Steering Committee reviews community responses
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
PELHAM—The Pelham City Schools Steering Committee nears the end of their assignment as they reviewed community forum and survey data and prepared to write a draft of the mission statement during a July 2 meeting.
“We are on time, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Pelham,” Dr. Marcia Burke of strategic planning firm Burke Enterprises LLC said during the meeting. “The next step is to get the draft in order.”
The Steering Committee reviewed and analyzed community response data generated during a May 1 community forum and from online surveys available to the public from May 2 through May 22. In total, the community generated 948 responses, a very high number given the size of the Pelham City School System, Burke commented.
The data highlighted several common desires from faculty, staff, students, parents and the public, including new school buildings and access to technology, both of which were also voiced by the Steering Committee in previous meetings.
PCS and the Board of Education have been working with HOAR Program Management to fix and clean existing school buildings, and during a June 30 BOE meeting, BOE President Rick Rhoades confirmed “buildings would be built.”
The school system is installing new networks for the start of the school year, and Technology Coordinator Derrick Waddell said goals and long-term plans are part of a continuing discussion between himself, Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield, the BOE and faculty.
“Part of our vision is to make sure we give the kids and the teachers what they need to learn,” Waddell said during a June 27 interview.
Data from community responses also revealed a need for clear communication and financial transparency under the Pelham City School system, both of which Burke said will be built into the school system’s mission and beliefs.
Finally, 75 percent of respondents to the parent and primary caregiver survey and 70 percent of respondents to the public survey expressed a satisfaction with the teaching and instruction at Pelham schools, highlighting the quality of faculty.
Members of the Pelham City Schools are presented with a unique opportunity, Burke said noting this is the first time she has worked with an entirely new school system.
“To me it’s exciting to start fresh and look at what you want going forward and what you want to see happen,” Burke said. “This whole community has already embraced the change.”