School system clarifies purpose of public input sessions on strategic plan

Published 9:57 am Friday, April 21, 2023

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The upcoming community input sessions slated to begin next week regarding the implementation of Stanly County Schools’ five-year strategic plan are designed to gather written feedback.

“There will be public input, but that will be in groups in written form,” Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis said. “If you come thinking you’re going to air grievances, you’re going to be disappointed.”

The events will take place 6-7 p.m. April 27 at Albemarle Middle, May 4 at South Stanly Middle, May 11 at West Stanly Middle and May 18 at North Stanly. The sessions will take place in each schools’ media center.

The first session, originally scheduled for Thursday at North Stanly, was postponed to allow for more planning.

The plan, which is required by the state, will help guide the district from the 2023-2024 school year through the end of the 2027-2028 year. The previous strategic plan was in place from 2018 through 2023.

“We’re going to share with them the process that we have been engaging in since July of last year,” said Dr. Amy Blake-Lewis, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction, who has been leading the effort in creating the plan.

She believes this is the first time a SCS strategic plan will be created with help from the public.

A draft plan has been created and was introduced to school board members a few weeks ago. Central office staff, principals, assistant principals, classified workers and teachers helped create the plan.

The plan is comprised of four main categories: Academic achievement, resources and human capital, school safety and student support. Each category includes a main objective along with several critical initiatives to help meet that objective.

For academic achievement, for example, the district will achieve at least 65% composite proficiency and 100% of schools will meet or exceed expected growth. This will be accomplished through meeting the diverse needs of students, providing high-quality instruction and monitoring the implementation of curriculum and professional development.

The strategic plan also includes vision and mission statements and a set of beliefs:

• School District’s (draft) Vision: Stanly County Schools: Empowering all students and staff to succeed.

• District’s (draft) Mission: Stanly County Schools will collaborate with communities to create opportunities in which relationships are nurtured and learning experiences are engaging.

• District’s (draft) Beliefs: Empowerment of stakeholders, collaboration, building relationships, engagement of students in learning.

“This is our opportunity to share this work with the public, with parents and community members,” Blake-Lewis said. The public is encouraged to provide written feedback regarding language that should be changed or edited or other ways the plan could be improved.

“This is going to be our road map for moving the district forward between 2023 and 2028,” Blake-Lewis added.

Though board members will be present to listen and observe, Dennis emphasized these sessions are not school board meetings and will be led by central office staff, notably Blake-Lewis.

Following the four community events, the formal plan will be completed and presented to the school board for approval before the end of the fiscal year in June.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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