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Mehlville residents jam gymnasium for meeting of district action teams


February 02, 2005 - By SCOTT MILLER

Staff Reporter

More than 300 people filed into the Bernard Middle School gymnasium last week hoping to give Mehlville School District administrators guidance on improving district finances, academic achievement, technology and facilities.

The gathering was the second phase of establishing a new Comprehensive School Improvement Plan for the school district. It follows the work done by the Long Range Planning Committee, which established a district mission statement along with several strategies and objectives that four action teams will use to formulate specific suggestions.

"The purpose we are here tonight is for the Long Range Planning Committee to hand the baton to the action teams. The action teams, in turn, will go on to extremely important work because as we all know, the devil is in the details," Deputy Superintendent Jane Reed said.

The audience split up into four groups, or action teams, to begin a detailed discussion on improving academic performance, finance, technology and facilities. The groups will meet for about a month and then report back to the district's Long Range Planning Committee.

The planning committee then will use the teams' suggestions to craft a formal recommendation to the Board of Education in late March or early April. Before making a recommendation, the committee could ask the action teams to reconvene for further discussion.

Before making a presentation to the board, Reed said one or possibly two public forums will take place to present the committee's ideas to the community. The district also may conduct a resident survey, she said.

District employees will facilitate the action teams' discussion. The employees were trained in long-range planning by South Area Superintendent Keith Klus-meyer, Bernard Principal Michelle Con-don and Oakville Senior High Assistant Principal Brian Lane, according to Patrick Wallace, director of school/community re-lations.

The three administrators took a two-week seminar on long-range planning in Louisville, Ky., last year.

Each team will have two co-chairs — a district employee and an elected team member.

Of the 26 planning committee members, 10 are district employees, one is a retired teacher, three are students, 11 are district parents and one lives in the district but doesn't have students attending Mehlville schools.

At the Jan. 27 meeting, Reed told the audience, "The most important part is that we involve as many people in the discussion about what schools can become for our kids in the next few years."

Anyone interested in serving on an action team can still do so by calling Klusmeyer at (314) 467-5001 or attending the meetings. People can participate in discussion or just observe, Wallace said.

The finance team will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 3, Feb. 9 and Feb. 17 at the Forder Elementary School library, 623 W. Ripa Ave.

The technology team will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 2, Feb. 9 and Feb. 15 at Traut-wein Accelerated School, 5011 Ambs Road.

The facilities team will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 3, Feb. 9 and Feb. 17 at the Bernard Middle School library, 1054 Forder Road.

About 200 people signed up for the team on academic achievement, Wallace said. Because the group is so large, the district split the team up into several subgroups.

Academic achievement teams will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 2, Feb. 3, Feb. 8, Feb. 9, Feb. 10, Feb. 15, Feb. 16 and Feb. 17 at Bernard Middle School; from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Feb. 8 and Feb. 15 at the Oakville Middle School library, 5950 Telegraph Road; and from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 8 and Feb. 15 at Oakville Elementary School, 2911 Yaeger Road.

Facilitators will present the action teams' recommendations to the planning committee at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Bernard Middle School.

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