JPS Compiles Strategic Plan After Months Of Work

Jamestown Public Schools’ plan for the next five years included input from more than 140 community members.

On Tuesday, Tim Mains, Jamestown Public Schools superintendent, discussed the district’s strategic plan process during a board of education meeting. The 2014-19 Jamestown strategic plan was developed as part of Mains’ entry plan. In the entry plan, Mains initiated a process with the local community to lay the framework for a comprehensive strategic plan to improve student achievement and ensure district sustainability. Mains was appointed superintendent for the school district in June 2013.

During the past six months, eight committees were formed to discuss topics like rigorous academics; closing gaps in student achievement; and social/emotional development.

The remaining committees included: accountability/metrics; parent/community engagement; technology; extracurricular activities; and communications/public relations. Members of the committees include school district teachers and administrators, students, parents and community leaders.

Mains said Jamestown’s strategic plan will be like no other district’s because of the scope and investment made in finding more than 140 community members who wanted to be involved in the process.

“No one else has engaged people the way we have engaged people,” he said.

The mission of the strategic plan is to provide students high-quality, 21st century learning experiences within and beyond classrooms so that once they graduate they are prepared to excel in college, career and life. The vision is to see every child learning every day. Mains said the committee members were given core values and beliefs to start the conversation in how to reach the plan’s mission and vision. He said they were told students must always come first; high-quality teaching and learning are key to student success; the effort requires everyone to work together; positive social, emotional and behavior growth must not be ignored; and strong leadership, effective systems and reliable measures will be required to accomplish goals.

“We are so thankful to both the community members and staff who volunteered their time and talents to help build the strategic plan,” Mains said. “I am overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication of every committee and its members. By donating their time and talents, these volunteers transformed the strategic plan from a concept to reality. The efforts of our eight committees have provided a path for our district over the next five years.”

From the work of the eight committees, Mains said he merged each committee’s ideas into four goals. Goal one is academic excellence and equity to ensure all students have access to a challenging curricular in each grade and subject. In order to do this the district needs to be led by teams of effective educators who provide engaging instruction that challenges and supports all learners.

Goal two is to develop the whole child to attain social competence and emotional development. This goal will be met by giving students a wide range of opportunities inside and outside of the classroom to develop skills, talents and interest.

Goal three is to inform and engage both families and the broader community by providing information to all internal and external stakeholders. This goal can be reached by developing and implementing a communication procedure that highlights positive news and happenings in the district. Also, by getting parents involved in their child’s school.

Goal four is standards and practices to create and maintain a data system; establish safety and security standards; expose students and staff to various forms of technology; and ensure staff competence and access to technology.

“The strategic plan does not address everything that we need to do as a district, but focuses on the areas that I have heard from the community that we need to improve,” Mains said. “I am confident that the plan represents a community consensus on the direction for the district through 2019.”

Mains said the plan to success still needs work. He suggested the board of education should hold a work session to figure out goals and strategies, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“There is still building left to do,” he said. “If the board is comfortable with what we are doing, it will drive our work.”

Mains said he wants to present the strategic plan to the public by the start of the new school year, which begins for students on Wednesday, Sept. 3.

The co-chairs of the strategic planning committees include: rigorous academics, Dr. Marilyn Zagora, Jamestown Community College vice president of academic affairs, and Jessie Joy, Jamestown director of curriculum, instruction and assessment; closing the gaps in student achievement, Max Martin, Eastside YMCA branch manager, and Tina Sandstrom, Jamestown director of schools; parent/community engagement, Jay Baehr, youth pastor Zion Covenant Church, and Julie Poppleton, Jamestown director of family engagement and after school programs; extracurricular opportunities, Shane Hawkins, director of Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, and Ben Drake, Jamestown athletic director/coordinator of physical education; social/emotional development, Jim McElrath, executive director of Family Services of the Chautauqua Region, and John Panebianco, Jamestown director of pupil services; accountability and metrics, Dr. Lillian Ney, retired physician and co-chair of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation board of directors, and Denise Pusateri, Jamestown math coordinator; technology, Jon DeAngelo, county chief information officer, and Dave Currie, Jamestown coordinator of science/technology/information services; and communications/public relations, John Whittaker, The Post-Journal editor, and Cathy Panebianco, Jamestown communications coordinator.