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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • Technology a new, larger focus in updated plan for district

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  • The Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education approved what Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes called their “revamped” Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) on tuesday night (Feb. 19).
    “It is an ongoing document,” Barnes said Tuesday, of the plan.
    Barnes called the prior CSIP “difficult to read,” and stated that the R-2 administrative team had worked together to form their new plan for the district. He reported that Carrie Black put the results of these discussions into an “easy-to-follow” document format.
    “We will annually revamp or amend our CSIP,” Barnes said.
    “The mission of the Chillicothe R-II School District is to provide students a comprehensive educational experience to meet the needs of individual learners enabling them to gain the skills and knowledge to become college and career ready,” reads the document.
    “Local needs” listed within the plan include continued growth of the district’s English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics outcomes; interpretation of data; technology training, along with research, improvement and expansion of the current technological infrastructure of the Chillicothe R-2 School District; implementation of curriculum that is cohesive, consistent, and sequential with rigorous instruction; and employment of a District Curriculum Director.
    Five goals are set within the plan to meet the listed needs:
    1.) Develop and enhance quality educational/instructioal programs to improve performance and enable students to meet their personal, academic, and career goals.
    The first strategy section of this goal deals with allocation of moneys provided to the district’s Title 1 and Title 2A programs, with added emphasis upon Title 1 classrooms, professional development for teachers, the upgrading of the current co-teaching program for grades 2-8, and the Check and Connect Model for grades 9-12.
    Strategy section two pertains to vocational technology students, and calls for the employment of a vocational resource educator, basic skills instructor, and counselor. Collaboration between academic and CTE teachers is requested, along with alignment of curriculums with industry standards and to award Embedded Credit.
    Of note in section three is the emphasis upon promotion of student ownership in their own learning and data, as well as a request for, by mid-second quarter of a school year, students performing below grade level in ELA and mathematics courses to be placed in remediation groups for specific instruction.
    Section four delves more so into the Title 2A program, allowing funds from such to be put towards the hiring and support of an instructional technology coordinator for professional development in technological integration processes. Increased technological focus appear to be the key here, in hopes of gaining students and teachers “21st century skills” and promoting “life-long learning.”
    In strategy section five, we see that the district plans, by 2015, to up the percentage of students who meet technology literacy standards by the end of the eighth grade, as measured by a local technology literacy assessment based upon NETS*S (the National Educational Technology Standards for Students). Written curriculum will include the NETS*S standards and achievement rubrics for grades K-12. The district plans to develop and implement assessments for technology competency based upon said standards rubrics at grades two, five, and eight, prior to student graduation.   
    Page 2 of 4 -  2.) Recruit, attract, develop, and retain highly qualified staff to carry out the LEA (Local Educational Agency)/District mission, goals, and objectives.
    Under this goal, the district suggests that it will provide competitive salaries and benefits at or above the mean compensation level when compared to all school districts in northwest Missouri to attract highly qualified personnel. They hope to ensure that “poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers.”
    Professional development and technology are again key points under this bullet within the plan, this time, with one playing into the other. As technological advancements are made, the district plans for professional development programs to be offered to assist in teaching teachers to teach while using such.
    3.) Provide and maintain appropriate institutional resources, support services, and functional and safe facilities.
    All staff members will be trained in bullying and sexual harassment/abuse under the first objective of goal three.
    To promote safe and secure environments for all patrons district wide, in light of recent events, R-2 strategizes that each individual building will develop and maintain a security plan. Evacuation plans and procedures will be taught to faculty and students, and practiced and evaluated on an annual basis. Students at CMS, CHS, and GRTS will be required to visibly wear their ID badges at all times while on school district grounds, while the elementary buildings will maintain their new entry control systems. The school resource officer will remain available to all district buildings.
    Technological advancements and appropriate tools will be provided for under the third section of goal three. Safety protocol for such makes up objective section four.
    The district plans to continue to maintain its integrated student information management system, which includes demographic information, grades, attendance records, discipline, medical information, etc. The plan notes that such “provides secure web and LAN access to approved staff, as well as access to parents through a secure parent portal.”
    Also of note, the district expresses interest in maintaining an effective and updated online library catalog system, which will be a shared resource for staff and students at each building and grade level within Chillicothe R-2.
    Continued updates will be made to the STI accounting system as needed, and the continued use and expansion of the current Transfinder online transportation program will be used to assist in the planning for and providing of efficient transportation services for the district.
    The district plans, in its final objective of goal three, to “conduct needs surveys of faculty, staff, and community members” in regards to upgrading and improving R-2 facilities.
    4.) Promote, facilitate, and enhance parent, student, and community involvement in LEA/District educational programs.
    Page 3 of 4 - The district plans to improve the lines of communication between themselves and the community under this goal by 30 percent over the next three years. This will be done through the establishment of a parent group for each district building, which will provide two-way communication access meetings at least once per semester.
    The R-2 district shows its want to give back within the community through an objective solely noted for student participation in community service activities. Administrators also will meet with student groups and openly listen to their input on the running of the Chillicothe R-2 School District.
    “The district will provide at least [five] opportunities for parents/ guardians to learn about the intellectual and developmental needs of their children at all ages and/or to participate constructively in their children’s education,” states objective four.
    Opportunities for parent-, community member-, and business leader-participation in the technology planning process for the district will be offered through R-2’s Technology Planning Committee, Advisory Committee, Career Technical Advisory Committee, and Bounce Groups.
    By June 2015, the district states that they wish to develop a comprehensive plan to integrate technology-driven communication tools for parent access to student and public information and communication tools for employee and school business. Amongst these is notably mentioned a variety of Google Apps, used to facilitate interactive communication and collaboration among staff members, faculty and students, and faculty and parents.  
    5.) Govern the LEA/District in an efficient and effective manner, providing leadership and representation to benefit the students, staff, and patrons of the district.
    Board policies will continue to be reviewed annually beneath this goal, to establish policies and procedures for technology use that “support effective instruction and that are in compliance with federal and state requirements.”
    A technology budget will be maintained, including for total cost of ownership for technology and setup and maintenance.
    R-2, under this goal, will continue to apply for funding through the Universal Service Fund (eRate) each year to “obtain and support technology resources.” Supplemental funds for technological advancement will be sought through federal, state, local, and business grants.
    The superintendent (Barnes) will continue to oversee the district’s technology department under goal five, objective three.
    Barnes noted that the added emphasis upon this year’s plan is “something we have not had in the past.”
    Board president David Meneely asked if the added emphasis upon technology would affect the district’s current budget. Barnes responded that it would.
    Barnes asked that the board approve the provided plan, adding that changes and specifics can be laid out and implemented to such later in the process.
    The board motioned for such without laborous discussion. After a second, the vote was taken, with no opposition garnered.
    Page 4 of 4 - The plan passed.
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