Thompson school board approves strategic plan

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Thompson School District (TSD) Board of Education the board approved the district’s strategic plan, dubbed “Strive 2025.”

Bill Siebers, TSD chief human resources officer and Dawne Huckaby, chief academic officer, presented the Strive 2025 plan which includes four focus areas each with a related strategic goal – student achievement, inclusive and supportive culture, human talent and stewardship of resources.

In the focus area of student achievement, the goal by 2025 will be for the TSD to its rating in the State of Colorado District Performance Framework metric from “Accredited” to “Accredited with Distinction.” The state uses a series of metrics, including standardized testing, to give each district a performance rating. In the 2018 final rankings, the TSD earned a score of 57.8 (on a scale of 100) on the performance framework; the goal is to increase that rating to 74.0 or better by 2025 to achieve to “Accredited with Distinction” rating.

Dave Levy, whose district includes Berthoud, said following the presentation, “I’d just like to point out to the public that the district is committing to raising our CDE score from a 58 to a 75 or above. This is a very aggressive goal, it’s achievable, I think this is something we as a district and an entire community can be very, very proud of; we’re declaring we’re going to be excellent and we’re putting that in writing.”

In order to create an inclusive and supportive culture, the goal set forth will be to increase by 10% the number of survey respondents, which include students, staff, parents and community members, who “strongly agree” or “agree” that feel “welcomed, safe and supported” in the district’s schools. For the focus area of human talent, the TSD has set forth the goal of reaching an annual staff retention rate of 85% or greater.

The fourth and final focus area, being a good steward of financial resources, the district says, “As a public taxpayer-funded organization, Thompson School District will continue to be an accountable entity that is fiscally responsible, efficient in its use of resources and transparent in its continued partnership with the community,” as its goal statement. The goal will be to maintain fiscal solvency while continuing to meet the current and future needs of the district. The presentation included an outline of how each focus area will go through three tiers of action steps – planning and development, implementation and finally, assessment and evaluation.

“(We) are setting very high aspirations so we can be a destination district,” said TSD Superintendent Marc Schaffer. “Our goal is to be world class, our goal is to be best in class and hopefully this strategic plan aligns our priorities, it will align our work, it will align priorities in everything we’re doing in the district.”

The motion to approve Strive 2025 was seconded and passed unanimously.

The board also listened to a presentation by Matt Kuhn, chief technology officer for TSD. Kuhn’s presentation outlined how the district, now with improved funding, has been able to make significant progress in the efforts to bring TSD technology up to modern standards. Kuhn explained that one area of improvement was by contracting with Comcast, the district’s total bandwidth will be increased from 3.0 Gbps to 10.0 Gbps by December 2019.

Also discussed at Wednesday’s meeting was TSD’s on-going partnership with the Orthopedic Center of the Rockies and it was announced the district has decided to increase the number of hours from 25 to 30 per week that a certified athletic trainer will be at each high school. TSD leadership stated the reason for the increase in hours is to further assure the safety of all student-athletes, which the district calls “the number one priority.”

The board also voted unanimously to spend $150,000 to move two modular buildings, which encompass four classrooms, from Mountain View High School to the High Plains School due to over-crowding at the latter and hire a new teacher for High Plains. The High Plains School, which is located on western side of the Centrerra area near Boyd Lake, has been experiencing extraordinary growth due to the development in that area. The move is temporary, however, as the new K-8 school that was approved as part of the bond measure last year will be opening in 2021 and will absorb a portion of students from High Plains.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the TSD Board of Education comes on Sept. 4.

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