Buchanan Community Schools approves five-year strategic plan

BUCHANAN — Buchanan Community Schools has a plan.

The Board of Education unanimously approved a strategic plan that will guide the district’s decision-making over the next five years in a Zoom meeting Monday night.

The plan’s mission statement reads, “Educating students for life-long success in their civic, academic, physical, and social/emotional lives.”

The plan includes five specific goal areas and 13 priority objectives the district will take under newly-minted superintendent Patricia Robinson.

“I think it’s important that now that we have a new superintendent, to work with her, to set goals so that we can let her do her job and then she knows how to move forward,” said BCS Board Secretary Kelly Laesch.

Michigan Association of School Boards facilitator Mark Dobias participated in the Zoom meeting and walked the board through the process of putting together the plan, which included the formation of a strategic planning team to take a primary role in developing the strategic plan. The team — consisting of 24 parents, guardians, community members, board members, students and staff members —  were selected with input from the Board of Education and key stakeholder groups. The team participated in a retreat workshop in January as well as committee meetings to develop a mission statement, beliefs, vision and strategic goals.

“Throughout the process, the passion and pride expressed by community members, staff and students toward the district was nothing short of remarkable,” Dobias said.

As a part of this plan, the board needed to finalize its goals and objectives, develop a reporting and monitoring calendar, develop a communication plan, schedule a mid-year progress report and schedule an annual update.

“I just want to thank former superintendent Tim Donahue for working on this, as well as the entire team,” Robinson said. “I have worked on these processes before and this is very in-depth. I’m excited to be able to implement it and work with the team to prioritize our actions to align with the goals.”

Here are the listed actions BCS will take for each goal area:

Academics/programs

• Buchanan Community Schools will increase student achievement and interest through engaging curriculum programming.

• The BCS will seek commitment from staff to attend training and implement social skills for students and middle school health and surveying staff technology needs, while providing remediation options for struggling learners.

Learning environment and culture

• BCS will foster academic and social success through collaborative learning.

• Staff will implement positive behavioral intervention and support training, and restorative justice education.

Communication and engagement

• BCS will strive to maintain and improve communication and engagement with all community stakeholders.

• A committee made up of stakeholders will be created to give input, learn the reasoning and rationale and provide buy-in.

• Every administrator should have access and control over their building’s social media and utilize them to highlight students, events and to give information.

Personnel and leadership

• BCS will implement and enforce policies and procedures utilizing best practices within all departments.

• Administration will develop a retention and recruitment plan for teachers and students and market the district outside of the community.

• Administration will examine and make recommendations regarding class size in elementary, electives, AP, etc.

Operations

• BCS will provide facilities/operations to support district goals, bring custodial services in-house, analyze utility costs and add another Chromebook cart at each grade level.

In other business:

• The board passed an amendment recommendation for the 2020-21 school calendar, allowing for the district to move a half-day to the start of the school year.

“We need to give our teachers some Google Classroom training in order to acclimate our teachers to remote learning,” Robinson said.

Business

Niles Main Street launches social media campaign focused on shopping small during the holiday season

Edwardsburg

Two involved in Edwardsburg drug bust arraigned on charges

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien, Cass, Van Buren counties report additional COVID-19 deaths

News

Niles City Council welcomes new member

Business

The Strand to offer hayride tour of Sister Lakes

Buchanan

Buchanan City Commission discusses master plan, marijuana application, trees complaints

News

Niles City Council approves outdoor dining zone

News

UPDATE: Rite Aid expands no-cost COVID-19 testing

Dowagiac

Dowagiac city utilities portal receives positive feedback from community

News

Niles District Library decorates for holidays

Business

New Niles restaurant to celebrate creativity

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 314,216 cases, 8,543 deaths

News

Niles man charged in downtown bank robbery

Berrien County

Pokagon Band donates proceeds from Four Winds Invitational to Beacon Children’s Hospital

Berrien County

Local effort underway to support Wreaths Across America

Dowagiac

SMC unveils Grady Scholars initiative

News

MDARD, MI Retailers Association, Meijer urging consumers to shop as normal

News

Further protecting construction, manufacturing workers, MIOSHA enhances inspection efforts

Berrien County

Police rescue man trapped under vehicle after two-car crash in Niles Township

News

Niles mayor asks public to heed warnings after testing positive for COVID-19

Business

Local tree farm opens for holiday season

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg Sports Complex asking for support on GivingTuesday

Education

Niles High School students finish out investment tournament in top half

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Rotary Club planning to support Feed the Hungry campaign