Superintendent Ross addresses 5 year master facilities plan for District Five

By Dick Butcher

At the last Lexington-Richland School District Five board meeting held on August 21 Dr. Akil Ross discussed the Districts Five Year Master Facilities Plan Target 2030, which will give an outline of how the district will look in five years and the fact that it is a “moving target”. The Guiding Principles for the Five-Year Plan include:

• Community Analysis
• Enrollment and Projections/Forecast
• Facilities Condition Assessment
• Instructional Plan Review
• Finance Plan

Dr. Ross spoke of the mission of the organization as well as Strategic Plan Outcomes with Three significant growth opportunities for School District Five. He identified the three top challenges for the district:

• Growth in mental health issues,
• Growth in student ELA/Math grade-level proficiency, and
• Growth of student enrollment in Chapin schools and the growing facility needs of Irmo schools.

Dr. Ross noted that we have heard from national experts and that emotional issues that are not addressed can lead to safety issues in our schools and talked about developing a district-wide emotional learning (SEL) program: connecting students with trusted adults to assist with academics and goal setting while maximizing the potential of our students in world class honors programs, and lastly that the district is creating a five year master facilities plan that will provide equity and access for all students of the district.

Dr. Ross addressed academic performance within the district and like all school districts has some improving to do that under our “conditional growth percentiles the districts students and teachers have been able to produce percentiles that are “way above our district planned goals for the growing season. Some students are not coming in at “grade level proficiency”.

In his address Dr. Ross noted three growth opportunities for District 5 in the future:

• Increase mental health services and develop a district-wide social and
emotional learning (SEL) program,
• Connect each student with a trusted adult to assist with academics and goal
settings while maximizing the potential of our students in world-class honors
programs, and
• Create 5-year master facilities plan that provides equity and access for all
students in our district.

Dr. Ross noted that there has been amazing growth that our students and teachers have achieved and have been way above planned growth levels of proficiency increases. A great example is the growth achieved at Harbison West Elementary. DreamBox Math has everything students need to build confidence and competence. Students in the US averaged 1.58 grade levels of math growth.

Harbison West Elementary who has seen significant growth in math proficiency with Dreambox. DreamBox Reading DreamBox’s online K-12 reading solution improves silent reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and motivation for all students. Sarah Fischer,
Assistant Principal at Harbison West Elementary noted that “Our teachers have seen a direct correlation between the use of DreamBox and achievement in both class and on the NWES MPP Growth Assessment”. Dr. Ross proclaimed that they want to celebrate the growth that they are seeing in school District.

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