TPS Strategic Planning goals committees report progress
The Tecumseh Public School District (TPS) will soon be rounding out its first year of a Strategic Planning process begun last August. TPS staff members who’ve led committees charged with working on 10 goal statements met Thursday, May 22, to share progress reports since their last meeting in February.
“I’m excited to hear progress that’s been made and identifying successes because I think it’s very important we celebrate our successes, no matter how small they may seem,” said Supt. Kelly Coffin. “I can see we’re beginning to put into place what your committees have learned and this is kind of ‘where the rubber meets the road’ as we look three to five years down the road toward the larger process.”
The group reviewed how having a strategic planning process gives organizations focus and clear direction, aligning resources toward specific goals and strategies.
“At the end of the day, it ensures that we are doing our best for our students, our community and all of our stakeholders,” said Coffin.
For individuals who may have asked why TPS doesn’t check into why students leave the district, the committee charged with increasing student enrollment has looked into that and found that of 272 students who left the previous school year, 169, or 62 percent, had legitimate reasons that were no fault of the school district. Reasons included moving away, often for employment, and some students actually transferred within the district.
“We found that 72 students, or 26 percent, left for reasons we may want to look into such as home schooling,” said Goal 1 Committee Chair Kathy Smith. “We only had a couple families who reported leaving for negative reasons. Our plan for the future is whenever a student leaves the district or talks about leaving, we will have an exit strategy for them, possibly with an exit interview from a principal. We should make sure families leave on good terms in case they want to return in the future.” She added that the staff needs to maintain a caring attitude about the families.
The committee is also looking at student attraction objectives with strategies such as training staff to be more positive, enhancing early childhood opportunities and marketing the districts points of pride.
“We need to create and promote a positive culture in our schools and community,” said Smith. “Specifically character building and leadership building programs.”
Other committee chairs reported objectives, and even successes, that involved improving ways of doing things internally, including doing a better job of opening communication channels within the school system as well as externally with the media and community. Committee members felt that the district should begin recruitment for open positions in the spring rather than more toward fall, and let teachers and other staff know of an opening as soon as it is available, for instance. Committees are also exploring ways to utilize the district’s website more purposefully, and to recognize staff members.
David Gibson, who heads a goals committee charged with ensuring that all buildings and facilities are energy efficient, adequately maintained, structurally sound and barrier free, said a new objective had been added to encompass safety and security. TMP, Inc. is also expected to complete a facilities assessment report soon, and the district recently hired Mike Smith as Director of Facilities.
“I think Mike will be a fantastic addition to our district and he will be coordinating our maintenance delivery system,” said Gibson. Results from the facilities assessment will assist the district in prioritizing projects and aligning them with available funds.
At the conclusion of the meeting, group members shared continuing challenges and successes. Kristalyn Musselman said it’s still a challenge to find enough committee members to represent a good cross-section of the district’s buildings. The groups are finding, however, that they are no longer having to field questions about what strategic planning is as they have held meetings and conducted surveys. Some of the members — and Coffin — are pleased to see the progress that’s been made throughout the school year.
“I just feel that the whole district is more cohesive,” said Smith. “We have the same goals and we’re working together. I can’t wait to just be a part of what’s happening.”