About 60 people began work on a roadmap for Saline Area Schools Monday night at Liberty School as the district kicked off its strategic framework review process.
The group comprised teachers, school support staff, school administrators, business owners, city officials, moms, dads, grandparents, newcomers and residents with deep roots in the community.
It was the first and perhaps last meeting of the group which, before the end of the night, broke into five subcommittees, each of which will work on a previously identified strategic framework goal.
The subcommittees will meet again in December, January and February. Their final reports will be put together and presented to school board in March.
Kim Bryant, a parent of students in the district, explained why she chose to participate in the process.
“I want to make a difference. I want to help bring Saline schools to a new level,” Bryant said. “The strategic framework is a great way to do it. To have all this collaboration between everyone is really exciting and I look forward to seeing what we come up with.”
John Waterman said he wanted to make sure Saline remains a top-notch school district.
“The district is at a state where we’ve stabilized the budget and now we need to see what it’s going to take to keep this district going as a strong district,” Waterman said. “I want to make sure this is a great place to learn for our kids.”
It was clear from the outset of the meeting that the group is proud of the school district. Superintendent Scot Graden began proceedings by asking members to introduce themselves and share “point of prides” in Saline Area Schools.
After Graden outlined the district’s vision and mission, Graden and Steve Laatsch, assistant superintendent for instructional learning, went over the five strategic framework goals:
- All Students will acquire the essential skills and knowledge to meet or exceed standards in reading, writing, and mathematics by the end of Grade 3.
- All students will acquire the essential skills to be lifelong learners and leaders in an ever-changing 21st Century global society.
- Strengthen family-school relationships and continue to expand civic, business, higher education, and community partnerships that support improved student achievement.
- Enhance a positive work environment that promotes employee well being, satisfaction, and positive morale.
- Establish short-term financial stability and long-term fiscal solvency.
Graden and Laatsch explained some of actions that have already been taken toward achieving the goals. The district has revamped early literacy programs, for example, in an effort to achieve the first goal. The district launched Project Lead the Way, a science, tech, math and engineering program in the middle school, in an effort toward the second goal.
Laatsch said it was an exciting and daunting task to prepare children for careers that don’t even exist yet.
Graden gave the subcommittees their work orders before they broke up to work on the framework goals.
“What we want to do is look at the things we’ve accomplished, identify the things we still need to accomplish, look at some of the ideas that we no longer need, and identify new things we should be working on,” Graden said,
The process is being helped along by Michael Wilmot, a retired school district superintendent who is now president and CEO of the Michigan Leadership Institute, a privately-held business providing consultation services to school districts and other public institutions.