Niles school district lays out strategic plan
After months of gathering information from community stakeholders through surveys, workshops, forums and other means, leaders of the Niles Community Schools district have developed a new strategic plan that will help guide the district in reaching future goals.
On Monday, the Niles school board ratified the plan by approving the district’s new mission statement, vision statement, beliefs and goal statements — all of which are components of the strategic plan.
“To use a Viking analogy, we wanted everybody to have their oars in the water at the same time and all pulling together,” said Greg O’Toole, school board president. “I think this was critical to getting to that point.”
Several school board members thanked all the people that took the time to help the district create the plan.
“I know it was a big process, but I think it was an important process,” said Jon Martin, school board member. “It is nice to see everything captured in a way that starts to bring some focus around areas and starts to map forward where we can go and how we can start to see the success that we all want.”
Documents summarizing the plan was presented to the school board Monday by Rod Green, a consultant with the Michigan Association of School Boards who was contracted by the district to help make the plan.
In order to make the best use of the strategic plan, Green advised the school board to keep everyone accountable by having administrators give progress reports every three or four months.
“The way to keep it alive is to have the board hear a report — that is a huge factor,” he said.
Green also said he was impressed by the amount of involvement and interest from the community in the development of the strategic plan.
He said the plan should build on the momentum created with the recent hiring of new Supt. Dan Applegate and the passage of a pair of school bond proposals worth $40 million.
Below are portions of the strategic plan approved by the board:
Niles Community Schools inspires and prepares all learners through diverse opportunities to challenge the present and enrich the future.
Niles Community Schools: Dynamic learners, diverse opportunities, driven to succeed
• Education is essential for future success
• All children can learn and achieve their personal best
• Children learn in different ways at different paces
• Schools must be a safe and secure environment
• The partnership of our staff, parents and community is vital to the success of our learners
• High expectations are important for all stakeholders
• Student achievement — We will improve student achievement and growth in all curricular areas
• Communications — We will establish excellence in communication both internally and externally
• Finance/operations/facilities — We will operate a transparent and fiscally responsible budget that allows the district to improve the educational environment
• Positive learning environment — We will provide a safe, respectful and positive learning environment