Rolla School Board accepts new strategic planEarly childhood education is stressed in the new Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) approved by the Rolla Board of Education Thursday night.

Early childhood education is stressed in the new Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) approved by the Rolla Board of Education Thursday night.
“Each group said something about early childhood,” Ken DeSieghardt, CEO of Patron Insight, a consulting firm hired by the board to facilitate the general committee that wrote the plan based on input from the five subgroups. “They just think it needs to happen, and it is a good next step for the district.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aaron Zalis also has been meeting with various community business, civic and education groups for several months, presenting options for an early childhood center.
In DeSieghardt’s presentation of the five-year plan Thursday night, he reminded board members that it covers five areas, each of which was studied by a subcommittee of the general improvement plan committee.
Those five areas are as follows: Parent and community involvement; highly qualified staff; instructional resources, facilities and support services; student performance; and governance.
Nearly 50 local business leaders, educators and other school district residents met for the last several weeks to write the new CSIP, and Thursday night the Rolla Board of Education unanimously accepted it.
“I think they did an outstanding job,” said DeSieghardt, whose firm is based in Stilwell, Kansas. DeSieghardt worked with the board and the patrons who volunteered to work on the plan.
DeSieghardt reviewed the method used for writing the plan: School board members submitted to him lists of names of potential community members to serve on the CSIP committee. From that list, he selected a spectrum of people and sent invitations. Not all accepted the invitations, but a sufficient number, perhaps more than expected, did.
“They had a chance to speak up and say ‘this is the subcommittee I would like to work on,’ ” DeSieghardt said, and five subcommittees were formed to work on the five goal areas.
After a general committee meeting, subcommittees met and reported back at a second general meeting.
“They came back with strategies,” DeSieghardt said, and each subcommittee then presented its strategies to the full committee which critiqued them.
After that, the subcommittees met and came back with tactics that were also critiqued.
Two weeks ago Patron Insight convened local focus groups of business leaders and “garden-variety citizens” met to read, discuss and sharpen the final report, he said.
Asked by board member Tony Froehlich if anything was “unique” about the firm’s work with local residents, DeSieghardt said Rolla residents serving on the committee went into the work with no personal agendas.
In many communities, he said, the final strategic plans for school districts reflect personal biases or goals.
“That is not the case here,” he said.
Board member Keith Strassner noted that because much of the new CSIP reflects the old plan, it shows that “we as a board are heading in the right direction.” But he noted, too, that the final document shows that the community expects continued growth and progress. “They push us, push us to achieve more.”
Board member Jane Haskell said the school board needs “to market what our district has done” in a better way. “We need to show off what is great,” she said.
DeSieghardt said in random polling conducted by Patron Insight, 30 percent of those called at random will have students in school, so they will be familiar with what schools are doing in the community. The other 70 percent of people will have no connection with the school district.
Zalis said all schools are required to have a strategic plan.
“Every district has to have a plan, but they don’t tell us what to put in it,” he said.

Five goals with strategies make up improvement plan

Rolla’s strategic plan, or Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP), is broken down into goals, strategies and tactics, with each tactic set on a five-year timetable. Some of the tactics are for all five years, others are for four or fewer.
“Strategies are like a destination, and tactics are the routes,” Ken DeSieghardt, CEO of Patron Insight, a consulting firm, said. Each of the routes has various “stopping off points” over the coming years.
Here’s a look at the Rolla CSIP goals and strategies from each of the subcommittees (follow-up articles will take a look at the tactics):
Parent and Community Involvement
Goal: Promote, facilitate and enhance parent, student and community involvement in district educational programs.
Strategy A: Increase the number of families/community members volunteering and/or participating in individual school and district-wide programs.
Strategy B: Increase educational awareness throughout the community on early childhood education benefits, as well as a supportive home environment for learning.
Strategy C: Build on the existing communication efforts with families and the community to enhance more broad-based awareness of the district’s strengths among community members who do not regularly come in contact with the district.
Highly Qualified Staff
Goal: Recruit, attract, develop and retain highly qualified staff to carry out the district’s mission, goals and objectives.
Strategy A: Implement and maintain a competitive salary and benefits package for all certified and non-certified staff that attracts and retains highly qualified staff.
Strategy B: Promote a positive working environment for all certified and non-certified staff.
Resources, Facilities and Support Services
Goal: Develop and enhance quality educational/instructional programs to improve and enable students to meet their personal, academic and career goals.
Strategy A: Technology—Optimize the use of established technology and integrate emerging technology to enhance student learning and staff productivity.
Strategy B: District facilities—District financial and facilities planning will ensure all buildings are safe, secure and modern, and that all facilities are neat, clean and well-maintained, utilizing sustainable practice.
Strategy C: Promote a healthy, positive and supportive learning environment for students.
Student Performance
Goal: Develop and enhance quality educational/instructional programs to improve and enable students to meet their personal, academic and career goals.
Strategy A: Align resources to increase standardized achievement test scores, district-created assessments and all other relevant assessments utilized to affirm high academic performance in all grade levels.
Strategy B: Ensure that curriculum and support services prepare students to be college and career ready, and that they possess necessary “life skills” upon graduation.
Strategy C: Deploy an integrated, advancing and comprehensive Pre-K-12 curriculum, containing 21st Century skills, whose purpose and goals are understood by parents, students and teachers.
Strategy D: Offer the highest quality educational and instructional programs, using evidence- and research-based teaching methodologies.
Goal: Govern the district in an efficient and effective manner, providing leadership and representation to benefit students, staff and patrons of the district.
Strategy A: Provide avenues for information sharing and public input that ensure widespread public awareness and understanding of district decisions, programs and progress on key performance indicators.
Strategy B: Promote a culture of transparency, accountability, public confidence, staff confidence, collaboration and joint responsibility for student achievement.
Strategy C: Develop a sustainable financial plan to optimize ongoing finances to achieve district goals.
Strategy D: Apply Missouri School Boards’ Association foundational principles for effective governance.

Mission, Beliefs, Goals reflect the improvement plan

Only a couple of changes were made in the “Mission, Beliefs and Goals” of the Rolla Public Schools to reflect the new Comprehensive School Improvement Plan.
Both of those changes were in the goals.
The mission, beliefs and goals are posted on the wall in the board meeting room.
The responsibility of the Rolla School District is to provide, in partnership with the community, the best educational opportunities possible for our students through a commitment to excellence in personnel, facilities, curriculum and instruction.
Should be prepared to compete and excel in a global society.
Should be prepared to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens.
Deserve a safe and nurturing learning environment.
Deserve the opportunity to realize their potential through early learning opportunities and intervention.
Deserve the best educational opportunities possible through community-wide commitment to excellence.
Deserve the best teachers and the school district is responsible for attracting and retaining high quality educators.
Deserve a stable educational environment provided by secure fiscal management of the school district.
Student performance on state and local assessment measures will continue to improve. [Changed from “Student performance on MAP tests (with an emphasis on math and communication arts tests at the elementary level), vocational assessments and other assessment measures will continue to improve.]
Student attendance will meet expected performance standards. [Changed from “Student attendance will improve to an average daily attendance rate of 95 percent for the school district.”]
Students will improve citizenship skills and individual character traits.
Student graduation rates will increase for the school district to 90 percent or better.
Teachers will enhance instruction through the use of technology.
Parent involvement and communication throughout the district will improve.
Career technical education will maintain its regional influence through excellence in programming and job placement.


About Patron Insight
Patron Insight, a firm based in Kansas with scores of Missouri school districts as clients, helps schools and other institutions gauge public sentiment through polling data and the use of that data.
“Taxpayer skepticism is at an all-time high. But schools still need to be built, modernized and maintained. Roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs demand urgent attention. Government facility needs don’t just go away; they get more acute,” the firm notes on its website at “Getting beyond the growing trend toward no requires a deeper knowledge of taxpayers’ psyche than ever before. We know taxpayers. Inside and out.”
Patron Insight has been in business since 1992, working with schools, hospitals and local governments to help them learn about taxpayers, specifically “what makes them tick, and what ticks them off.”
The firm boldly declares: “If you need to know what it will take to gain your taxpayers’ support, you’ve come to the right place.”
To back up that declaration, Patron Insight notes, “Our data has been used by taxing entities to raise more than $4.2 billion in revenue; 96 percent of the time, what we discover in our research is what it ends up being on Election Day.”
The firm adds, “Managing public perception is not a job for the novice or the faint of heart. You’ll be confident in the advice and counsel we provide.”