Clayton Schools to give update on strategic plan

By Curt Yeomans


Parents and community leaders will soon have a chance to hear from Clayton County school leaders about the district's efforts to provide a "globally competitive education" to the county's children, according to the district's top accreditation official.

The school system is scheduled to hold a strategic-planning, community-update meeting on Friday morning, beginning at 8:30 a.m., in room 101 of the S. Truett Cathy Professional Learning Center, which is located at 1087 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro.

It is scheduled to last until 10 a.m., according to the school system's web site.

School System Director of Fine Arts Kay Sledge said the meeting, like so many activities taking place these days in the school system, is related to efforts to regain full accreditation. In addition to working with the fine arts, Sledge also oversees accreditation-related efforts for the district.

"One of the recommendations through SACS [the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools] was to periodically go over our vision, mission and beliefs, and to conduct updates with our community stakeholders about where we are in meeting our goals," Sledge said.

The school system has been working to regain its full accreditation from SACS for two years now. The district lost its accreditation all together in August 2008, but regained it -- on a two-year probationary basis -- in May 2009.

This is the third strategic-planning, update meeting the district has held since it was placed on probation by SACS, Sledge said. The last two were held in August 2009, and January of this year, she said.

Conducting regular community updates is tied to two of SACS' mandates for improving the school system, she said. Those mandates are: "Establishing a governing board that is capable of fulfilling its roles and responsibilities," and "[Removing] the influence of outside groups/individuals that are disruptive to the work of the school district."

Sledge said that during the community-update meeting, attendees will have a chance to give their say on whether the district's vision, mission, and beliefs, which were re-written last year, need to be tweaked, or re-written again.

She also said district officials will give presentations on where the district is in terms of fulfilling its six strategic goals. According to the district's web site, the school system's six strategic goals are:

* "To increase academic achievement, for all students in Clayton County Public Schools, as evidenced by state, national and international assessment results."

* "To provide and maintain a safe, orderly and secure learning environment."

* "To create an environment that promotes active engagement, accountability, and collaboration of all stakeholders, to maximize student achievement."

* "To effectively communicate the system's vision, and purpose, and allow stakeholder involvement in an effort to build understanding and support."

* "To provide high quality support services delivered on time, and within budget, to promote student academic success in the Clayton County Public Schools."

* "To recruit and retain highly qualified, and effective staff."s