School District Forms Committees to Mold New Five-year Plan

By Halie Barger

Talawanda Superintendent Ed Theroux is mapping out educational, economic and cultural goals and strategies for the school district’s next five years.

“My goal is to make sure it is a comprehensive plan that will drive our future decisions at Talawanda to increase students’ achievement and success,” Theroux said.

The strategic plan will be a framework of goals the district sets to ensure a safe and successful learning environment for its students.

Things such as school climate (the relationships students have with each other and their teachers) and curriculum are major focal points for strategic plans. These goals help the district shape operations and set guidelines so it can make changes in areas of need.

According to Theroux the plan will stand out because it will be a changing document as the economic, environmental and academic needs of Talawanda change. It is being designed so that it can be revised if and when the district’s needs change.

“What we want to do is make sure that it just doesn’t sit on a bookshelf and get dusty,” Theroux said.

Former superintendent Kelly Spivey’s strategic planned wrapped up last May at the end of her tenure. That opened the door for the creation of a new plan.

Some big elements from Spivey’s plan were education, meaning the curriculum in each grade level, school climate, which is the physical health and well-being of students, and communication, the ways in which the community members were hearing about the progress of the school.

The district has created two committees of about 25 people each, one made up of faculty and staff and the other of parents and other community members. Both groups will work with Theroux on the creation of the new plan.

The committees were chosen based on recommendations from building administrators throughout the district and are designed to provide Theroux with different perspectives on Talawanda’s needs.

The needs of the district are being determined in the first meetings of the committees. According to Holli Morrish, Talawanda’s director of communications, this will help guide the framework of the plan, which is expected to continue throughout the rest of this school year.

School board member Pat Meade is a member of the committee of Talawanda faculty and staff.

“I would like to see a focus on student learning,” Meade said. “We’re a public institution so getting input from family members and staff members is very important.”

Morrish said the committee meetings will be directed by facilitators from the Hamilton County Educational Service Center who specialize in helping districts make strategic plans.

Meade said they’re not necessarily completely throwing the old plan out, but that it’s time to look at and update the plan.

“What we want to do is determine what are the values in our community around K-12 education,” said.