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WCSD preps for the future

Every six years, school districts in Pennsylvania have to work up comprehensive plans.

Warren County School District has to submit its plan this year.

To that end, the district gathered 34 people for a day. They worked together to “ensure that all students are achieving at high levels,” according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

According to PDE, successful districts share some characteristics. The agency points to those characteristics as goals for the comprehensive planning process:

¯ clear and shared focus;

¯ high standards and expectations;

¯ effective leadership;

¯ high levels of collaboration and communication;

¯ curriculum, instruction, and assessment aligned with standards;

¯ frequent monitoring of teaching and learning;

¯ focused professional development;

¯ supportive learning environment; and

¯ high levels of community and parent involvement.

“The superintendent must be at the helm of this process,” according to PDE. “Without support and leadership of the superintendent, the planning process lacks the leverage that is needed for change to occur in a learner environment.”

Superintendent Amy Stewart took the lead in the district’s comprehensive plan process.

The group also included two members of the school board — Elizabeth Huffman and Paul Mangione.

But, beyond that, “we had teachers and administrators, and parents and community members here,” she said.

“Key members of the staff and representatives of as many other stakeholder groups as possible, should participate and be aware of the planning process,” according to PDE.

“The all day planning session went extremely well,” Stewart said. “Their first task was to work on a unified set of core values.”

“The group was then presented with a considerable amount of information and data,” she said. “After analyzing the information and data, they were asked to determine district strengths and weaknesses in several key areas.”

The group dug into data including attendance, outcomes for grade three reading and grade seven math, building-level assessments, and Future Ready Index.

Smaller groups reviewed strengths and challenges in subject areas, college and career readiness, rigor, and graduation, Stewart said. “After nailing down the strengths and weaknesses, groups got busy making recommendations to improve in each area.”

“The comprehensive plan is on a tight timeline,” she told the school board on Monday.

“The comprehensive plan must be approved by the board and available for public view and comment for 28 days,” Stewart said. “Then, it must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education by April 30.”

She told the board she expects to present the results at the Feb. 24 committee meetings.

The comprehensive plan does not include master facilities planning issues, Stewart said. It is strictly associated with curriculum.

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