School board eyes new strategic planning

Cleveland City Schools is getting ready to embark on a new strategic planning process which could shape the district’s priorities over the next few years. 
Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer explained the plans during a recent meeting of the Cleveland Board of Education. 
“We've been busy this summer and looking at a lot of things for this next school year,” Dyer said. 
The strategic planning process will begin with “focus group” meetings starting this September. The meetings, which are not yet scheduled, will be held at local schools and be for "anybody and everybody who wants to come,"  Dyer said. 
Additional planning meetings are expected to take place this October through December, including ones seeking feedback from teachers, local government leaders, business partners and more. “Implementation groups” will begin meeting in January 2020. 
Dyer also said the district this year will be focusing on improvements in the areas of student discipline, professional learning communities and more. 
The board also voted unanimously to approve the list of criteria by which Dyer will receive his next annual evaluation. Board members also unanimously approved a list of “smart goals” to accompany the evaluation. 
“I tried to pick a ‘smart goal’ to go with each part of the evaluation,” Dyer said, adding most of the goals are project-based. 
“Smart goals” for the coming year include carrying out the strategic planning process already mentioned, changing recruitment practices to promote more racial diversity among the city’s teachers and more. 
Kellye Bender, supervisor of elementary and counseling, and Dr. Jeff Elliott, chief academic officer/assistant director of schools, also gave the board some insight into how literacy is taught in schools.
They gave a brief presentation centering on “balanced literacy,” an educational model which includes a variety of approaches, from interactive read-aloud time to independent reading and writing in class. 
“A lot of people would be surprised to know we actually spend close to half our day on literacy,” Bender said of the elementary grades. 
Students in kindergarten through the second grade spend 150 minutes per day on literacy instruction, while students in the third through fifth grades spend 120 minutes. 
The board also voted to approve minor changes to 12 different board policies. Most of the changes were recommendations of the Tennessee School Boards Association. 
Cleveland City Schools’ recent retirees, along with 41 new teachers for the 2019-20 year, were honored with a reception prior to the meeting.
This year’s retirees were: Administrative Office: Angie Nabbefeldt; Blythe-Bower Elementary: Susan Griffith and Connie Rogers;  Cleveland High School: Kathy Murphy;  Cleveland Middle School: Phyllis Anderson, Jennifer Ellis and Sandra Peterson;  Donald P. Yates Primary: Wain Weaver; and George R. Stuart Elementary: Pam Cooke, Brenda Dillon and Patricia Henderson.  


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