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SOCSD releases details of strategic plan meeting


Devin Edgar/Dispatch Staff



The Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees reviewed findings from the first Strategic Planning Meeting at its regular meeting Tuesday night. 


The first strategic plan meeting was held on Jan. 30, with 20 internal and 15 external stakeholders present, including district teachers, administrators and other employees from various departments.  


At the meeting, Hattiesburg-based Impact Education Group -- an educational consulting company that provides leadership, operational and instructional support -- met with the stakeholders to discuss the SOCSD five-year strategic plan. The stakeholders wrote a draft that includes seven core belief statements the district will abide by, a mission statement and goal areas that include student achievement, school climate and community collaboration. 


The draft was created based on the results of the survey that was released in January. James Hutto, an Impact Education Group managing partner, said out of all locations he has worked with, SOCSD had the largest number of survey responses, totaling 2,039 returns from parents, students, SOCSD employees and other community members.  


"We think words are powerful, and they are important to people," Hutto said. "And this is really an organic process. It's being developed by this team thoroughly." 


It is important for the board members to remember the information presented was a rough draft, Hutto added. The team of stakeholders will meet again on March 22 to write "we will" statements for each goal area, and create an action plan for each goal, as well. 


"This is just a skeleton of what's to come," Hutto said. "At the next meeting, we will really flesh it out and the writing team will begin to form the final documents."  


The final documents will be presented to the board for approval at the May board meeting.  


The seven proposed beliefs are: "We believe excellent public schools are the heart of a thriving community; We believe excellent teachers are essential for student success; We believe diversity is a strength and shall be embraced, recognized and celebrated; We believe problem solving and critical thinking and creativity cultivate life-long learners; We believe quality education fosters leadership and develops good citizens; We believe our schools must be safe, welcoming and respectful to all; We believe family and community engagement are important."  


The proposed mission statement reads: "The mission of the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District is to achieve excellence by facilitating the discovery and development of each student's passion, purpose and potential." 




Administrative positions 


After an hour-long executive session, the board hired Julie Fancher as the principal of Henderson Ward Stewart and Steve Eiland as assistant principal. Both Fancher and Eiland were previously serving in an interim role of their respective positions.  


The board also named Ra'mon Forbes principal at Armstong Middle School pending its conversion to the campus for grades 8-9 planned for the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year. 


AMS, now a grades 6-8 school, is led by principal Julie Kennedy. She, however, will move to the same position at SOCSD's Partnership School with Mississippi State University -- which will serve grades 6 and 7 -- once it is complete. That will consequently make AMS the 8-9 school, while Starkville High School will then house grades 10-12.




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