School district working on strategic plan
By Brian L. Gray
With students’ personal achievements and goals in mind, the Mandan School District is also working to achieve its own goal of creating a strategic plan for the students it educates.
The administrative staff began working on the strategic plan, and reported it to the Mandan School Board on Monday, Jan. 7. Superintendent Mike Bitz says that the report is only its preliminary stage and is still being adjusted. “It’s still early in the process, so this remains open to changes. We will continue to receive input for this document,” Bitz says.
The strategic plan is broken down into four different categories, or focus areas – student achievement, teaching and learning, school environment and organization processes. The draft created has anywhere between four to six objectives listed in each of the focus areas.
Bitz says that these focus areas could continue to change as more input is received. “These focus areas could easily be expanded to five areas or collapsed into three areas depending upon the direction the school board will want to go,” he says.
The plan was created, Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Lind says, by looking at the language of other schools’ plans and “compiling what we saw fit to place in our own document.”
“As we looked at it, at this point we feel this provides a basic representation of what we want to focus on,” Lind says.
Board member Kirsten Baesler says she is satisfied with the plan at this point. “I am pleased with this document, it really captures the areas that we need to identify and focus on. I think they should move forward with what they’ve presented.”
The plan will now be placed in the hands of other groups, including teachers and other various committees at the school district. It will then be looked at by the administrative staff, who will return to the school board for its final approval.
School Board President Tim Rector proposed that the school have a retreat before it gives its approval to discuss whether in captures the goals of the school district. The strategic plan should receive a final approval six to eight weeks from now, Bitz says.
In other action, the school district is working with the City of Mandan to apply for a grant called Safe Routes to School, which is offered by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The grant can only be applied for by the city, which means the school district will work with the city to draft its application.
The grant will allow the district to put together safer routes for children who walk to school. One area of concern, Bitz says, is the northwest region of Mandan.
“We’ve talked about Old Red Trail and the new elementary school, and we’re trying to figure out a way to make it safer for kids to walk to school in that area,” Bitz says.