New CMSD strategic plan focuses on student achievement

September 11, 2018 10:26:55 AM

Mary Pollitz - [email protected]


Columbus Municipal School District adopted a new strategic plan for the 2018-19 school year.


CMSD Superintendent Cherie Labat, along with board members and her administrative team, created a new mission, vision, goal and plan to increase student achievement, which the board approved during the regular board meeting Monday night at Brandon Central Services.


"I think it's an important part for our board and our leaders staying focused on what's important," Labat said. "(That is) making every decision in the best interest of students."



The new mission and vision hopes to create an environment where all students are college, workforce or enlistment ready, Labat said.


The set goals and plan are all tentative, but Labat said the current approved plan will be the base for a larger one. In the years to come, CMSD will continue to expand the basis of the strategic plan adopted on Monday.


"Making sure we stay focused on students and student achievement," Labat said. "That's the priority for our board."


Anchoring the strategic plan are five long-range goals for the district, which include increased student achievement, a safe and orderly school climate, increasing student population, establishing partnerships within the community and fiscal responsibility. Each long-range goal in the strategic plan highlights indicators CMSD can use to gauge success.


"I think that it's a very strong effort between the school board and superintendent and her staff to really establish a vision and structure that we can really use the template to continue to build off of," CMSD School Board Jason Spears said.


Student achievement will be measured by accountability rating increases, state testing proficiency improvement, increased graduation rates, attendance, teacher retention and teacher attendance rates.


To create a safe school climate, the district plans to emphasize measures to decrease bullying, drug incidents and bus incidents. Labat said in an effort to combat behavioral issues at the primary level, behavior interventionists were placed in all the elementary schools. Labat said she noticed a decrease in discipline issues and referrals and district employees will continue to monitor changes month to month.


The third goal, increasing the student population, relies on decreasing the dropout rate, increasing student graduation and the percentage of students involved in extra-curricular activities.


Labat said the fourth goal, establishing community partnerships, has already produced results, even since she arrived in June.


"I think we have some existing partnerships that have been an integral part of our student achievement and character development, from donations to volunteer programs with the United Way," Labat said. "There's been existing and continued doors that are opening that our community base is really helping the district."


The final goal, fiscal responsibility, will be measured by maintaining a fund balance of 12 to 15 percent of its operational budget, as well as monitoring student enrollment and average daily attendance and reducing bonded debt, which is currently $19 million.


Labat added the strategic plan also keeps each faculty member on the same page and focused on improvement.


"We want the Columbus Municipal School District to continue to be successful and hold ourselves accountable, and our district leadership and our principals accountable to the same focus," Labat said.