The consensus from community members: The plan is ambitious and innovative, but it’ll take plenty of time, money and dedication to fully implement.
Administrators are poised to tackle the challenge, said David Danhoff, the district’s chief of staff and transformation officer.
“If it’s not implemented, this plan isn’t worth what it’s written on,” Danhoff said. “We’re going to build upon our successes and redesign areas where we feel we’re a little bit weak. Implementation begins right now”
The plan, a recommendation for a massive overhaul of all day-to-day district operations, aims to improve all aspects of student achievement and district performance. It will guide all district decisions for the next five years.
Administrators hosted a community forum at Sandusky High School’s cafeteria Tuesday, specifically geared toward parents of kindergarten through sixth-grade students. About 40 people attended, with most offering positive feedback regarding the plan.
Among the questions answered:
Q: How are we going to pay for this?
A: Sandusky Schools is projecting a stable budget for the next five years and will continue to operate within its budget, Danhoff said.
“We’re in a strong position right now, financially, to look toward the future” he said. “Yes, it will cost money to make change, which is why it’s important for us to be as fiscally responsible as possible with every nickel and dime we have. We don’t want to have to go back to the voters”
Q: What will this look like when it’s implemented in our school buildings?
A: In all grade levels, curriculum will emphasize science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or “STEAM , said Julie McDonald, the district’s chief academic officer.
The district will also implement project-based learning, which focuses on collaborative, interactive experiences, rather than traditional, lecture-style instruction.
Q: How will this affect our school report card?
A: All academic instruction will fulfill state education requirements, McDonald said. When fully implemented, the Transformation Plan’s goal is to increase student achievement, providing students with real-world training while also boosting district test scores.
Q: Will this plan only address high academic achievers, or will there also be programs in place for our troubled youth?
A: Sandusky Schools will offer programs for all types of students, administrators said.
Some examples: 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,which will be renamed Sandusky Digital Academy.
In high school, students will soon be able to earn enough college credits to obtain an associate’s degree. The high school will also establish an arts academy.
“Right now, many students are just going to school just to get through it” Danhoff said. “This will get them thinking about what they want to do with their lives, and we’re going to work hand-in-hand with them to get them going in the right direction”
Sandusky Schools administrators will host a second forum with district parents and community members 6 p.m. Thursday in the Sandusky High School cafeteria. The presentation will be geared toward high school parents, but anyone can attend.
WHAT: Sandusky Schools parent meeting
WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Sandusky High School cafeteria, 2130 Hayes Ave.
WHY: Discuss the district’s Transformation Plan