Fort Smith Public Schools is making progress to meet the objectives set forth in the Vision 2023 initiative approved by the district last year.
In a presentation to the board at its regular meeting Monday (Dec. 17) night, Dr. Doug Brubaker, superintendent of schools, said he was excited at where the district is now as compared to last year and looks forward to what will be accomplished in the next year.
Vision 2023 is the strategic plan that came from a series of planning sessions by a strategic planning committee held in the fall of 2017. The planning committee was made up of school officials, educators, students and community leaders.
The group identified seven objectives for the school district:
- Equitable Access: Each FSPS student will have equal access to programs, resources and opportunities.
- Well-being/Mental Health: Each student will receive needed support that ensures physical, mental and emotional health.
- Career Pathways: Each student will have early exposure to education and career planning, resources and guidance to prepare them with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful, life-long learners.
- Staffing: Each student will be instructed by well-trained professionals.
- Technology: Each student will have dependable and equal technological resources necessary to be prepared for the future.
- Instruction: Each student will have high-quality instruction that targets their identified individual needs from PK through graduation.
- Learning Environment: Each student will have instructionally supportive learning environments that are safe, nurturing and welcoming.
The Vision 2023 strategic plan was adopted by the board in December 2017.
In October, the district held a refresher on the strategic plan and invited the strategic team to review progress made in the past year, Brubaker said.
The objectives outlined in Vision 2023 were used to help determine what needs the district had that would be met with funding created by the passage of a millage increase in May.
Fort Smith voters on May 22 approved the school millage increase, the first in 31 years, raising the millage rate in Fort Smith from 36.5 mills to 42 mills.
“I’m really excited about the career and technical center education and the progress that is being made in that and the progress that is being made on connecting students to career pathways. Everyone seems to be getting on board with that and supporting it, and I’m really excited about that,” said Sam T. Sicard, president and chief executive officer of First National Bank of Fort Smith who is also a committee member said in a video presentation.
In the past few weeks, district personnel have made more strides in the objectives, including participating in a mandatory grant writing webinar, said Zena Featherston Marshall, FSPS executive director of communication and community partnerships.
The wellness committee also will travel to Northwest Arkansas in January to visit school-based clinics to take a look at what they are doing before working to form a plan the district can use when writing a grant, Marshall said.
“This plan is not something that sits on a shelf. It’s something that is alive, and every day it takes on greater meaning and more importance,” Brubaker said in the video.