Superintendent Unveils Draft Strategic Plan

County Chief Financial Officer Steve Lynne provides an update to school board members on the Trinity Site project. He explained since the Kroger Company received the lease for the development from the North American Development Group, they have been very active in the project. The Kroger Company has met to do pre-planning and has begun geo-tech and survey work. The next big step, Lynne said, is to submit a site plan for approval: “So they are plowing straight ahead.”  Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

By Kirsten Laskey

“The future of Los Alamos is very bright,” Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt said during the school board work session Thursday night.

To ensure the light always shines brightly for everyone in the district, Schmidt unveiled a draft of the LAPS strategic plan to the board.

This plan is a work in progress; Schmidt asked that the board review the strategic plan and provide feedback.

Currently, it has five objectives: academic achievement for all students, quality teachers, leaders and staff, aligned resources and support systems, parent and community partnerships, and continuous improvement.

Addressing the first objective, Schmidt said it is important that the district ensure all students, no matter where they stand academically, successfully enter college or a career after graduating from the district.

“We will build into (the plan) strategic pathways for every student to be successful,” he said.

The “middle student” or those who are neither the top nor the lowest academic performers need to be given attention, he said.

It is also important that the facilities are addressed.

“Our facilities need to match the quality of instruction inside,” Schmidt said.

For teachers to be successful, the draft strategic plan proposes allocating resources and developing priorities for professional development.

Board Secretary Melanie McKinley suggested including development for Common Core in the strategic plan.

Regarding aligning resources and support systems, Schmidt said partnerships make a difference. Relationships with Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of New Mexico-Los Alamos and Los Alamos County should be expanded, he said.

Schmidt added it is important to think globally. Besides enrollment, Schimidt said other avenues for revenue needed to be discussed.

For instance, he mentioned partnering with UNM-LA to provide dual-credit courses to give high school students an introduction to college life.

Parents’ involvement and input is also needed. Schmidt commented that at the middle school there seems to be a “doughnut effect” where parent participation drops off from where it is at the elementary and high school level.

To help bring parents to the schools, Schmidt mentioned the possibility of parenting academies, which would help parents in assisting with homework.

McKinley said she was impressed with the draft plan, however, she recommended looking at the plan through Google Docs and bringing back comments and revisions to the board to share with the staff and public.

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