The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local Schools

June 17, 2014

Survey may impact goals

CLINTON — When the Clinton Community School Board meets to reassess its annual goals today, an important process will be at hand, Superintendent Deb Olson said.

“I believe it’s important because it kind of sets the vision for the district moving forward,” Olson said. “If I don’t understand their direction, how can I fully relay that to my staff?”

The 2014-15 strategic plan will give Olson direction as she guides the CCSD staff. Some of last year’s directives focused on facility improvements as the district broke ground on the new middle school and unveiled extensive high school upgrades.

This year, Olson expects public relations goals to make their way into the plan, citing a recent open enrollment survey.

“I imagine some form of public relations, or doing something with getting the word out about the good things going on in our district,” she said, adding results of the survey (presented in May) showed there may be a disconnect between public perceptions and realities. “Making sure all of the right information is presented about our district. I think (board members) found out some misconceptions about the district, and they’d like to make the public aware those are not the case.”

Among those “misconceptions” were thoughts that class sizes in Clinton were too large and references to bullying epidemics. In all, board members surveyed 66 families out of 204 who enrolled out of the district last year; 48 percent of responders said they left because of perceived school safety issues.

Like this anticipated new goal, Olson said the strategic plan process encourages openness and public participation. As always, she expects heavy attention on improving student learning, finances and general development. In 2013-14, Olson said the district did a “phenomenal job” with educational goals.

But she believes there’s always room for improvement.

“That’s something you’re never really satisfied with,” she said. “The board is charged with making sure children are getting the best education possible.”

As with last year, Olson is expecting a “reduced” number of goals so the district can give ample focus to each one.

The strategic plan session will take place during today’s district work session, which begins at 5 p.m. in the CCSD Administration Center.

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