Strategic Plan Improves Education, Communication and Character

Waverly Community Schools 2006-2007 Strategic Planning Update, presented to the board of education in June of 2007 shows that the Waverly school district has progressed in the past year in curriculum, communication but falls short in their plan of increasing diversity throughout the school system.

The Strategic Plan started in 1995 as a five-year project in order to improve the education of students in the school district. After the first phase, the Strategic Plan was adopted in May of 2006.

Wavlery Board of Education Treasurer Calvin Jones feels that the Strategic Plan will help members of the community see how the school is developing. Jones feels that the Strategic Plan makes the Waverly district unique.

“All of the community had a different vision of why we were unique,” said Jones. “This puts everybody on a level playing field.”

Mary Ann Martin, a Waverly school district board of education trustee, said that she thought the Strategic Plan was very effective. “It’s a wonderful thing,” said Martin. “It offers us a guide to help direct the district.”

Waverly Superintendent Tom Pillar said that the goal of the Strategic Plan is to develop systems throughout the district that will help students learn and faculty teach.

The Strategic Plan outlines a plan to help students to “achieve personally challenging educational goals… demonstrate the ability to think, problem solve, communicate and apply social and technological skills… [And] the percentage of students who meet or exceed the state standard on all areas tested in the Michigan Educational Assessment will increase annually.”

The plan outlines a four-step strategy to achieve the goals of the plan: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment; Communications; Diversity and Character Development.

“We don’t want to establish one plan,” said Pillar, “and establish another. Then we would make more [plans] and it would never end. The goal is to see four overall strategies acculturated in the organization so that they are automatic.”

The Curriculum Instruction and Assessment focuses on improving students’ performance on the MEAP test through online practice tests provided by Study Island, a company focused on developing educational computer programs that prepare students for standardized tests.

The Communications step will work to improve communication throughout the school districts. According to the plan, schools will implement an online system called Study Buddy. By improving communication through a Waverly Intranet system, the district will increase efficiency between officials.

The school district will also work to increase awareness and respect for diversity throughout the district in the third step of the Strategic Plan. The plan will offer diversity celebrations, as well as hiring a more diverse staff.

The final step is Character Development, which focuses on the evaluation of individual students traits, encouraging members of the community to support these character traits and hold faculty members to that standard. The plan calls for creating Student code of conduct, a Relay for Life team and a non violent crisis prevention program.

Halfway through the project, Waverly Community Schools has seen a great improvement to their educational programs. According to the Strategic Planning Update for the 2006-07 school year, the district has met all their goals for curriculum, diversity and character development. But they have not been able to reach their goals for communication. The report also says that they are working to increase diverse representation in Waverly’s staff.

Pillar said that the Strategic Plan helps the school district control their future. Pillar believes that more schools will develop their own strategic plans. “The environment for education is very unstable right now,” said Pillar. “And that comes from the state, because of necessary cuts that are unforeseen.”

Assistant Superintendent Jacklin Blodgett feels that overall the plan is successful. With only two and a half years completed, the plan “helps bring together the community to work on improving school. It gives us a direction.”

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