Delaware News

Facilities big part of district's three-year plan

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The Delaware City School District will focus on community relations, communication, facilities and student achievement over the course of the next three years.

During their meeting Monday, Oct. 1, school board members approved a renewal of the district's three-year strategic plan, with some minor tweaks, that will be implemented this month and will expire in 2015.

The plan, devised in 2008, was developed by more than 180 volunteers who participated in a comprehensive strategic planning process and came up with four areas of focus for the district.

Although the strategic plan was set to expire in 2012, the board felt the four key areas listed in that plan are still where the district should focus its efforts.

"These are the same strands we had in our existing strategic plan, and we believe it is still our ultimate objective," said Superintendent Paul Craft.

Craft said one of the urgent areas the district will focus on is facilities, due to increasing enrollment and state budget cuts. Craft said this will be the sole focus of the board's November work session.

"We are going to need to discuss this quickly and come up with solutions fast," he said. "We have trends for the next couple years that we will need to figure out what to do about."

Rumors from last year were surfacing about the possibility of constructing a new school building to deal with increasing enrollment. Craft said he would be surprised if that is the direction the board decides to go.

"We have to be extremely judicious in what we do," he said. "Building a new school is very expensive and I certainly wouldn't recommend it."

Craft said the board will use the "existing footprint" to address growth and come up with solutions that are affordable.

Part of that will include bringing in architects and other experts who will help to formulate plans for expansion.

Another area the district will focus on is community relations, working to create a two-way street of engagement between the schools and community members, Craft said.

Craft's intention is to have teachers and staff represented in a number of civic organizations, including Main Street Delaware, Rotary Club, Leadership Delaware and Drug-Free Delaware.

"We want a face in the community -- not just having the community involved in the schools, but having us out there in the community," he said.

Another area of focus will be student achievement and engagement. This will include giving students more opportunities to take ownership of their learning, such as having student-directed learning activities.

"We will continue to use these focus areas to guide our efforts over the next three years," Craft said.

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