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story.lead_photo.caption North Callaway Assistant Superintendent Nicole Buschmann, right, updates school board members on the project to update North Callaway's Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

KINGDOM CITY — It's time for North Callaway R-1 to set its course for the next five years.

The school district is beginning work on its next Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, a guidance document districts use to prioritize area of improvement to best meet students' needs. The district's last document covered 2015-20.

"I think of it as a road map," North Callaway High School Principal Brian Jobe said. "The mission and vision are the roads you're following."

The district's previous CSIP lays out a mission statement ("Graduating every student career or college capable"), core values and strategic focus areas. But it also gets into the nitty-gritty, laying out each goal alongside strategies and action steps to reach it, an applicable standard, the people responsible and how the steps will be funded.

As the district considers its next CSIP, its first step has been to seek feedback from community members.

Assistant Superintendent Nicole Buschmann reported on the results of a survey sent around to families, staff and district residents. It asked how people felt about the current mission statement, what goals should be prioritized and more. More than 230 individuals responded, most of them parents.

Most said they were happy with the current mission statement, but some noted the importance of instilling character traits in students, too.

"I definitely think we need something to do with character in the mission statement," Buschmann said.

Respondents mentioned they wanted students to be taught how to cook, pay bills and taxes, and other essential adult skills.

"A big trend we saw is that people want students to be ready for life," Buschmann said.

She noted some of those skills are already being taught in school, including in the mandatory personal finance class. School board member Sandy Lavy pointed out what's taught in class and what students take in are "two different things."

"I also think parents bear some responsibility for teaching kids how to cook and clean but some students aren't getting that at home," Buschmann acknowledged.

But even after the plan is complete, it won't stagnate for the next five years. Rather, the district will continue to evaluate its progress and update the plan accordingly, Buschmann said.

"I want the CSIP to be a living document," she said.

The next step is hosting a pair of open forums so all community members — not just parents — can share their thoughts in person. Forums will take place at 5:30 p.m. March 2 at North Callaway High School and at 5:30 p.m. March 4 at North Callaway Middle School.

After that, administrators will develop and host focus groups to help hone in on the CSIP's specifics.

The district's current CSIP may be viewed online here.

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