The schools want to present a friendlier face to the community, and in turn hope to excite more people to volunteer and mentor.
By Citrus County School District
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 1, 2001
This is the fourth article to inform the community on the progress of Citrus County schools' Strategic Plan. This article targets the two Implementation Teams focusing on increased parent and community involvement (Aim 7) and a high quality work force (Aim 4).
The Implementation Team for Aim 7 has been extremely busy working on three areas of focus. The district is interested in improving the perceptions of parents in the community about the environment when they visit our schools. To that end, the team has designed a survey that will give us input on how friendly school staffs are and how welcome people feel upon entering our schools. The goal is to find out how comfortable people feel when visiting our schools. This team also wants to increase awareness of how to link parents to community resources that they might need. To do this, the team has surveyed parents to find out about the kinds of information and resources they need. As a result, for the first time, Citrus County schools will have a page in the telephone book that will serve as a directory of resources. A brochure and Web site are also planned.
Implementation Team for Aim 7 has also worked very hard to increase the number of volunteers and mentors we have in our district. To accomplish this, the school district has developed a Little Red School House Academy, based on the concept of the sheriff's Citizen's Academy. Its purpose is to educate people about the school system and its various functions and services. Through this process, we are hopeful that participants will want to become a part of our success through volunteering or becoming mentors to our students. The academy meets one night a week for four consecutive weeks and focuses on eight topics. The academy can accommodate up to 30 participants.
The first academy will begin on March 27. We would encourage anyone interested in participating to contact Bonnie Hardiman 527-0090 or Kathy Pomposelli at 726-1931, ext. 2227.
Implementation Team 4 focuses on ensuring that we have a high quality, well-trained work force of district employees. Like other districts across the nation, Citrus County faces a teacher shortage. Therefore, this team is developing strategies that will ensure we have an on-going supply of excellent teachers and support people. To do that, this team is focusing on recruitment efforts and initiating efforts to retain high quality employees.
To improve recruiting efforts, this team has developed a conditional employment form for use in recruiting teachers. Prior to this form this district was unable to encourage excellent applicants at recruitment fairs to make a commitment to Citrus County.
Implementation Team 4 is planning a new CD video to be used for teacher recruitment so potential employees can know the benefits of living and working in our county. This team is also working with the district's multicultural advisory committee to improve our efforts to recruit a diverse population of teachers and other employees.
This team is hard at work developing strategies that encourage our students to enter the teaching profession and work in Citrus County after they graduate. To do this, they are in the process of investigating the feasibility of a Teacher Academy in one or more of our high schools. They have visited an academy in St. Lucie County and would like to replicate their model in Citrus County, which would include also include an adult component. Students from this academy would take classes and have opportunities to work with students to give them a chance to develop their interest in teaching. Adults would be trained to work as aides and encouraged to pursue their education to become teachers.
The adult program would recruit from our employee population, including support personnel and bus drivers, as well as our parents and interested community members. This team has also been investigating ways to ensure we keep good employees after they are hired. Toward that end, the team has developed an exit survey for teachers to determine why they are leaving and identify changes we might make to encourage high performing personnel to stay in Citrus County. This team is also investigating meaningful ways to recognize our employees for their hard work and dedication.