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SLPS unveils new long-range plan

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The Special Advisory Board of the St. Louis Public School District rolled out the final version of a long range plan to improve the struggling district.

The unaccredited district is no stranger to improvement plans and has seen dozens over the years.

The plan focuses on what SLPS describes as its 12 most critical and urgent objectives.

1. Bringing all students up to grade level in both reading and math.

2. Provide academic interventions and resources for students identified as "high risk." These are students classified as ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages), as well as those who are homeless, reflect high mobility, demonstrate a need for special education, and/or students who currently are not performing at grade level.

3. Demonstrate persistence in improving attendance and graduation rates.

4. Provide SLPS graduates with an education that gives them the options and skills to successfully enter the workforce, as well as to attend college or vocational school.

5. Utilize data-supported decision making to improve instructional and administrative practices.

6. Ensure that each school has a highly effective principal by the start of the 2010-2011 school year. These school leaders would have the resources to drive school improvement and academic achievement.

7. Implement an effective professional development plan, as well as provide strategic direction to the plan through the analysis of achievement data, National Staff Development Standards, and performance evaluations.

8. Ensure that every student is taught by a highly qualified teacher.

9. Foster increased parent involvement and provide related resources so that parents can be effectively involved in their children's education and development from the prenatal stage through high school.

10. Enhance public engagement and provide ongoing opportunities for community-wide participation.

11. Contain spending by aligning revenues and expenditures.

12. Commit to effective leadership, management, monitoring, and accountability of all objectives within the Comprehensive Long Range Plan.

The 12 focus points were created by a group of eight educators from around the country who were hired by Unicom, a St. Louis-based communications company the district used to draft the recovery plan.

Forefront in the long rang plan's text are goals, but few details on how those goals will be reached.

SAB board member Richard Gaines says helping students improve in both math and reading is the first priority.

"We're saying over the next five years, when we intervene and we know things are not happened right, we have an obligation in order to meet the mandate of this plan to begin the process of immediately getting involved," says Gaines.

SA-B Chair Rick Sullivan says his first concern is that revenues be channeled into programs that work.

"Item 11 says that we will align the budget with the items that we've identified in this plan that work, or we believe work and when we find something that's not working it needs to be eliminated from the operation of this district," reiterated Sullivan.

The district's new Superintendent Kelvin Adams is charged with accomplishing the 12 goals.

Adams says some programs have already gone into practice such as increasing advanced placement course offerings, hiring more English as Second Language teachers and dedicating more resources to the 'Parents as Teachers' program.

The St. Louis Public School District will also unveil a new facilities master plan early next year--a plan which will likely involve the closing of more schools.


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