STRATEGIC PLAN 2001-2007
MID-POINT PROGRESS REPORT September 2004
Following the adoption of the strategic plan by the State College Area School District Board of School Directors on September 24, 2001, implementation of the eight strategies and attendant action plans began. In the subsequent three years, annual reports were developed, which included narrative responses for all of the action plans implemented, as well as updated timelines for initiating, completing, and/or continuing the steps of the action plans. Reports of progress on various initiatives and results are made frequently throughout the year to the Board of School Directors and to the community through the televised regular board meetings and through public work sessions. The district’s administrative team, charged with coordinating the implementation of the various strategies, reports on progress during its monthly instructional and operations meetings. Furthermore, the entire strategic plan is thoroughly reviewed and updated during the administrative team’s annual retreat every August. The review consists of preparing the summary narratives of progress to date, adjusting timelines for action steps as needed, evaluating results of initiatives, and discussing emerging issues to be addressed in the year ahead.
Finally, the school district governance structure, as part of the previous strategic plan, includes five Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) in Finance, Facilities, Technology, Safety, and Private Fundraising. These very active citizen committees provide counsel, advice, and recommendations to the Board of School Directors in their respective areas. The activities of these CACs are guided primarily by the district’s strategic plan, as well as other requests for study made by the board. In addition, a General Advisory Committee and Occupational Advisory Committees provide guidance and expertise for the Career and Technology Center at the high school, and a Community Education Program Advisory Committee fulfills the same function for the programming of our Community Education Program.
The Professional Education Plan, as well as the Induction Plan, are also reviewed annually by a district committee and adjusted as necessary. Both plans have been reviewed and revised to include the changes in professional education requirements in working with ESL/ELL learners.
Preparation of the Mid-Point Progress Report
Information was compiled as described in the introductory paragraph on the progress/accomplishments of the first three years of the strategic plan and described in the summary narrative. New requirements, e.g., inclusion of gifted education, ESL/ELL, and NCLB legislation, have been incorporated into the strategic plan via our thorough annual review process. There were no recommendations from the Department of Education in the letter accepting the initial plan.
The Strategic Planning Leadership Team, the composition of which is in compliance with Chapter 4, met, reviewed, and discussed the updated summary and the need for any changes to the plan. In addition, the Board of School Directors also reviewed the plan. The report has been shared with the community through the medium of a televised report at the board meeting, the continuing availability of the document for public review, and posting this summary of the Mid-Point Progress Report on the district’s web site.
Progress on Strategies
Progress on all eight strategies is fully described in the narrative. Items highlighted for this mid-point progress report for each strategy are briefly summarized in this section.
We will continue to create and provide learning experiences, program options, and support services that motivate and enable each student to achieve performance expectations.
significant progress in K-12 curriculum alignment with the Pennsylvania standards, as well as in-depth work on assessment strategies,
development of a student achievement data base incorporating PSSA and other assessment data to be used in curriculum planning and in meeting the achievement targets set by Pennsylvania as part of NCLB mandates for student performance,
implementation of full-day kindergarten for all students,
expansion of summer school programs for K-6 students at-risk in reading or mathematics and for K-12 ESL students,
expansion of the Collaborative Teaching Initiative (CTI) at the high school to include more than 40 classrooms in English, mathematics, social studies, science, and health, providing instruction by pairing a content teacher with an intern or special needs teacher for a heterogeneous group of traditional students, students with disabilities, ELL students, and students with reading difficulties,
inauguration of LifeLink PSU, a partnership with Penn State, providing for the inclusion of district special education students with moderate disabilities (ages 18-21) in a university environment through attending selected classes and having a college student mentor,
exploration and implementation of research-based, instructional support strategies for ELL students, as well as implementation of the required notices, home language survey forms, and student assessment processes,
development and implementation of two alternative education programs, HEARTS and STRIDES, serving as in-district educational placements for elementary and middle school students respectively and including psychiatric support provided through a partnership with Altoona Home Nursing Agency,
completion of an extensive study of district graduation requirements resulting in some minor adjustments,
exploration and development of a "Small Schools" concept for possible implementation at the high school,
continued growth in student enrollment in the Career and Technical Center offerings, as well as expanded instructional offerings in the Engineering Program, Agriculture Program, and the Public Safety Program, initiation of a new program in Travel and Tourism, extension of tech prep articulation agreements with Harrisburg Community College, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Penn College of Technology, and the University of Northwestern Ohio, and expanded opportunities for students to receive occupational certifications through professional assessments.
The programs mentioned above include evaluation components, student data, and teacher feedback; we are delighted to report that we have indicators supporting the increased performance of students, improved attendance and active participation in learning resulting from the instructional initiatives highlighted above.
We will continue to develop processes that promote collaboration, innovation, excellence, and creativity in all student, faculty, staff, and administrative activities.
expansion of the nationally recognized SCASD/PDS Professional Development School program to include all elementary schools, Delta, and the high school English department, including more than 70 full-time PSU interns paired with a district teacher and in collaboration with PSU faculty,
implementation of the Educational Initiatives Grant program providing faculty with the opportunity for financial support for innovative instructional program ideas through an application and evaluation system.
We will continue to build nurturing learning environments that foster shared responsibility, personal relationships, and mutual respect among students, parents, staff, faculty, administration, school board members, and community.
continuing celebration of multicultural initiatives through the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Inservice activities, as well as extensive K-12 student activities throughout the year,
continuation of nonviolent crisis intervention training for faculty and staff, instruction in and application of conflict resolution methods in elementary schools through the Living in Harmony
unit, instruction in the middle schools through Project Pride and Planet Peace, and implementation of the Peer Mediation Center at the high school,
expansion of student community service activities K-12,
adoption of the Safe School Plan and implementation of initiatives in data gathering, instruction, student services, faculty and administrative training, parent information and training, community outreach and partnerships (e.g., Care Partnership, Youth Service Bureau, and local police departments), as well as security assessments, violence prevention, emergency preparedness and crisis response steps; all aspects developed in consultation with the CAC for Safety.
We will continue to acquire and integrate technologies that enhance teaching, learning, and operations district wide.
completion of implementation of student instruction in the district-adopted student technology competencies with assessments at grades 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10,
substantial upgrading of technology services for instruction and operations, as well as completion of a full district conversion to a new Pentamation management information system,
completion and submission of the PDE required district Technology Plan,
initiation of a comprehensive review of the district’s current technology status, including surveys of students, parents, and staff conducted by the CAC for Technology, resulting in a report to the board in the fall of ï04 with recommendations for future directions,
experimentation with wireless technologies at the high school,
aggressive development of the district’s web site through a contract with Schoolwires, Inc. and the addition of a part-time public information specialist,
continuing provision of technology inservice to faculty and staff during the school year and the summer,
development of a cyber course as a pilot offering by a group of students at the high school as part of the learning enrichment program
exploration of a continuing partnership with the IST College at PSU.
We will strengthen communications with our communities and develop partnerships that support the educational process.
ongoing attention to practices in schools and offices that communicate a welcoming environment and respect for all,
expansion of the Public Information Office with a priority on quality web site communication and maintenance of district community and staff information vehicles, e.g., Horizon and Central Office Bulletin, as well as initiation of a new format for public information called Horizon TV,
expansion of the after school tutoring initiative for grades 4-12 which is staffed by volunteers through the district’s VIPS program,
significant expansion in after school, school year and summer enrichment programs for K-12 students developed through the district’s Community Education Program and in partnership with community agencies,
thorough review of Community Education’s marketing efforts conducted by the program’s advisory committee resulting in a comprehensive, updated plan.
We will continue to provide, develop, and use human resources to support an effective and future-oriented educational program.
completion of a review of satisfaction of food service supervisors and initiation of inservice programming focusing on leadership, personal development, customer service, and importance of food service functions in the overall educational program,
participation in the Centre Diversity Advocacy Group linking employers dedicated to increasing diversity in the workplace and community, as one vehicle for continuing to pursue greater diversity in the district’s workforce,
completion of the human resources web pages providing better access to job seekers, as well as information to current employees.
We will continue to provide facilities that effectively adapt to and function in the delivery of multidimensional educational programs and services.
continued progress on the Districtwide Facilities Master Plan, resulting in the renovation/construction of Easterly Parkway Elementary School, the construction of Gray’s Woods Elementary School, the initiation of construction of the new Park Forest Elementary School, and the hiring of the architects for the start of the High School North and South building renovation project; all of which were developed through the work of the CAC for Facilities and approved by the Board,
completion of a significant improvement in the surface of Memorial Field through the installation of an artificial surface as a result of the cooperative efforts of the district, State College Borough, and a dedicated community group, SHFAST,
initiation of a project in cooperation with State College Borough to eliminate the flooding experienced at the High School North building,
addition of Automatic External Defibrillators to secondary buildings, staff training in blood borne pathogens, and required procedures for Integrated Pest Management,
addition of portable classrooms at Corl Street, Ferguson Township, and Radio Park (January 04) to complete the availability of dedicated computer labs at each elementary school.
We will continue to provide a financial management system that incorporates long-range financial planning, alternative sources of revenue, and clear accountability.
significant expansion of district endowment funds at the Centre County Community Foundation, resulting in growing disbursement of funds to support student and faculty instructional and extracurricular initiatives, as well as student scholarships and awards,
completion of a comprehensive set of policies and procedures governing gifts to the district, recognition for gifts, business partnerships, advertising parameters, and guidelines for naming facilities (04), developed by the CAC for Private Fundraising and adopted by the Board of School Directors,
expansion of the part-time development specialist position to full-time resulting in growing development efforts and resources generated through development efforts,
comprehensive review of increasing district debt service requirements from the Districtwide Facilities Master Plan conducted by the CAC for Finance, resulting in recommendations and board action adopting sound borrowing strategies, including significant refinancing savings, forward funding decisions, and inclusion of millage set asides in the past two budgets toward future construction cost savings,
improvement in information provided to the public in budget documents.
Emerging Areas To Be Addressed
Several emerging areas are being addressed under the strategies of the plan. It does not seem to be necessary to revise the wording, but to continue to use our annual review and updating process to incorporate the changing circumstances. Our plan and our local process is designed and implemented to be strategic in every sense of the word.
These emerging areas include the evolving requirements of NCLB, which are being aggressively addressed in several of the strategies of our plan. In addition, the potential changes in school financing under the provisions of Act 72 will be the focus of future activities under Strategy 8. Future developments in the most effective uses of technology for instruction will be addressed in Strategy 4. Required changes in Department of Education regulations, including special education, gifted, and ESL regulations, are being addressed in several strategies. Another potential emerging issue is the serious health concern about childhood nutrition and obesity, which is also being addressed in our plan.
We view the strategic planning process as basic to incorporating changes in our practice and continue to be proactive in seeking opportunities for improvement in student learning, as well as responsive to unanticipated changes. Consequently, our strategic plan requires only the addition of the areas mentioned above.
Strategic planning has a long, successful history as a tool for continuous improvement and incorporating change in all instructional and operational aspects of the school district. Our mid-point progress report continues to affirm the effectiveness of the action strategies and the accountability measures, as well as the efforts of administration, faculty, and staff, the commitment of the Board of School Directors, and, ultimately, the support and engagement of the community in the implementation of this plan.