Pickerington Local School District administrators will seek to bring together parents, staff and community members this school year to implement a "Plan for Progress" that focuses on academic achievement, operations efficiencies and ways to upgrade facilities.

Heading into his second year in the district, Superintendent Chris Briggs said it's imperative a plan is in placeto reach goals for student and administrative successes.

So this year, the district will hone in on Briggs' Plan for Progress, which he called a road map for the district's future.

Currently, the three top priorities for the Plan for Progress are:

* Academic excellence -- a closer look at what the district must do to engage all students in "relevant and rich learning experiences that will prepare them for careers, college and life," Briggs said.

* Efficient operations -- work to determine how the district can maximize resources and ensure it's spending and operating wisely without waste.

* Modern facilities -- ensure the district's facilities reflect an environment needed to be successful in today's education world.

Briggs said that throughout this school year and coming years the district will seek input from staff, parents, community members without students in the schools, civic groups, local governments and businesses.

"The Plan for Progress will provide a clear vision of where we are going, ensuring our students are ready for the challenges of today in college, the workforce and life," Briggs said. "The Plan for Progress will provide a road map for the future that ensures we are attaining greater levels of efficiency, reaching a higher level of community trust and graduating students that are prepared for today's world.

"This plan is a connection between schools and community that reflects resident and staff input, values and priorities. The plan is a contract with our community to ensure Pickerington schools offers a high-quality education while operating in an efficient manner."

There will be three phases to develop the plan and reach its goals, Briggs said.

The first is underway and will extend through October. It will focus on research and "stakeholder engagement" by gathering data and collecting feedback and ideas from people within and outside the district. A survey is available at the district's website: pickerington.k12.oh.us. Go to the "Our District" tab and click on "Plan for Progress."

Phase 2 will include developing and defining initiatives to pursue based on district goals and feedback currently being collected.

Phase 3 will begin in March 2019, when the district plans to begin following through on its findings.

"We are in the initial stages of seeking community feedback," Briggs said. "People living and working in Pickerington are invited to take a brief survey. ... This input will be used to help us formulate our Plan for Progress and chart a course for the future of Pickerington Schools."

The first day of school is Wednesday, Aug. 15, with kindergarten starting Aug. 21.

The 2018-19 calendar is available at pickering-ton.k12.oh.us/calendars-and-school-schedules/.

As the district plans for future upgrades to facilities, construction and maintenance at schools this summer was "nothing out of the ordinary," according to district public relations director David Ball.

He noted the most significant projects included $365,000 in paving projects to parking lots at Lakeview and Ridgeview junior high schools, Heritage Elementary School and Pickerington High School Central.

Ball said school safety would continue to be a top priority and reminded students, parents and community members there are multiple ways to report threats or issues of concern.

Those with immediate concerns are encouraged to contact the district office at 614-833-2110 or specific school buildings.

The Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Public Safety also have a SaferOH tip line where concerns can be reported via call or text to 844-SaferOH (844-723-3764).

"The district takes all concerns that come in from our parents, students, and the community seriously," Ball said. "The most efficient way to bring concerns to our attention is by contacting building administrators or district office staff directly, as that gets information in our hands immediately.

"The SaferOH tip line is an important additional resource people can use to bring things to our attention anonymously."

In addition to maintaining safe schools, Briggs said he's hoping the district can build on a solid foundation this year, as well as build upon momentum his staff and the Pickerington Board of Education has put in place for academic success and fiscal management.

Briggs said the Plan for Progress should help move the district toward greater achievements in the near future.

"My first year serving as superintendent of Pickerington Schools has been an incredible experience. Pickerington is an amazing community with parents, students, residents and staff members who are passionate about their schools.

"As we begin the 2018-19 school year, I am looking forward to continuing to work with staff, parents and the community in developing the Plan for Progress, which will chart our course moving forward."

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