London okays five-year plan

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On Feb. 18, the London Board of Education approved a strategic plan designed to implement improvements over the next five years.

"A lot of people think strategic plans are simply public relations…that they are eventually put on a shelf and forgotten," said Superintendent Steve Allen.

Such is not the case with London’s plan.

"There will be building goals. There will be individual goals, including my own, that are predicated on the strategic plan," he said.

Planning began with a two-day goal-setting meeting in April 2007. Since then, breakout committees have put together objectives and action plans. The committees included school employees, students, parents, citizens and school board members.

"You have a very passionate group who worked on this," said London resident Roger Roberts who facilitated the planning process.

Several of those committee members were on hand at the Feb. 18 board meeting to outline the plan’s goals and objectives, which are as follows:

• Goal 1: Provide the finances/resources to meet the district’s identified operational, curricular and instructional goals for the next three to five years.

Objectives: Control or reduce spending. Identify and utilize potential revenue.

• Goal 2: Have every student make at least one year’s academic growth each year and exhibit acceptable behavior and attendance within the next three to five years.

Objectives: Increase the number of incoming kindergarten students who demonstrate age-appropriate readiness skills. Foster an environment whereby students want to exhibit acceptable behaviors. Increase strategies and methods that ensure every student demonstrates acceptable academic growth. Increase the district’s average daily attendance.

• Goal 3: Enhance curriculum and programs by addressing needs, including technology, to ensure high quality education within the next three to five years.

Objectives: Assess and make revisions to the curriculum. Assess and update the technology plan. Assess programs, a system of projects or services intending to meet educational needs. Explore the possibility of year-round school.

• Goal 4: Utilize consistent district-wide internal and external communication within the next one to three years.

Objectives: Improve external communication with the community and parents. Improve internal communication within the district.

"We have a clear direction. We have exposed where we need work," Allen said of the plan. "We will not do other things that will dilute our focus on these goals."

A final version of the strategic plan soon will be made available to the public.

Criminal Background Checks

In other business, Allen informed the board of House Bill 190, an unfunded mandate from the State of Ohio that requires school districts to run criminal background checks on all school employees, including those who are hired for contract work, such as elevator inspectors or heating and cooling workers. All districts must be up-to-date on the checks by Sept. 5.

To offset the cost, Allen said the school district will conduct the checks in-house and charge the cost to the employees. The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation in London charges a minimum of about $46 for a background check, he said; the district would likely charge about $50. Some private companies charge up to $90 per check, he said.

Employment

• The board appointed Jennifer Siddiqi of London as director of the London Academy Board. She was one of three candidates who applied for the job.

• Wendi M. Stachler is resigning at the end of the school year as London High School’s agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor. She and her family are moving to North Dakota.

• Jo Ann Young, a London High School graduate, is the new assistant girls’ track coach at the high school. Ryan Ladd, also a graduate and the City of London’s recreation director, will serve as a high school track volunteer. Jereme Collins and Mitch Alderman will coach London Middle School boys’ and girls’ track, respectively. Rob Newman will volunteer with the high school’s junior varsity baseball program.

Winning Basketball Team

Board member Melissa Canney reported that London’s eighth-grade boys’ basketball team won the South Central Ohio League conference title for the second consecutive year. Their record was 13-4. Canney’s son plays on the team.

The next London school board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. March 17.

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