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School system holds strategic planning meetings

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Clayton County school officials are inviting community members, including parents, business leaders, civic leaders and elected officials to attend two work sessions that will be held later this week by the district's Strategic Plan Steering Committee.

The committee is putting together a plan that will be the school system's blueprint for improving student achievement for the next three to five years, District Spokesman Charles White said in a written statement.

The work sessions will take place on Friday, at 1 p.m., and on Saturday, at 9 a.m., at the school system's Professional Learning Center, which is located at 1087 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.

"This invitation is being extended to give members of the community an opportunity to observe the work of the steering committee as it moves through the process of building a strategic plan," White said.

The strategic plan is an outline of what goals the school system wants to achieve over the next few years, as well as an action plan for to meeting those goals.

After the committee completes a draft of the plan, the district will make the improvement map available for public inspection and comment.

Strategic planning is one of several areas the system must work on to fully move past the accreditation issues that have plagued it in recent years.

When the school district regained its accreditation in May, establishing a strategic-planning process with community participation, was one of four new requirements set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), in order to get the system off of probation.

In a May 1 report on the school system, SACS officials said that upon evaluating the district, it appeared that improvement efforts in the school system have been "sporadic and isolated at best," since 2002, and the district lacked the focus necessary for making improvement.

"A lack of systemic direction has resulted in a school system that has no system-wide focus on student achievement," officials from the accrediting agency said in their written report.

SACS Spokesperson Jennifer Oliver could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

For more information on the meetings, call Luvenia Jackson, the special assistant to Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley at (770) 473-2700.