A New Year, A New Plan

Within just a few weeks, the 2016-2017 school year will be in full swing. To help set the direction for the upcoming year, the New Hanover County Board of Education has adopted a new strategic plan – Vision 2016-2020. This plan was created with input from a wide range of stakeholder groups that included parents, employees, students, local leaders and members of the community. The strategic plan will guide New Hanover County Schools into the foreseeable future – 2016 through 2020. A new mission statement is a part of the plan, and it clearly sets the tone heading forward with the idea of providing superior education and skills preparation. The NHCS Mission Statement is:

The mission of New Hanover County Schools, in collaboration with our parents and the community, is to strive to provide children with an opportunity for a superior education in a safe and positive learning environment where they are prepared with the skills to succeed.

After the mission statement, Vision 2016-2020 centers around five major themes:

HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION
ENVIRONMENT
PARTNERSHIPS
TALENT DEVELOPMENT
LIFELONG LEARNING

I want to explore each of these in more details.

The first area – HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION – focuses on our ability to continue to deliver high-quality education to all students in NHCS. The major points here include:

Continue to outperform both regional and comparable districts within the state on state accountability measures.
• Consistently meet or exceed academic growth at all of our schools.
• No schools identified as low-performing under the state accountability models.
• Increase the number of learning opportunities for students through the integration of flexible learning spaces, technology and inquiry-based problem learning and non-traditional learning.

The second major area is ENVIRONMENT and our ability to provide and maintain safe, respectful and secure learning environments where citizenship is valued. The major points here include:

Maintain security at campuses (hallways, stairwells, buses, cafeterias, mobile classrooms, common gathering areas for students outside, etc.).
• Provide students with greater intervention and crisis support, including additional alternatives to suspensions, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools (HEARTS), In-School Suspensions (ISS) and the JC Roe Center for long-term suspensions.
• Ensure that schools develop and maintain a culture of mutual respect that allows students to learn and employees to work to their optimal capacity.

The next major area is PARTNERSHIPS. The goal here is to strengthen family, community and business partnerships through mutual collaboration and communication. The major points are:

Increase effective community communication through the use of annual Community Forums to present “State of the NHCS” report.
• Host parent and community-centered informational meetings on each of the topics addressed in this goal to share, educate, and gather input, strengths, areas of improvement, updates, funding, etc.
• Continue to solicit public opinion, feedback, and district information through forums, the district website and social media regarding initiatives, programs and student opportunities.
• Create/expand Partners Program to increase expertise, trust and shared responsibility for student success.
• Advocate for public school resources at the State General Assembly.

The next major goal centers on TALENT DEVELOPMENT. We must recruit and retain highly-qualified employees that implement and support district goals to ensure academic excellence for all students. The major points here are:

Recruit highly-skilled employees from diverse backgrounds that can provide rigor, relevance, and engaging learning experiences for all students.
• Provide teachers and administrators with a system of highly-effective, competency-based professional development.
• Ensure that support staff positions are allocated to adequately support the social, emotional and academic needs of students.

The final goal centers on LIFELONG LEARNING. Our goal is to improve access to high-quality and relevant Career-Technical Education courses, which prepare students for lifelong learning and employment through the development of adaptable skills and knowledge. The major points are:

Expand pathways to graduation by increasing pathway options for students that integrate coursework, work-based learning experiences and hands-on experiences, so that students develop competencies, skills and attitudes for success beyond high school.
• Increase engagement and partnerships with local industries that extend beyond traditional partnerships to ensure continued relevance of Career-Technical Education courses.
• Ensure that learning is rigorous and focused on college and career-ready expectations, and students are afforded the opportunity to work collaboratively on tasks that are relevant and application based.

The goals of this plan are ambitious, but given the incredible talent here in NHCS, I have no doubt that we can and will achieve these goals. So, as we head into the 2016-2017 school year, I am excited to see all of our students return and launch the new strategic plan - Vision 2016 – 2020 - to ensure their success.

The full plan can be seen here: http://www.nhcs.net/board/StrategicPlan.pdf.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.