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Posted: 01/16/13

Strategic Plan calls for
schedule changes, bond

Observer Staff Writer
      Long-range plans for Romeo Community Schools include changing high school scheduling, a facilities bond proposal and technology implementation.
       Superintendent Nancy Campbell provided the Board of Education with an update of the district's progress on its Strategic Plan, which she said is advancing but inhibited by financial constraints.
       A strategic plan update is given twice a year. This is the second year of the plan's implementation, which began in 2011 and ends in 2016.
       Campbell spoke on where the district is at in accomplishing goals in major areas like elementary, middle and high school items, facilities and technology.
       A major change that could take place through the plan is moving the high school to a trimester system. Campbell said she wants staff to work on it, but understands such a change could cost the district some money.
       "What we don't want to do is have teachers and administrators work more on something that is going to cost us more money," she said.
       Other scheduling ideas, such as changing from a six-period day or implementing zero-hour and seventh hour courses are being reconsidered due to financial constraints.
       Similarly, common core classes could be blocked together for students. Again, Campbell said such an initiative could be tough on the district's budget.
       "So far we've been able to do this to support at-risk students, but this item needs more discussion so a pilot for a block can occur in 2013-14," she said.
       Along the lines of scheduling, one of the goals was to implement full-day kindergarten. Campbell said while the district has succeeded in doing so, it needs to investigate programs for parents who don't want or aren't ready for the all-day program.
       She said two administrators are examining what other districts offer as alternatives to all-day kindergarten.
       "Right now they're still in the investigative stage of that," she said.
       Financial constraints are affecting facilities as well. Campbell said the district may consider proposing a facilities bond to residents to repair and maintain buildings.
       Planning for a bond campaign is under discussion by the board's facilities subcommittee, though Campbell said a proposal may not happen for a couple of years.
       "As we think about our future, we can't just think about this November or next November, we've got to be thinking ahead for making sure we have facilities that are 21st century capable for the types of instruction we want to do and maintain what we have," she said.
       Most technology goals have been or will be accomplished through the passing of the technology bond in 2012. These include creating a standard for classroom technology and providing each student with a wireless device.
       The strategic plan calls for working from the high school and moving down the line for technology. Campbell said this is currently under consideration, but a community event is expected to be held this month to gather input on technology rollout.
       In curriculum, common core standards are being implemented throughout the elementary schools. Campbell said this will call for ongoing staff development and a new review process.
       Middle school curriculum is undergoing refinement to reflect 21st century career education, such as with online learning and opportunities at other schools.
       Additionally, the plan calls for creating a universal middle school grading policy and to communicate this policy to parents. Campbell said a group made up of representatives from both middle schools are researching a policy.

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