By Linda Dillman
Changes are coming to Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools as Superintendent/CEO Dr. Kimberly Miller laid out a vision plan for the district with a fresh look and focus.
“This is a really exciting time,” said Miller during a Feb. 10 State of the Schools address. “At Eastland Fairfield we’ve always been future focused, but like any 53-year-old house, it’s time to do a little remodeling, 2022 is Eastland-Fairfield’s renew edition. We have a new look, new colors and a new focus.”
According to Miller, on Jan. 12 the district’s board of education approved a new and ambitious strategic plan that guides district over the next three to five years.
The plan calls for an intense focus on fostering a culture that embraces and celebrates the diversity of students and the communities from which they come, including the Hamilton Township, Canal Winchester, and Groveport Madison districts.
“Serving 16 school districts across a five-county and 700-square-mile region means that we have always been diverse,” said Miller, “but we realize that learning to grow and thrive in an environment that values and celebrates our diversity does not happen on its own. It takes leadership, patience, listening, and action to create a culture that embraces each student, each staff member, each family, each alumnus, and each business partner.”
The new strategic plan also guides Eastland-Fairfield to ensure it is offering programs that meet the workforce needs of the region as well as the interests of students. She emphasized it is not the goal to undo anything from the past, just polish things up.
“We will commit to strengthening our relationships with our students, staff, families, associate school districts, business partners, and alumni,” said Miller. “Relationships are the foundation of education and the most meaningful part of our work. Finally, we are committed to maximizing our instructional effectiveness by investing in our teachers and staff to ensure that they are continually supported in their growth and by actively seeking and incorporating student voice and choice into our programming and course offerings.”
A new logo with light blue, dark blue, and green colors was introduced during the evening presentation, which was preceded by a tour of the career center and epicurean treats created by culinary students.
Miller said the vision is to prepare and guide each student to pursue success through exceptional experiences based on a set of guiding pillars, including innovation, program and operational excellence, fostering relationships and maximizing instructional effectiveness.
A new position was created—director of student support systems. Dwight Carter, who previously served as Eastland Career Center assistant director, assumed the new role on Aug. 1, 2021.
Carter is responsible for oversight of systems for students in intervention support, special education, English language learners, gifted education, social/ emotional learning, mental and physical wellbeing, and supporting the understanding and appreciation of diversity.
“I want students to feel like they matter and they’re important,” said Carter in a video presentation.
A business operations manager was also hired and a master technology plan was developed. Miller said Eastland-Fairfield also wants to make sure the career and technical school district is providing earlier career and technical support for younger students as well.
“We want to have students think about careers as they move forward,” said Miller. “We really want to focus on those relationships.”
In maximizing instructional effectiveness, the superintendent said Eastland-Fairfield needs to focus on this area in a big way and connect academic classes in an approach similar to the way they connect career and technical programs.
Rather than a traditional English 11 and English 12 curriculum, the district is rolling out a new semester long curriculum plan featuring English classes that are topical and more related to student interests.
“When we think about what we’re doing here, it always comes back to ‘why?’” said Miller, who said Eastland-Fairfield vision organizers decided to flip its original motto from ‘Our Focus, Your Future’ to ‘Your Future, Our Focus.’