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LPOSD plans for the future

by BEAUX WHITE EAGLE/Staff Writer
| February 14, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Tonight’s Lake Pend Oreille School Board meeting will feature a topic that will shape the district for the next five years.

Rolling out Lake Pend Oreille School District’s five-year strategic plan began with the official draft being shared in the district's monthly blog “The Loop” and Superintendent Dr. Becky Meyer speaking about the document at length on the KRFY morning show. But the creation and building of the plan began last summer.

When Meyer became the district’s superintendent, she said a primary goal was to ensure the district and the community would work together to give students the best education possible. To that end, Meyer said board trustees thought it wise to renew the strategic plan, which gave Meyer a more broad opportunity to accomplish another goal — community involvement.

“The main thing my first year is to really increase communication out to everybody and ensure that people feel involved and that they know what's going on, that we're transparent,” Meyer said previously. "So really increasing communication, creating avenues for people to have their voice heard.”

Since officially taking over in July 2022, Meyer has taken several steps to improve communication from creating a district Instagram account to the creation of a monthly blog, community surveys, and more. One of the survey topics was a five-year strategic plan. Issued earlier in the school year, Meyer said the deadline for the survey was extended to ensure the community had enough time to offer input. A draft of the five-year plan was then built from comments received in the survey.

“Out of all of the 994 people who did the [five-year strategic plan] survey, one of the top items, addressing facilities, actually ended up being the No. 1.” Meyer said. “Second is improving student connection.”

With input from those surveys passing through the hands of several teams within the district, Meyer explained the work to build the plan began with surveys but was a much more detailed process that took place over the course of months.

Starting with the K-12 administrative team, a team consisting of all the principals and assistant principals in the district, the information was first reviewed and critical themes were selected from recurring feedback. Meyer explained on the KRFY morning show that those key themes were broken down even further by the operations team, including district directors. With Meyer overseeing and reviewing all of the input from the teams and surveys, the information was then broken down into four sections that tackle priority concerns for the district.

Tackling a number of priority projects in the district, the strategic plan seeks to improve overall student quality of life from addressing mental health concerns due to the residual effects of the pandemic to the aging infrastructure. District officials have already begun to address updates in student safety technology, safety policy and building repairs. Facility updates, ranking top in the strategic plan, will continue to be at the forefront of projects as the draft reveals the district will create a new committee specifically to address the issue.

Currently dubbed the Long Range Facility Planning Committee, the group’s main focuses already outlined by the draft will be on community communication growth, building conditions, and extracurricular activities. Other facility concerns further address student safety with the plan to continue work with District Safety Task Force and bolster campus security.

Working for the teachers of the district the draft of the plan also addresses staffing concerns such as class sizes and the number of substitute teachers available in an effort to retain quality staff.

The plan and all its topics will be further discussed at today’s board meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Ponderay Event Center.