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Strategic plan developed to guide St. Lawrence Cenral School in future

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BRASHER FALLS - Months of work have come to fruition with the development of a strategic plan to guide the St. Lawrence Central School District in the future.

Social studies teacher Christian Normile, a member of one of the teams that worked on developing the plan, said it was an intense effort by a diverse group of individuals that included teachers, community members and other representatives from all buildings and grade levels.

“This is not an easy process. It’s not something we threw together in one night. We had to do a lot of planning and had to prepare to plan. A lot of planning went into this,” Mr. Normile said.

The four-phase process began with preparation for developing the strategic plan.

“We had to kind of figure out where we were going with this whole process. Then the planning began,” he said.

The second phase was to plan for strategic action. Mr. Normile said they were now in “post-phase two” and, with board of education approval, could move on to phase three -implementation of the plan in July. The fourth phase is to “learn and adjust,” he said.

“We’ll see what worked and keep on doing what works. We’ll change, tweak, alter or fix what doesn’t work,” he said.

Two separate groups - strategic partners and the strategic planning team - worked on the effort. The Strategic Planning Team developed the core beliefs, mission statement and strategic goals for the plan. They also worked with the strategic partners and board of education in developing the plan, according to Mr. Normile.

They came up with six core beliefs - Everyone will strive for continual success; everyone is accountable for their actions; everyone will learn in a safe, respectful and supportive environment; everyone will adapt to changing situations; everyone is valued, can learn and has something to offer; and the success of the school will influence the success of the community.

They also developed the district’s mission statement that reads, “The mission of the (St. Lawrence) Central School District is to ensure all students attain their maximum potential in the future.”

Elementary Principal Johnathan R. Hirschey said one of their goals with the strategic plan is to have students reading at their grade level at the end of the second grade and each grade thereafter by June 2015.

They also want all students in grades three and four to score three or four on the New York state English language arts and math assessments by June 2015. Scoring below a three or four indicates the students need extra assistance in meeting the standards.

“Each one has measurable results and actual steps, how we’re going to get there,” Mr. Hirschey said.

Another goal, he said, is to have all students “reflective citizens in our community.” He said that, under their plan and by June 2015, “each student will have demonstrated the adaptability and problem-solving skills necessary to thrive in the global community.”

Middle school Principal Christopher W. Rose said they are also shooting for June 2015 with one their goals - to have each student “meet or exceed the expectations of the curriculum of the school district and the Common Core Learning Standards, leading to graduation with a Regents diploma.”

In order to gauge how close they are to reaching that goal, Mr. Rose said they’ve developed three measurable results - that each middle school student will read and solve math problems at or above grade level by the end of the fifth grade and at each grade thereafter; that each middle school student will show annual yearly academic growth; and that each student will achieve proficiency or mastery on all local and state assessments.

“That is a goal we want to shoot for. If you don’t set the bar high, you’ve got nothing to shoot for,” he said.

Another middle school goal is to have each student participate in and contribute to his or her community by December 2015. They expect each student to participate in at least one school or community extracurricular activity to meet that goal.

“We have some community members who have already asked to be part of that,” Mr. Rose said.

At the high school, Principal Tracy A. Davison said one of their goals is, by June 2015, to have each student meeting or exceeding the district’s curriculum expectations and the Common Core Learning Standards, leading to graduation with a Regents diploma.

Under that goal, they’ve set June 2015 as a benchmark date to have their graduation rate increase to 100 percent and to have each student achieving proficiency or mastery on all Regents examinations. Proficiency is 65 or higher, while mastery is 85 or higher, Ms. Davison said.

They also want all students to graduate “with key skills and knowledge necessary for college and career readiness by 2015, she said. That’s also the benchmark date to have all students graduate “with key citizenship and character traits necessary for community readiness.”

Now that the strategic plan has been developed, board of education members will have time to review it before voting on its adoption during their next meeting in April.

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