Plan gives Tecumseh Public Schools 'focus' and a 'clear direction' - top goals announced

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TPS board member Jim Rice (l-r), President Ed Tritt, and Supt. Kelly Coffin. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

Tecumseh Public Schools Supt. Kelly Coffin unveiled 10 goal statements for 2013-14 as part of the district’s new strategic plan, which was approved Monday night, Sept. 23. Dr. Emmett Lippe facilitated sessions in August involving school personnel, business leaders and other members of the community.

“When you talk about strategic planning, people question ‘why are you doing this?’” said Coffin. “It really offers our organization focus and a clear direction. It allows people, processes and programs to be headed in the same direction and aligns those into focused action plans that transform the work of our stakeholders into the positive, strong results that we all expect for our students, schools and community.”

Coffin said more than 50 individuals took part in the three-day process and looked at trends that included the district’s 10 most important strengths and identified 10 major challenges.

The 10 most important strengths identified were: wide variety of offerings (academic, athletics, and arts); dedicated and caring staff (teachers and administrators); quality of buildings; technology improvements; good financial condition; community and parent involvement in the schools; intervention programs and special education services; support of the parents; curriculum offerings, middle school teaming, differentiated instruction; and safety.

Major challenges included: maintain a balanced budget by keeping students and finding alternate sources of revenue; keeping students and reduce the number of students leaving; coping with the unfunded mandates from state and federal levels; strengthen strong communication between home and school and other stakeholders in the school district; market the school — focus on the positive things happening with a detailed plan to emphasize points of pride; staying current with technology and provide teachers with adequate training in its use; target professional training in specific areas where teachers need training; increase the level of student achievement for all students in areas that testing data reveals a gap in their learning; more interaction between schools and the business community and other agencies resulting in partnerships and other areas of cooperation; and focus on school programs and delivery systems that best meet the needs of the 21st century students in a more global and diverse society.

Coffin said that the next step would be to organize goal committees and leaders and find strategies for each area to be reviewed and revised and others in the community are invited to take part.

“There are a lot of people out there who are really behind our district and want to see the best for our kids,” said Coffin.

At the board meeting, Myrna Williams, retired high school counselor, said, “I’m just so impressed with the large number of community members and dedication and caring about our students from businesses, banks, real estate, city, and chamber who were there; there are a lot of people who really care about our kids and that really impressed me.”

“It’s heartwarming to know we aren’t in this alone as an educational organization,” added Coffin.

On Tuesday, Coffin said to start the process of selecting leaders for the goals committees, she would be calling upon teacher leaders who took part in the process.

“I will work directly with them, along with my administrative team, on how to move the process forward as we add others to the groups,” she said.

Coffin said that while working at the Lenawee Intermediate School District, she had an opportunity to see how successful the process was.

“This is really just the beginning of a living document,” she said. “I just saw the power of aligning all of our resources in a strategic manner. There’s a lot of power in that and I think it keeps things very focused and allows good communication for the community, making it clear what our goals are and where we’re spending our time and money. With this process in place, I think people like to know things are being planned and fit into something bigger and we aren’t just being reactive, but instead taking a very proactive approach.”

The following ten goal statements were fashioned for Tecumseh Public Schools through its 2013-14 Strategic Planning session held this summer, with representatives from the school and community taking part in the process:

Goal 1: Increase student enrollment

Goal 2: Ensure that all buildings and facilities are energy efficient, adequately maintained, structurally sound, and barrier free

Goal 3: Maintain relevant curriculum and technology to prepare students to live in a diverse and global society

Goal 4: Seek alternative sources of revenue and reduce costs by better managing where and how funds are spent

Goal 5: Create and strengthen relationships with the parents, teachers, local media and community that will enhance the success of our students

Goal 6: Provide high quality, ongoing and meaningful professional development for all staff

Goal 7: Use data purposefully to drive instruction to ensure that all students are proficient or excel in all core areas

Goal 8: Attract, recruit and retain the best administrators, teachers and support staff

Goal 9: Assemble a “Futures Committee” focused on relevant trends in education to ensure a qualified and diverse teaching staff for optimal student achievement

Goal 10: Increase public awareness of the district’s points of pride through marketing

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