Moorestown school district to focus on strategic plan, school safety in 2019

Moorestown school district to focus on strategic plan, school safety in 2019.

For the Moorestown Township School District, the data is in. As 2018 came to an end, so too did the district’s data collection phase of its strategic planning process. With a new year, comes a new focus, and by the time school lets out in June, the district will have laid out the groundwork for the next three to five years with a new strategic plan.

The 2018–2019 school year marks the third year of the district’s three-year strategic plan. In 2016, the district set forth a strategic plan centered around three goals: innovation, targeted instruction and social-emotional well-being. By April, the district will have new goals, according to Superintendent Scott McCartney.

To date, the district has had conferences with stakeholders, held open community forums and has circulated a survey soliciting feedback from the community. The focus has been on determining the district’s strengths and discovering where there is still room to grow.

McCartney said, in January, an advisory committee will meet with the district’s strategic planning consultant and review all of the information they have collected to date. From there, the committee will boil its findings down to three or four thematic constructs.

Then, the committee’s action teams will once again turn to the community for feedback. After all of the district’s stakeholders are given an opportunity to provide feedback, the district will develop and set forth actionable items to guide the next three to five years. McCartney said the hope is the new strategic plan will be fully developed by April.

Over the last three years, the district has collected data on students’ social-emotional well-being. Last spring, the district administered a Panorama survey to students in grades three through nine to examine if Moorestown students are able to persevere through setbacks to achieve their long-term goals. McCartney said he anticipates students’ social-emotional well-being will still be a key theme in the new strategic plan.

“I have a sense that we still think there’s work to be done there,” McCartney said.

In 2019, the district will take another close look at the budget. McCartney said the district looks at its academic and curricular offerings on a cyclical basis. Each school’s principal had until mid-December to present innovative programs and materials they would like McCartney’s office to consider as they develop the 2019 budget. From there, each request is given “a fairly intense level of scrutiny” by McCartney’s team and the board.

School safety improvements will figure prominently into upcoming budget discussions. In mid-September, the district learned it was eligible for a range of between $1 million and $1.7 million in funds for school security improvements through the Burlington County School Security Program. The program made $20 million available to county schools to improve safety and security. McCartney said they anticipate being awarded a grant sometime in January.

In the meantime, a third-party architect walked through Moorestown High School and assessed the school’s security.

“What we’ve done is an audit of our current safety procedures to see where we can extend, expand or create something that doesn’t exist,” McCartney said.

McCartney said they’re interested in adding vestibules and interlocking sets of doors at other entrance points to Moorestown High School. He said they’re also examining their closed circuit television system to determine how they can expand to have more comprehensive coverage of the school’s facilities.

He said the school’s PA system is original to the school, so they’re looking at upgrading internal communication systems as well. The district is also interested in putting a protective film over the existing glass at certain points in the school to make the material shatter-resistant.

McCartney said they’re very appreciative the county is offering funding for MHS. He said looking forward, the next focus will be taking these safety measures and finding ways to replicate them at other schools in the district.