♦ Goal 2: Math proficiency for EOG and EOC subgroups
♦ Goal 3: Third Grade Reading proficiency
♦ Goal 4: High School English II and Biology EOC Proficiency
♦ Goal 5: Science EOGs; Grades 5-8
♦ Goal 6: Highly Effective Educators
♦ Goal 7: Transportation Efficiency
Focus Area 3
♦ Goal 1: Professional Learning and Support
♦ Goal 2: Beginning Educators
♦ Goal 3: Partnerships
♦ Goal 4: Certified and Classified Attendance
“Each goal,” Nutting said, “has a champion” or a central office employee who plays a part in that commitment, including staff from human resources, finance, child nutrition, testing and other departments.
The process of being assigned one goal for one district leader is new. It’s purposefully designed so that no one person is completely overwhelmed and “every area has an expert and it’s being looked at,” she said.
District administrators are also using their weekly meeting to share updates on strategic goals so that they can reach their goal for the upcoming year.
Nutting said that some goals have already reached and a few that have been completely changed. “The goal is for this not to be a static document, but a living, working document,” she added.
For example, the district amended parts of its strategic plan during the pandemic. In years past, the school system used test scores to evaluate the district’s performance in some areas, but due to a year without testing, there was lack of data.
“The good news is we’re back to the work that is the real work of the school district, working on our strategic plan (goals). This is our strategic plan 2020 through 2025,” Nutting said.
“The pandemic has caused a little bit of a disruption for us, in doing some of our strategic work. We’re happy to be back working on strategy, data collection … and how we can make our school system better,” she added.