I was happy to learn that, as a Board, we all seem to be on the same page as far as our goals for the district.
(Let me just point out, I am speaking for myself and not the Board as a whole. Please do not take any remarks here as coming from the Board, but from me. This is not to say that other Board members do not share my sentiments.)
The number one goal is always improving student achievement. There are many efforts in place now to help work toward that goal. Two things I am very excited about are collaborations with Crowder College and MSSU and the 1:1 Technology Initiative. Our new Superintendent, Dan Decker, hit the ground running this week. He has already spoken with Dr. Farnsworth, the Interim President of Crowder College, about making an Associates Degree in General Studies a reality for our students as early as this school year. He also has an aggressive goal for having a technology device in the hands of every student soon. At this point we are looking at different devices and the positives and negatives of each before making a final decision within the next month or two.
One recurring theme of the meeting was improving customer service. As a representative of the taxpayers in the Neosho School District, it is important to me that all parents and community members get the best customer service. When I refer to customer service, I am talking about how concerns, discipline or other issues are handled by the staff. It is paramount that everyone is greeted kindly and given great service when interacting with district employees. Unreturned phone calls or emails is simply unacceptable. I referred to customer service as a recurring theme because many of the concerns from parents seem to stem not from poor management, but poor customer service.
Another goal we have set is to decrease the number of dropouts by half. I am very proud of the efforts that have been made by the district to address this issue. Beginning this fall we will have one teacher dedicated to the Missouri Option Program. Through Missouri Option, students are able to sit for the GED test and still receive a high school diploma. With this change our Jefferson Street Campus will have ten additional openings for students.
I am also excited to announce the school district will be hiring a full-time Bright Futures Coordinator. Through this position we can continue to expand Bright Futures to meet the needs of even more students. Already through Bright Futures we have helped students meet needs that otherwise would have prevented them from attending school and graduating.
I have promised to make the school district more transparent and I'm doing my best to fulfill that promise. If you have questions or concerns related to transparency, please let me know. I post the meetings on my Facebook page and encourage everyone to attend.
Neosho School District has a great year ahead. I am excited to be a part of it and hope all members of the community will make an effort to get involved!