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EDUCATION CORNER: Strategic plan guides RCS’ next five years

Franklin Living —

Every five years, the Russellville City School System develops a strategic plan that outlines the goals, strategies and vision we have for the next five years. This summer, it was time once again to form our committee and work on our new RCS Strategic Plan, and I’m proud of the finished product and where our system is headed.

One of the things I love most about our strategic plan is the input we receive from our students, faculty, staff, parents and other community stakeholders. Our stakeholders have valuable insight, and we want to make sure we take that insight into account.

Earlier in the year we sent out surveys to parents, teachers and community members to find out they perceived RCS was doing well and in what areas RCS could grow.

Some of the strengths identified by survey respondents were our academic and athletic programs, the way we celebrate success, our partnerships with colleges and universities, our fine arts programs, positive student/teacher relationships, school pride and tradition, student diversity, teacher quality and community support.

I absolutely agree these things are strengths for our system, and we plan to make sure these areas remain strengths.

The challenges RCS faces – as identified by respondents – included student motivation, student attendance, course alignment across grade levels, social etiquette and ability to balance time and programs. These were all discussed by strategic plan committee, and plans were made to address these challenges.

The final area where we received stakeholder input was regarding priorities for RCS in the next five years. These included preparing students for life after high school; developing students of character; providing safe and secure facilities; building student resilience; and supporting social-emotional well-being. I believe these are all important priorities, and I’ve been excited to see how some of them are already being addressed – such as through implementing our new RCS Core Values.

Our RCS Core Values is a list of eight positive character traits we will emphasize in our classrooms, with one core value being focused on each month: respect, integrity, kindness, responsibility, self-control, positive attitude, determination and honesty. It’s been great to see the ways our classrooms teachers and administrators have embraced teaching these values.

We appreciate everyone who has helped shape our new RCS Strategic Plan. It is great to have a community that cares so deeply about our schools and wants us to succeed.

Heath Grimes is the superintendent of Russellville City Schools. He and his wife Amy have three daughters: Leah, Halle and Erin.

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