AUXVASSE, Mo. — North Callaway R-1 assistant superintendent Niki Buschmann doesn't want to see the district's evolving mission statement to be thoughtfully crafted and then filed and forgotten.
North Callaway R-1 hosted a pair of half-hour forums this past week to receive public input as the school district sets out to shape its next five-year Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. The CSIP is a guidance document that districts rely on to prioritize areas of improvement to best meet students' needs.
North Callaway R-1's last CSIP covered the years 2015-20.
The first forum took place last Tuesday at North Callaway High School's media center in Kingdom City. The second forum was held Thursday at North Callaway Middle School's cafeteria in Auxvasse.
"We don't want this (CSIP) to just be a 40-page document that gets thrown in a drawer and doesn't get revisited again (for five years)," Buschmann said during Thursday's forum at the middle school. "We want this to be a plan that drives improvement, and that we use to monitor progress.
"Think of it as a road map that starts with guiding principles," she said. "We need collaborators."
In a discussion of character traits at Tuesday's forum, North Callaway High School principal Brian Jobe stressed it's critical for students to grasp how to learn, how to problem solve, and how to navigate a social environment.
"Students often don't understand how interactions with other people affect them and how they're judged, and how they're viewed," Jobe said.
Other responses focused on students being responsible and contributing members of society, critical thinking and the ability to consider viewpoints other than their own.
North Callaway superintendent Nicky Kemp cited community support as a point of pride at Tuesday's forum. Kemp used a recent example where the furnace broke down at Williamsburg Elementary School and students had to be transported to the high school.
Kemp noted that the situation went smoothly and everyone pitched in to help, and that parents trusted the district to care for their children.
On the academic side, Jason Smith — a social studies teacher at the high school — said he would like students to challenge themselves more.
"I would like to see our students to want and expect rigorous academic courses," Smith said. "We've seen a decline in students wanting to really reach out and go that extra mile, and take advantage of all the opportunities in the high school they have to get college credit."
After the two forums, North Callaway R-1 will develop and host focus groups to help narrow in on the CSIP's specifics.
Buschmann explained the plan likely won't be finalized until late summer.
"It's a long process," she said. "Ideally, we would like to have it done by May, but it will probably be more like July or August.
"We want to be able to engage the community and invest more time."
Kemp was encouraged with the turnout at the two forums, as well as more than 200 responses received to a recent survey in regard to the CSIP.
"We've had community members, staff, administrators and parents at both forums," Kemp said. "That's an assortment of different sectors, and I think that's exciting."