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Divisions forming teams

The action plan teams will work toward turning the School Board's goals into reality

By Kim Walter

In order to accomplish the recently approved School Board goals and move forward in the implementation of its comprehensive plan, Shenandoah County Public Schools is creating action plan teams.

The teams will develop plans for how the goals and comprehensive plan can be accomplished around four specific areas: teaching and learning, leadership, staff excellence and system efficiencies.

Over the next several months, the teams will work to provide explicit direction for action, describe what's required for the realization of results through specific tasks or activities, and make a significant contribution to the division's mission and strategy.

Central office administrators will serve as leaders of each of the action plan teams, but they are looking to recruit school staff, parents and community members to act as representatives.

The teaching and learning team will work to build a framework for preparing students to be global citizens in a global community. Leadership will focus on continuously improving the effectiveness of school and division-wide programs and practices.

Staff excellence is split into two groups aimed at recruiting, retaining and developing high quality instructional and support staff for attaining organizational excellence. System efficiencies is all about aligning resources for achieving operational success.

Dr. Kevin Castner, interim superintendent, said it is his job to implement the School Board's goals.

"Goals are developed with the intention of them being implemented," he said. "These action teams seemed to be the next logical step in order to keep the momentum going."

While it was important to Castner that central office administrators lead teams that correspond with their job description, he said community support is key.

In order for a plan to occur, he said, stakeholders have to be involved.

"We've got to include the people that these plans are intended to serve," he said.

Once the action plan teams are established, meetings will be held over the next five or more months in order to come up with "roadmaps" leading to implementation and accomplishment. They will also produce result statements.

The plans or "roadmaps" will be shared in a transparent way, Castner said. Implementation will have a paper trail, he added, as board goals should be reflected in the division's budget.

Castner said presentations on the teams' progress will take place during School Board meetings in November and March.

Evelyn Linaburg, assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment, said she's looking forward to the systematic approach to integrating Board goals and the comprehensive plan.

"The comprehensive plan is something that covers a span of five years, so we aren't expecting to see all these goals met right away," she said. "But these teams will prepare us to make the most efficient use of our resources, and give us specific steps to make our goals reality."

Community involvement is important, Linaburg said, because so many residents have either a connection with the school system, or have expertise in some areas that need attention.

"I'm talking business people, folks who have worked in human resources, retired educators ... even parents who just spend a lot of time investing their children's education," she said. "It all works together toward another board goal -- communication and collaboration."

Before this school year, there was always an effort to accomplish Board goals. However, action and implementation was left to individual schools or departments, Linaburg said.

Even though the teams focus on different areas, they all support education.

"This approach will help us keep the big picture in mind as we go along," according to Linaburg. "If we can plan strategically, we can maximize our results and overall success."

Anyone interested in joining an action plan team should contact Linaburg at 540-459-6701 or Mark Johnston, acting director of human resources, at 540-459-6714.

Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or kwalter@nvdaily.com

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