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Palisades presents comprehensive plan for 2020-2023


In its special quadrennial testimonial to its commitments to educational excellence and community well-being, through both staff and community engagement, the Palisades School District has introduced its comprehensive plan for 2020-2023.

The introduction was presented at the Oct. 16 public school board meeting, with the vote on adoption scheduled for the Nov. 20 meeting. The presentation was led by Donna Holmes, the district’s director of community relations and development, and Dr. Michael O’Donnell, director of curriculum and instruction.

A 27-member steering committee, consisting of board members and professional staff, as well as business leaders and parents, spent three half-days during 2017-2018 focusing on key subject areas of academic excellence; communication with the community; facilities considerations; and student and community wellness.

Their work included reviewing the current plan and its achievements, and results of surveys and consideration of new surveys. Action planning teams for each key subject area expanded participation to 43 professional staff, parents and business owners.

Within the topic of academic excellence, special effort is to be made to consider a balance between using support technology and developing interpersonal skills. Support technology usage included researching and analyzing best practices for various grade levels.

Also within academic excellence, a commitment was made to expand the district’s “Pathway” programs, which enable students to establish job, career path, and other post-high school goals while still in school, including real-life experience off-site. Another commitment was made to continue interpreting benchmark data toward identifying any key students’ needs, and provide appropriate intervention, as well as implement a research-based system for multi-tiered supports.

Within the communications area, referring primarily to between the district and its constituents, a commitment was made to investigate and evaluate new software and hardware, toward streamlining and creating efficiencies for improved two-way communication.

Within the building and facilities area, a commitment was made to continue heightened awareness of safety concerns, and to continue to monitor enrollment, building usage, and staffing “to ensure that the district is maximizing its resources.”

Last year, the district tabled consideration of closing one or more of its five school buildings, as a response to declining enrollment, and has since undertaken new initiatives toward attracting new families.

Within the wellness area, bullying prevention is to continue to be an active effort, as is continually reviewing and improving professional support for student social and emotional needs, as well as common mental health issues. The district has been lauded for its efforts in providing good nutrition and related education.

The full comprehensive plan was to be posted online on Oct. 23, and it is to be offered for school board approval at their Nov. 20 public meeting. The approved plan must then be submitted to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education before Nov. 30.