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Mehlville seeking eager residents to serve on district's action teams


December 08, 2004 - By SCOTT MILLER

Staff Reporter

Mehlville School District administrators are digging deep for eager residents who want to give the district its "marching orders."

The district is gathering action team members to help the Long Range Planning Committee develop a Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. But only a handful of residents attended two forums last week that were intended as ways to recruit members, and district officials want "lots of people."

"It's a small crowd, but if you take this information with you tonight ... talk with your neighbors, talk with those people around you that you live with, etc. and get them involved, share with them what we're doing and if they want to get involved in one of these action teams, we really, really want that. You can be the messenger. We need lots of people from all walks of life," South Area Superintendent Keith Klusmeyer told those attending the Dec. 2 forum at Oakville Senior High School.

The other forum took place Nov. 30 at Mehlville Senior High School.

Members of the Long Range Planning Committee have been meeting since October, developing beliefs, a new mission statement, objectives and "big-picture" strategies to help achieve their goals.

In turn, the four action teams are to use the committee's goals to discuss more specific ways to improve the district. The four teams will focus on finance, academic achievement, technology and facilities and participation is open for anyone.

"This is only the first leg of the plan. We're just getting started," said Deputy Su-perintendent Jane Reed, referring to the work of the planning committee. "If you came tonight with a very specific agenda item in mind that you'd like to make sure they (committee members) incorporated, you're probably not going to see it in the work that the committee has done so far. We needed to start with that big-picture view.

"There will be several other opportunities for gathering community input as we proceed to have more refinement, more detail, more strategy associated with the plan," she continued. "The action teams are forming now through the first of the year, so as you think about these rather global ideas, think about an area that you have expertise in or an area that you have a keen interest in and can commit some time to help the district develop a more full and detailed plan that I say will provide our marching orders for the next five years."

The district is recruiting action teams from now until Jan. 1. In January, the teams will be "trained" and then begin discussions on school improvement.

Each action team will report back to the Long Range Planning Committee, which will sift through the teams' ideas to prepare a recommendation to the Board of Education.

The planning committee will present suggestions to the board in March or April, Klusmeyer said.

Anyone interested in serving on one of the four action teams can call Klusmeyer at (314) 467-5007.

Thus far, the committee has crafted a new mission statement for board approval: "The mission of the Mehlville School District is to ensure that all students reach their potential by preparing them to be lifelong learners and responsible citizens through a dynamic curriculum, student-centered instruction, a safe and nurturing environment and community collaboration."

Also, throughout committee discussions, members have eyed better public relations, broader extracurriculars, better athletic facilities, lower pupil-teacher ratios, more competitive wages, more college-credit courses, extra guidance counselors, additional student-motivation programs, higher state assessment scores and student-mentoring programs.

To meet some of these goals, the committee comprised several "strategies" that the action teams will expand on when meeting during the first of the year.

Among the committee-approved strategic goals the action teams will ponder are:

• "We will provide the resources and training to optimize teacher effectiveness."

• "We will provide state-of-the-art facilities."

• "We will create an interactive student-centered learning environment that serves all students' needs."

• "We will develop a multifaceted financial program that aggressively pursues both traditional and innovative funding opportunities."

• "We will optimize communication channels between students, faculty and community."

• "We will provide a comprehensive counseling program that meets the immediate and post-secondary needs of all students."

• "We will ensure the learning environment will be safe, nurturing and caring."

• "We will continually develop and implement a curriculum that is adaptive and meets the individual needs of all students."

• "We will implement early interventions to ensure that all students perform at or above grade level."

• "We will develop an awareness and un-derstanding of students with varying abilities."

• "We will establish a united school and community partnership."

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