TPS committee leaders share strategic planning progress
Tecumseh Public School staff members who have been heading up a series of committees charged with working on ten goal statements in the district’s Strategic Planning process met Wednesday, Feb. 19, to share progress.
Superintendent Kelly Coffin said she could hear success stories in the reports as each leader told of actions that had been taken in each area.
“The successes popped out at me as we went around the table,” said Coffin. “Good things are happening.” She added that while there are still challenges, things appear to be on track in the planning that has been taking place, involving not only school staff, but business and community members as well, and success has been building in every single area.
Herrick Park and Patterson Principal Robyn Francis also found Wednesday’s reports encouraging.
“I’m really excited about the progress being made and happy that we are having these conversations on things we can do better,” said Francis. “It’s nice to feel like we’re all working together toward that.”
Progress in each area included gathering information on the district’s Goal No. 1: Increase student enrollment. Elementary teacher Kathy Smith said her committee has been working to identify the reasons families choose Tecumseh as well as reasons students leave or do not choose to stay in their district.
“Debbie Johnson-Berges [board member] looked at the school applications and made a list of the reasons students chose Tecumseh,” said Smith. “These are very positive reasons and it kind of fills your bucket to read through it.” The committee also learned that of the 319 students who have left the district, 239 have “legitimate” reasons, such as families moving out of town for better jobs. “Only about 33 percent of all those kids have reasons we might want to look into or follow up,” Smith said.
On Goal No. 2, Ensure that all buildings and facilities are energy efficient, adequately maintained, structurally sound, and barrier free, David Gibson said that the task was more oriented toward the school board at this point, with a decision pending to secure a company through the bid process that could help with the goal. The committee will be charged with evaluating the current maintenance delivery system and other components later on, with some of its work tied to what happens at the board level.
The other goals staff members reported on included: Goal No. 3: Maintain relevant curriculum and technology to prepare students to live in a diverse and global society. Goal No. 4: Seek alternative sources of revenue and reduce costs by better managing where and how funds are spent. Goal No. 5: Create and strengthen relationships with parents, teachers, local media, and community that will enhance the success of students. Goal No. 6: Provide high quality, ongoing and meaningful professional development for all staff. Goal No. 7: Use data purposefully to drive instruction to ensure that all students are proficient or excel in all core areas. Goal No. 8: Attract, recruit and retain the best administrators, teachers and support staff. Goal No. 9: Assemble a “Futures Committee” focused on relevant trends in education to ensure a qualified and diverse teaching staff for optimal student achievement. Goal No. 10: Increase public awareness of points of pride through marketing.
Heidi Lee, who heads up the recruitment/retention goal, said her committee had come up with a list of ways to recognize staff members.
“We talked about ways beyond pay and politics to help make people feel valued,” said Lee. One suggestion was to recognize teachers and support staff on the district’s web page with a “Who Am I?” column to introduce each person. Ensuring professional development was available for all segments of the staff was another component mentioned in more than one of the goal areas.
Committee members also talked about better ways to communicate and strengthen relationships between the schools and parents and the community, and noted that staff members have to keep up with the times. For instance, at one time, parents expected to find school closures listed on the crawls of television stations.
“Now it’s not real until it’s on Twitter,” said one committee member.
Gibson said the coming summer might find people a little overwhelmed by all the information committees have been gathering through surveys and other measures.
“But I think it will be a big summer as far as getting ready to do things differently,” he said.
Tecumseh Middle School Principal Rick Hilderley said it was going to be a “working summer” for staff members, as well as being a short summer with an extended school year due to make-up days and an early start of September 2.
“But when all these things are in place and working, it will make everybody’s job more efficient,” Hilderley said.