Goals reflect awareness of schools’ importance to community
When students graduate from Lincoln Middle/High School, they should have a resume that reflects the “Opportunities to Soar” they had during their school careers.
That’s the overall objective of a strategic plan meant to guide Western Wayne schools` decisions for the next five years, adopted by the school board on Feb. 22. “Opportunities to Soar” is the corporation’s new motto.
Superintendent Andy Stover said the plan reflects five core beliefs of a committee that put it together. The first of those is “Our community is our school and our school is our community.”
Stover said it’s important for the schools to produce contributing citizens through quality education. Without that, the schools will shrink and possibly disappear. He said what many believe: “If this school is not here, it’s going to be a barren wasteland in Cambridge City, Dublin, Pershing, Milton.”
One of the plan’s specific goals is to keep enrollment steady at about the same level it is now. Stover reported that, for the first time in years, enrollment from fall to spring this year has increased by 15 students. “Over 15 years, we have not seen a year-to-year enrollment increase and very rarely from fall to spring.”
The other four core beliefs identified in the strategic plan are: “We take responsibility to help learners succeed,” “We ensure the basic needs of every learner are met,” “We believe in accountability” and “We help all learners become confident, curious, and caring.”
A committee of community members, educators, staff and board members developed the plan during biweekly meetings over the past six months.
The group’s stated vision is “Western Wayne Schools is an engaging, competitive district that maximizes student potential through quality academic and occupational experiences.”
Early in the process, the group conducted a community survey to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Top strengths identified in the survey include a caring staff, small school and community support. School programs perceived as strong include Lincoln Golden Eagle Industries, Business Professionals and FFA. Safety and Communications round out the top 10 strengths.
Areas for improvement included discipline, challenging curriculum, communication, leadership and quality staff. Also, bullying, accountability, sports, Champion Time, reduced screen time, teacher pay and academic support.
The plan contains specific goals, timelines, needed resources and measurements of progress in five areas: student learning and supports, curriculum and extracurricular, finance and facilities, instruction and evaluation and parent and community relations.
It states that Lincoln graduates will have a resume or profile reflecting that they have intentionally been taught accountability, communication, community, contribution and curiosity.
Also during last week’s meeting, the board approved a school calendar for 2023-24, very similar to this year’s. The first student day will be Aug. 9, with fall break on Oct. 23-27 and the first semester ending Dec. 22. The second semester will start Jan. 8, 2024, with spring break from March 25-29, and the last day of school on May 23. Graduation is on June 2, 2024.
A version of this article appeared in the March 1 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.