The goal: dole out associate’s degrees alongside high school diplomas. Once fully implemented, the innovative opportunity will help Sandusky High School graduates be globally competitive, school officials said. It’s one of a dozen plans Sandusky Schools is poised to roll out, according to the district’s newly released Transformation Plan.
“We’re at a pivotal crossroads in our history,” superintendent Eugene Sanders said. “Do we want to rest on our laurels, or begin to chart a new path and forge in a new direction of change and excellence in our changing world?”
The Transformation Plan, an overhaul of every aspect of day-to-day operations, will guide all district decision-making for the next five years, Sanders said.
He presented an abbreviated version of the 85-page document at the Sandusky Rotary Club meeting at Castaway Bay on Thursday, at an event he dubbed his first annual “State of the Schools” address.
Watch the presentation in the player below
Significant upcoming changes, as detailed in the Transformation Plan, include:
•Global experience for seniors — Restructuring the senior year of high school. Instead of taking classes, a senior will spend his or her final semester in a “global experience,” either online college courses, internships or foreign exchange
•"STEAM” — Creating a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in all grade levels.
•Project-based learning — Incorporating project-based learning into classes, with an emphasis on collaborative, realworld experiences. Students will learn to grasp larger concepts and implement them toward solving problems.
•Athletics and activities — Hiring a full-time staff member to manage all aspects of student athletics and activities, from kindergarten through high school, to provide more opportunities for younger students. Previously the Blue Streak Athletic Boosters Club managed elementary-level athletics and activities.
•Alternative education — Offering a “menu” of opportunities in conjunction with traditional classrooms, including the Regional Center for Advanced Academic Studies, for gifted students; PRIDE Academy, for students with special needs; Sandusky Career Center, for career technical education; and Compass Academy, an alternative online school. North Point Educational Service Center currently operates Compass Academy, but the district plans to take over its management and rename it Sandusky Digital Academy.
Sanders also detailed plans to improve customer service, technology, transportation, food services, staff professional development opportunities and parent and community involvement in schools.
The massive Transformation Plan is about a year in the making. At more than a dozen meetings, a committee of school employees, parents and community members dissected each facet of Sandusky Schools to determine possible areas of improvement, Sanders said.
Based on reactions Thursday, it was well-received.
“In the last 28 years, I can truly say I’ve never experienced this energy like I am today,” said Julia Morton, a longtime district employee whose four children are district alumni and grandchildren are current students. “You can talk about this plan without notes, because it’s coming from the heart”
The next phase of transformation: implementation and constant evaluation.
“We’re going to continue to have town hall community meetings, so we can have engaged discussions,” Sanders said. “We want to listen to your feedback”
After his presentation Thursday, Sanders participated in an hourlong question-and-answer session with the Register and community members at Castaway Bay.
Watch Between the Lines with school officials in the player below
The entire 85-page Transformation Plan will be available on the district’s website, and below. A summarizing PowerPoint will also be available.