School board approves district's five-year strategic plan

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 21, 2014 

Bluffton High School students who participated in Youth in Government present to Beaufort County Board of Education members Jan. 21, 2014, about their experiences and what they've learned.

  • In other action, the Beaufort County Board of Education approved:

    • Allowing the superintendent to enter negotiations with one or more parties regarding litigation over construction issues at Bluffton High School.
    • Hiring tax consulting firm Elliott Davis to complete external audits for the district over a five-year period.

The Beaufort County School District has a new strategic plan, one that emphasizes improving leadership and creating more personalized learning opportunities for students.

The school board voted 9-0, with Chairman Bill Evans and board member Bill Payne absent, to approve the five-year plan Tuesday.

"We feel very good about the product that has come out of this process, and we look forward to this being our guiding strategy for the next five years," board vice chairwoman Mary Cordray said.

A steering committee of about 50 teachers, administrators, school improvement council members and school board members began working on the plan in July.

The district has until April to submit the plan to the State Board of Education, which requires districts to develop such plans every five years, with the goal of increasing student achievement.

One of the new aspects of the plan is a focus on incorporating technology into students' daily lessons, according to superintendent Jeffrey Moss.

The new plan also differs from previous ones through its emphasis on people -- not just students but teachers, parents and the community, said chief operational services officer Phyllis White.

"It really will be more about overall learning -- there will be less focus on the use of facilities and more about who is in our facilities," White said.

The plan now will make its way to the district's 30 schools so they can craft their improvement plans. The plan was approved a month early, district spokesman Jim Foster said, which will give the schools more time to develop their own strategies.

The plan also plays a role in creating the district's budget. Money will be allocated to programs and initiatives based on the goals outlined in the plan, Moss said.

"It all ties together and makes the strategic plan a living document and not just something you put on a shelf," he said.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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