Tecumseh Schools plan for future with Strategic Plan
On Tuesday, Aug. 19, members of Tecumseh Public Schools (TPS) Strategic Planning committee met to review last year’s progress and discuss what to focus on going forward into the 2014-2015 school year and beyond.
The idea of a Strategic Planning Committee came from then new Supt. Kelly Coffin when she took the role of TPS superintendent last year. The strategic plan is designed to give the district direction while getting people, processes and programs on the same page.
“We finally have everything in one spot,” Coffin said. “We have answers to questions that have been asked for years and now we can move forward. There was a lot of excitement in the room.”
For the upcoming school year, the committee is focusing on three of its 10 outlined goal areas, which includes:
• Increasing public awareness of points of pride of the district through marketing
• Ensuring all buildings and facilities are safe and secure, energy efficient, adequately maintained, structurally sound, and barrier free
• Assembling a “futures committee” focused on relevant trends in education to ensure a qualified and diverse teaching staff for optimal student achievement.
“The focus of all of this is student achievement,” said Coffin.
One area the committee is looking at is why students leave the district.
Sixty-two percent left for reasons that were no fault of TPS, according to the committee’s findings. Of those that did leave, 26 percent left for a myriad of reasons.
“We were trying to solve all the wrong problems,” Coffin said, adding that she believes fostering a personal connection with students and families is key to keeping, and bringing, students to the district. “As people feel connected to their schools, you’re more likely to problem solve through issues.”
An area that Coffin thought could become a maintenance item next year, possibly being folded into another goal, is professional development for teachers and staff, which the district already well provides.
This was an area where the district didn’t know what exactly they offered and where all the opportunities were to provide development to staff.
The Strategic Planning was also a way to get teachers involved in the decision-making process and giving them a voice in the district.
“When we first started this they said, ‘We’re just teachers, what can we do?’ I said, ‘It’s because you are teachers that you can do everything,’” said Coffin.
Ultimately, the goal for Strategic Planning is to provide students with the best possible education for the dynamic working world. The most recent data shows students today will have 14 different jobs during their career, making the school’s job of preparing students for the workforce difficult. Schools can no longer prepare students for just one job.
“We really have to shift our focus in education,” said Coffin “We are really there to support student learning. And if we can get students excited about learning and get them to be thinkers and problems solvers, to persevere, that’s what we are really preparing students for. At the end of the day, if kids can think, if they can be problem solvers, and they can persevere, then we are preparing them for whatever life has for them.
“Knowledge is everywhere. We have to help them access that information. I think we’re heading in a direction where our students are much better prepared to handle the world that’s there to meet them.”