Superintendent discusses the success of district’s strategic plan

At the Wednesday, April 12 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Brian McBride introduced the Palmyra School District’s strategic plan for review by the board and the public.

Superintendent Brian McBride introduced the Palmyra School District’s strategic plan for review during his report at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, April 12.

McBride said four goals are outlined in the school’s five-year strategic plan. June 30 will mark the end of the first year, and McBride said he thinks now is the time to take a step back and look at how the school district is doing.

The first goal surrounds student achievement, which entails improving standardized test scores, creating a culture of academic achievement and increasing students’ exposure to STEAM concepts. The second goal is improving public relations and community partnerships, including increasing parental involvement at Palmyra schools and integrating the Palmyra, Riverton and Beverly communities before the schools merge at Palmyra High School. The third goal is an emphasis on sustainability, including enhancing Palmyra school district’s revenue streams and improving facilities. Finally, the fourth goal is educating and enriching “the whole student,” which entails community mentoring for students and staff.

Over the course of the school year, McBride and his team have gathered data surrounding the strategic plan and created a document outlining indicators of success for each goal. He said the preliminary “Mission Statement” document he provided to board members and the public at Wednesday’s meeting is by no means complete, as it’s difficult to capture every initiative taking place within the school district.

While the plan maps out five years, McBride said progress should be looked at one year at a time. He said this gives the district the opportunity to ask if the actions it took over the course of a year were successful and see if its mission statement remains relevant.

McBride said, for instance, the sustainability goal outlines initiatives for sixth-grade students, but the district is in the process of deciding whether sixth graders belong at Charles Street School or Palmyra High School. The decision, in turn, will affect the goals and objectives outlined in the strategic plan.

“I think it’s important that the board takes a step back and digests the information I’ve provided them,” McBride said.

He said at the next curriculum committee meeting on April 6, he wants to be able to discuss feedback about the strategic plan with the committee and take that information back to the board for discussion in future meetings.

The next Board of Education meeting will be on May 3, at which time the board will introduce the budget. Board of Education President Nancy Brett said she encourages the public to come out for that meeting.