DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) - The Duncan Public School district has become the first district in the state to approve a strategic plan, designed to tackle every goal they set over the next five years. The Oklahoma State School Board Association and the K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal chose Duncan as a place to implement this new process of planning. They started back in August. Superintendent Melonie Hau says while the state education budget could continue to be slashed, having this vision for the district can keep them on track and growing despite the cuts.
Some districts developing these plans just put down typical improvements, like new textbooks or more teacher training, but this way of planning is extremely community oriented. Asking them what they want with multiple community meetings and surveys. It's also research oriented with the OSSBA and K20 center crunching the numbers, and looking to other successful districts to create goals for Duncan that they know they can achieve.
Tuesday night at the Duncan School Board meeting, the room was filled with community members who worked on the plan. They each were recognized for their service.
Stephanie Hyder with Oklahoma State School Board Association says a sense of accomplishment filled the room.
"I've got to say that we have worked so hard on this that when the board was approving it and making their comments, it just brings tears to your eyes," said Hyder.
The plan includes five goals for the district, and a timeline for five years to complete them.Some of the goals include teacher development, expanding ACT Prep, upgrading buildings, and getting technology in the hands of the students.
Hau says this is part of a state-wide education vision that she worked on last year.
"I'm really excited that these pieces are connecting," said Hau. "We have a vision for all of Oklahoma for Oklahoma students and now we have a very clear vision for students in Duncan."
Hau says this plan can be successful because of the involvement of the community, and the extensive research they did.
"Obviously you can get a bunch of administrators and school board members in a room and plan all day long, but if it doesn't have an impact on students, it doesn't really mean much," said Hau.
Hyder says Duncan is the testing ground for this new planning process.
"Duncan has really set the precedent for us because we were able to learn from them and improve our process, and they were able to learn from us and improve things that they were doing," said Hyder.
Hyder and the others from OSSBA and K20 are coming back to Duncan in June. They plan to discuss with principals and leaders of all the schools in the district on how to put these goals into action in their own buildings. Hau says they have already taken a step toward their technology goal. In a few weeks, every elementary school in the district will have Wi-Fi for the first time.