Mission accomplished

Published 6:46 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

After nearly three months of work, a steering committee charged with developing a mission statement for the city school system has made its recommendation.

“This year, in preparation for our upcoming system wide accreditation application, we have been examining our system mission statement, guiding principles and goals for the next five years,” said Superintendent of Education Dr. Al Griffin. “Just as each school engages in continuous improvement efforts, our system also must regularly monitor, reflect, revise and reframe plans to focus our efforts and those of our students, parents and other partners on increasing student achievement.”

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A representative steering committee began the planning process in November 2010 by reviewing and revising the current system mission statement, vision and guiding principles. More than 75 citizens from all segments of the school community provided ideas, suggestions and feedback at a community forum last month.

To gather additional input, parents and employees will have an opportunity to respond to survey questions about the current status and future goals of our school system during the final weeks of February.

“We want our system to be its best and our students and employees to be their best,” Griffin said. “We feel ready to challenge ourselves, our students and our community to new levels of success. Successful organizations never rest on their accomplishments – they identify new goals and prepare for new challenges.”

Griffin added that central office staff are also studying the latest research on school improvement and want “our system to employ all current best practices and to encourage innovation and creativity as we move confidently into twenty-first century schooling. Our students will need it, our community expects it and our success depends upon it. “

The group will disseminate and discuss specific data as the schools move forward with future plans.

“We are confident that the responses and data we collect will show us where we are doing well, how and by whom we are supported in our efforts, and where there are opportunities to take our system to the next level of excellence,” Griffin said. “We believe expanding our vision, focusing on the success of all students and defining higher standards for our system will challenge us, stretch us and propel us to higher achievement. The bar has been raised for our students. We must raise the bar for our system.”

The steering committee’s next task is to incorporate the forum information and survey feedback, the desires and needs of parents and community members, and current research on best practices into a new vision statement and a set of guiding principles that lets everyone know of its determination and dedication to the success of each student, to equipping these students with future-oriented skills and abilities, and that we are a public school system dedicated to high quality education for all students.

“Let me encourage each parent of a Demopolis City School student, as well as each employee, to participate in the upcoming online surveys,” Griffin said. “Your answers will provide us valuable data as we seek to complete our strategic planning. Our goal is to create achievable, measureable benchmarks for success. I am certain that we will identify new ways to work together to create and support a public school system of the highest quality, with the best employees, with community support, and in exciting environments to produce the most successful graduates – students who continue to enrich Demopolis and who are academically, technologically and socially prepared for success.”

The surveys are available on the Demopolis City School System Website (www.demopoliscityschools.com). There is a link to the surveys on the Home Page. The surveys must be completed on or before Monday, Feb. 28 and take approximately15 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous.

The survey results will be included in the final strategic plan documents.