L-D schools talk strategic planning

The vision of the Lead-Deadwood School District is to focus on core academic subjects while ensuring the development of the whole child through positive relationships, character, service, wellness, and community collaboration. Pioneer photo by Jaci Conrad Pearson

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LEAD — A variety of focus areas for 2019-2021 were explored at a recent Lead-Deadwood School District strategic planning session held just prior to the start of school.

The first order of business was review of the district’s strategic plan.

“We discussed our mission, vision and goals from the last iteration of the strategic plan,” said School District Superintendent Dr. Dan Leikvold, adding that the school board was supportive of all.

The mission of the district is to equip students with the skills needed to be successful and responsible citizens. 

The vision of the district is to focus on core academic subjects while ensuring the development of the whole child through positive relationships, character, service, wellness, and community collaboration.

“Goal one, student achievement, at each building, elementary, middle and high school, there are goals that are there and then we talked about new targets for ELA (English language arts) and math on the Smarter Balance test,” Leikvold said.

The goal at the elementary school is to increase the number of students who are proficient on the Smarter Balance Assessment in ELA 1.41% in grades 3-5 and in math 3.3%.

The goal at the middle school is to increase the number of students grade 6-8 who are proficient on the Smarter Balance Assessment in ELA by 7.35% and in math 8.26%.

The goal at the high school is to increase the number of students who are proficient on the Smarter Balance Assessment in ELA by 15.44% in grade 11 and math by 15.22%.

School district officials also discussed the second goal, which is educational environment. 

“As is the case annually, there was positive information and not-so-positive information on the Smarter Balance,” Leikvold said. “We will continue to focus on addressing the standards, making sure that students are presented with rigorous learning opportunities and look for multiple strategies to adequately prepare our students for the test. Although student success is measured by much more than a test score and we know that preparing students to be ‘ready for life after high school’ is multi-faceted, we still know that we can and must do better on this test.”

School district officials also talked about attendance and discipline referrals, as well as student achievement and the educational environment component. 

“We know that the essence of success is show up, work hard, follow the rules, and treat others well,” Leikvold said. “So, we’ll be sure to focus on making sure our students are in attendance every day and they’re here, ready to learn.”

Goal three of the strategic plan is resources and support systems, mainly driven the business office and the school board.

A budget discussion was also part of the mix.

“Our budget discussion centered on what our long-term outlook is regarding our revenue is and our expenditures and what our staffing and programming look like,” Leikvold said. “Because our revenue is a moving target, we have many unknowns and we will continue to monitor our budget throughout the year. We’ll talk some more in November at our board retreat and we’ll know more after the legislative session in March.”

An updated version of the strategic plan, including updates, will be presented to the board of education for approval in October.

The board also discussed a new professional development format that will personalize focus areas for individual instructors, with a suite of computerized courses that people can select from. 

“Typically, they’re early outs, where we conduct our meetings,” Leikvold said. “Now, some of our days will be the same as what it always was. But some of our days, rather than everybody doing everything the same at the same time, we’re going to say, ‘you can go over here and work on this in your classroom.’”

School lunch was also a topic of discussion.

“We had a nice discussion on our school lunch program and considered what options we might have for the way we currently do business,” Leikvold said. “After a lot of points on various sides of various issues, the group decided to discuss it at a future board meeting.”

The final discussion topic was facilities.

“Phase 2A went great during the summer. That was really good,” Leikvold said. “Phase 2B will be next summer. Once that’s over, we need to consider doing something regarding phase three, which, at a minimum, consider doing an upgrade of the cafeteria and possibly a more extensive project in the rest of the elementary school building.”

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