Bowling Green City Schools has established a new strategic plan that will be used to help the district focus on what is needed to move forward, including better communications and academic achievement.

The revised plan replaces the one that expired at the end of December.

The board of education approved the plan at its December meeting.

“We’ve met many of the goals in the prior plan and have added or revised new goals,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “This document is simply a guiding document that helps us stay focused on the work necessary to move our district forward.”

The plan will be posted on the district’s website.

There are six areas in the strategic plan: Technology, operations, human resources, communications, school finance and academic achievement.

The district accomplished 1:1 Chromebook availability for grades 3-12 and computer access in classrooms for students in grades K-2.

Scruci credited Technology Director Beth Krolak for guiding the district in this endeavor.

Staff also continues to take professional develop courses in technology and PowerSchool was implemented by staff, students and parents. Moving forward, the focus will be on cybersecurity “as this is a tremendous threat to schools and businesses,” Scruci said.

Staff recently was given a phishing quiz to identify harmful email to keep ransomware and viruses out of the system.

Under operations, the district accomplished the goal of putting together a facility and finance task force to make recommendations for new buildings.

A replacement schedule was put together for bus purchasing as a goal and that has been implemented through the work of the transportation director and the treasurer, Scruci said.

The district continues to look at ways to reduce energy costs in its aging facilities.

Another goal that was met was the installation of ballistic shields in the middle school cafeteria windows as a security measure and the placement of 3M protective glass at all building entrances.

Goals moving forward include putting in the mini-split air conditioning units, installing new boilers and updating the security camera system at the stadium and the perimeter of the middle school.

The district has implemented a competitive compensation wage package to both attract and retain district employees, Scruci said, which human resources continues to host job fairs to attract new hires.

A goal is to increase the district’s social media presence and help identify more diverse candidate pools and create an even more competitive compensation package to recruit new staff but retain current staff.

Another goal is to create a quarterly HR newsletter.

Under communications, administrators will again start meeting with advisory groups, including for PTOs and retirees.

Staff will be encouraged to post on social media.

“It is critical that we tell our story,” Scruci said. “If we wait for others, that’s story is never told.”

His Friday Message is making a return and the superintendent/staff chats will continue in each building with the goal to meet with building teachers quarterly.

The district will be seeking alumni to develop an association to maintain contact with graduates.

A newsletter will be sent out every semester.

School finance has been well documented, Scruci said, but the overall goal of this part of the strategic plan is to be good stewards of public funds and maximize state and local funds to provide an excellent education.

There is an ongoing evaluation of health care costs, energy costs and purchasing methods.

“Our finance department continues to look at ways we can cut costs,” Scruci said.

Getting the district into the state’s open checkbook system has had obstacles that are not the fault of the district, he said.

There had been growth in math and language arts prior to the pandemic, but the pandemic caused some learning digression that teachers are working tireless to bridge.

Bowling Green students took classes online for nearly a year during the 2020-21 school year.

Goals include closing the achievement gap by improving test scores by 3% for each of three consecutive years in math and reading.

This will be done with three tiers of intervention programs, Scruci said.

An area identified as a need is curriculum review.

Last year math was looked at, and science and social studies will be reviewed in the next two years following by English/language arts and then elective courses such as foreign language.

“Much of the curriculum we are using are old enough to drive,” Scruci said.

The district will continue to offer Advanced Placement courses and College Credit Plus options.

“I’m positive that if you looked at and read and compared the expiring plan with the one we are asking you to approve tonight, moving forward you can see there’s a lot of work that is being done, there is a lot of work that has been done, and a great deal of work to be done,” Scruci said.

Also at the meeting, it was reported a committee of administrators and principals is meeting to discuss how to spend the $8 million available now that the district doesn’t have to worry every five years about voters to approve its tax levies.

“We are looking diligently at that,” said board member Ginny Stewart. “We are looking at it very carefully and we are considering everything because we want to make sure that when we spend this $8 million it is spent with a lot of thought, that our children are considered in every decision, our teachers are considered in every decision, the community is considered. … This is going to be a long, thoughtful process.”

The priorities were discussed last month and meetings will continue this month. Results should be ready to share in February, Stewart said.