District reveals new strategic plan

The plan places an emphasis on the world class learner, social and emotional learning and communication.

The Moorestown School District is looking ahead. At last Tuesday night’s meeting, William and Stacey Adams of W.H. Adams & Associates, LLC., the board’s strategic planning consultants, unveiled their final presentation to the board of education.

The district’s strategic plan focuses on three categories: the world-class learner, social and emotional learning, and communications. The company presented an action plan for the first two years of what they think could be a three- to 10-year vision.

The primary goal surrounding the world-class learner category is to ensure that teachers, students and all stakeholders are becoming critical thinkers and problem solvers who are able to make an impact on a local, national and global scale.

“We want learning to be a constant thread for everybody,” said Carole Butler, the director of curriculum and instruction.

In terms of social and emotional learning, the goal is to create a school community that develops students’ social and emotional skills. David Tate, director of special education, said the district already has a lot of momentum in this area, but they want to continue this work based on the feedback they received during the strategic planning process.

He said they want to identify social, emotional programs to implement at the elementary level. At the middle and high school levels, their hope is to look at ways to promote connectedness, and as such they’re looking into mentoring and student advisory council models.

“We want to make an intentional effort to recognize, celebrate and encourage social-emotional skills,” Tate said.

The plan’s communication category asks that the district promotes more awareness and communication between the school district and external stakeholders. Some of the areas of focus include creating a standardized way to improve communication across the board as well as improving the district’s crisis communication when urgent situations arise.

The consultants gathered data throughout a nine-month time period. During that time, they conducted interviews, held focus groups and met with a steering committee and an action team to assess the district’s strengths and weaknesses. Off of that data, they developed the three categories of focus.

Stacey said the district had an abundance of strengths, including the students, financial stability, reputation, community support, teachers and curriculum. However, along with the great reputation came an added stress on students.

“The reputation and the strive for excellence is so high that it’s also being reported out that the student stress level is also high,” Stacey said.

She said the potential for school overcrowding, an emphasis on the status quo and lack of communications director were also weaknesses for the district.

Board President Sandra Alberti said the board looks forward to working on these goals moving forward.

“A plan is just a plan, and it looks good on paper, so we hope that we will be able to keep bringing that back in meetings and that you’ll find the fruits of all that labor in working with the students,” Alberti said.

To view the strategic plan in its entirety, visit http://www.mtps.com/board_of_education/strategic_plan.

In other news:

  • Superintendent Scott McCartney reported the district added two additional sections of kindergarten for the 2019-2020 school year. He said they were able to do so through a combination of retirements, reshuffling existing positions and reductions in the budget.

“That will allow us to take all the students that have been moved to a different school setting and place them back in their home school setting,” McCartney said.

However, reshuffling isn’t out of the question in the future. McCartney said there are only 25 seats left for kindergarten enrollment, and they may have to move students based on future vacancies if the seats fill at any one school.

  • The next meeting of the Moorestown Board of Education will take place on Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. in William Allen Middle School.