County schools plan for future

Published 6:06 pm Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dallas County School System Superintendent Hattie Shelton announced at a board meeting Wednesday that she and board members would soon start working on a five-year strategic plan.

It has been one of her main focuses since the start of her term May 1.

“Goals have been set, and I have laid out how we are going to develop our committees over the summer and who will be on them,” Shelton said.

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She expects the final draft of the plan will be finished and ready for application by the end of the upcoming fall semester. She has designated board members to serve on six committees, each of which will have a chairperson and a specific focus.

“For example, in our emergent technologies committee, the chairperson would probably be our technology coordinator,” Shelton said. “On that committee will also be a central office supervisor, a principal or possibly two, along with teachers, community members and parents.”

Once all committees have finished writing their section, there will be a meeting to mesh everything together into one strategic plan.

Although Shelton has formed committees, she said they would not be able to actually start working on the plan until they receive data from the Student Assessment Office of the Alabama Department of Education, which will provide results of student testing for the 2015-16 school year.

“This is when we will know better about what we need to work on. We will be able to be specific about our actions, strategies and what we are going to do,” Shelton said.

Shelton said the plan will include ways to ensure financial stability and order for how the system will be run.

Her one main goal is to ensure students have an optimal learning environment.

“We want to make sure they graduate college or are career ready. We want them to go out and be successful without any remediation. There will be steps in place to make sure that happens,” Shelton said.

She wants to ensure hired personnel are qualified to teach and that they’ll be the right fit for the system.

“We will look at professional development for our teachers and also how we go about hiring them to make sure we are getting quality people for our district,” Shelton said.

Dallas County Board of Education President Carolyn Bates said the most important reason for having a strategic plan in place is because it is mandated by the State Department of Education.

“The strategic plan is what runs the school system. It tells you how the school is going to operate all the way from personnel to finances. Without a strategic plan you can’t really do anything,” Bates said.

She said she believes when the plan is executed, it will help the overall system to run smoother. She has one thing specifically she would like to see incorporated in the plan.

“It’s a blueprint for the school system. Community involvement is very important for a school system. We don’t have enough right now. So, with that plan we will get more.” Bates said.