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USD 355 continues strategic planning
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ELLINWOOD — USD 355 Board of Education is continuing with a series of strategic planning meetings for the district that includes residents, employees and others interested in the future of the district. The group met on Monday night.
The point of the meetings is “a strategic plan with vision and direction for the district and school board,” said Ben Jacobs, superintendent of USD 355. The district will create a document after receiving the input of the community.
The outcome desired is to have students college and career ready for today’s workforce without the need for remediation in a global economy.
Leading the discussion was Linda McCowan of Pawnee Rock who is a master facilitator for Sirolli as well as an international facilitator.
The groups have been  divided into committees including budget, technology curriculum, personnel, student life and programming. Each of these groups have met as committees with the goal to turn the listed weaknesses into strengths and opportunities.
Strengths of the district include good teachers, alignment with state standards, good fine arts programs, MTSS and Pathsway reading programs and the Common Core which will address college and career readiness to compete in a global economy.
Some opportunities or weaknesses looked at by the group include career shadowing, reactive mindset, declining enrollment in previous years, healthcare, home environment, age of the facilities, cost and constant change in technology, use of social media to the exclusion of learning social skills, overcommitted students, no early childhood schooling, and no Families and Career program.
The group also mentioned as positives the support of the community businesses and service organizations , and the strength of the library as pluses.
Throughout discussions, the budget and the confusion over what the legislature intends to do were constant concerns.
The final meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 4 where beliefs, values and mission statement will be completed.