Otsego approves strategic planning
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 24 April 2014 10:32
TONTOGANY - Community was the Otsego School Board's common theme Tuesday night.
A new community-driven strategic plan was approved, plans for an Otsego Community Committee were unveiled, and the board even heard of a possible grant-funded community garden at the district campus.
"It was really a community effort," Superintendent Adam Koch said of the strategic plan document, which looks forward five years to 2019. Koch said he plans to make the document widely available to the community online. An email containing an electronic version of the document was distributed Wednesday morning.
Koch said that when the call went out this fall for community participants on the planning committee, "I actually had to turn people away" because of the outpouring of interest. Eight community members and parents took part on the 34-member committee.
The months-long process involved surveys of students, staff and alumni, as well as community forums in each of the district's villages.
"It was really just a sit-down-and-talk with the community," said Koch.
The planning culminated with two all-day meetings of the committee in February.
The plan rests on four goals: Increase Academic Excellence, Community Engagement, Enhance Student Culture, and Financial Strength. Among the strategies addressed in the 19-page document are expanding academic offerings for all students; aligning the district's special education and gifted models to best practices; strengthening community participation in district activities; ensuring the availability of information to the entire district; increasing student involvement; giving students a voice; funding efficient and cost-effective programs; and providing transparency, communication and education to all stakeholders within the district.
"It's a living document," said Koch. "It's going to be used as a road map for planning, for resource allocation and staff development in the future."
The document was approved unanimously. Member Elizabeth Gorski was absent.
Later, Koch informed the board of his wish to create a committee involving all district entities - villages, townships, boards and others - allowing them to come together and determine what projects they can all collaborate on. The plan, he said, would be for the group to meet a few times each year. A letter was previously sent out to mayors, township trustees and board members in the district discussing the formation of the group.
The first meeting is planned for May 1 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.
"At the end of the day, collaboration and teamwork, I believe, can drive a lot of successes," Koch said.
In other business, the board:
• Heard from District Curriculum Director Lori Rhea about a recent $25,000 Monsanto grant that the district has applied for. If awarded, the funds would be used towards creating a community garden on the Otsego Schools campus, to include 20 raised beds. Work on the garden would be done by students, with science lessons incorporated into the project. The produce from the gardens would be given away to the community.
Rhea said that to be considered for such a grant, the schools needed to be nominated by a local farmer; the district received 50 such nominations.
• Approved an Eagle Scout project proposal from Austin Jacobs of Troop 350 for work at the Otsego athletics concession stand, including flagpole painting, replacement of rock and other improvements. Jacobs said his plan is to have the project completed by the beginning of football season.
• Approved moving the June board meeting to June 23.
• Approved a new athletic coaches evaluation tool, the first such document to be used in the district.
• Went into executive session to discuss employment of personnel and negotiations. There was to be no action taken.
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 April 2014 12:00