New strategic plan developed for Joplin School District

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May 22—The Joplin Board of Education on Tuesday is set to approve a new five-year strategic plan to take the district through 2027.

The plan was developed with the consulting firm Marc Maness and Associates at a cost of $70,000. It is based on feedback from parents, teachers, staff, students, community members, school board members, administrators and past graduates.

The proposed strategic plan retains the current strategic plan's focus on academic achievement and support for teachers and staff. It also introduces a new focus on communications and community engagement, prioritizing the funding of an administrative communications position as well as the growth of community and parent partnerships.

The district has already begun working on this focus area with the establishment of its Office of Community Engagement and Communications and the hiring of a director for that department.

Other key focus areas listed explicitly in the proposed strategic plan are:

—Mental health. The new plan would require the district to "create and implement a comprehensive plan to meet the mental health needs of staff" as well as a "comprehensive multitiered system of support that address the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students."

—Teacher pay. The plan would require the district to "assess local K-12 public education salary and benefit packages to stay competitive in the area."

—Core academic subjects. While the current plan refers to student readiness in literacy and math, the new plan prioritizes "student proficiency and growth" in the core subjects of English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Students are tested annually by the state in those subjects.

—Curriculum. The plan would require the district to have a "robust curriculum guide" for all grade levels, to be developed by collaborative teams and reviewed annually.

The current plan lists a set of behaviors that Joplin students are expected to master: greet one another, follow instructions, get along and participate. The new plan removes that section entirely.