Troup County School Board approved strategic plan in last meeting of the fall semester

Published 12:00 pm Friday, December 24, 2021

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The Troup County School Board approved Superintendent Brian Shumate’s strategic plan last week. During the school board’s work session, Shumate gave a brief presentation to the school board on the plan and how he hopes to enact it. The presentation highlighted six core values and five goals for TCSS in the new year.

Shumate said he is hopeful that the school system will continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and is able stay open in the new year.

“I’m really hopeful that we can, first of all, continue to stay open and stay safe and healthy and, continue to move forward as a school district,” Shumate said. “People have worked really hard in [and] everybody needs a rest right now. I do appreciate everything that the staff has done to get us to this point.”

Shumate said implementing the strategic plan will involve using the five goals he presented as the budget develops. The five goals are:

  • Goal 1: focus on student success and well being
  • Goal 2: ensure equitable opportunities for all
  • Goal 3: focus on recruiting, inducting and retaining quality staff.
  • Goal 4: cultivate the capacity of the school system to function as a flexible and adaptable organization
  • Goal 5: lead in the cultivation of relationships and strategic partnerships between the school system and parents, and among agencies and organizations which provide services to children.

The six core values were outlined in Shumate’s presentation. They are as follows:

  • Core value 1: connection
  • Core value 2: equity
  • Core value 3: achievement
  • Core value 4: resilience
  • Core value 5: integrity
  • Core value 6: compassion.

“To implement the strategic plan, we will plan to use those five strategic goals as our budget develops and make sure that we’re spending money on the right thing: to educate kids and to [do] the whole wraparound model,” Shumate said.

As the pandemic continues to affect every level of education in Troup County, Shumate said it allowed for the flexibility TCSS is hoping to continue to cultivate with goal four. He said the pandemic accelerated that effort.

“The pandemic allowed us to do things faster than we thought we were going to. We were having discussions about virtual education before the pandemic, but the pandemic caused us to really accelerate those efforts,” Shumate said. “Coming out of this thing, I think it’s become a part of our culture to be more adaptable and light on our feet.”

This adaptability does not only translate to technology and virtual learning. Shumate said he aims to be adaptable and give the students of Troup County several options for their high school experience.

“We are trying to look at the high schools through an entirely different model of doing school in different ways, should a kid want to do that,” Shumate said. “I still believe that many kids want a traditional high school experience, but probably 20 to 30 percent of our kids like to do things in different ways.”

Shumate said he still believes the students of Troup County should pursue post-secondary education in whatever way works for them.

“We believe every kid should pursue post-secondary education, meaning they should pursue technical training, industry certifications, two year degrees, one year certification programs [or[ a four year traditional university experience,” Shumate said.

He encourages parents of students in TCSS to take an active role in their children’s education starting when they are young but continuing the entirety of their child’s education. Shumate said the school board wants to make sure each parent knows what their options are for their child.

“We have to make sure that we’re getting the information out there of what parents’ options are,” Shumate said. “I encourage parents to take an active role in their kids’ education process, starting in kindergarten and going all the way up. Don’t stop. Please don’t disengage because they’re getting close to graduation. That is the time to engage [and] to really counsel with their kids about what their options are.”

Shumate said if a parent is curious or wants to know more about how they can best help their student, there are many ways to learn more.

“Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and call those guidance counselors at the school or go in and have meetings. Make sure you’re accessing what we have on our website to provide opportunities for kids,” Shumate said. “There’s a big world out there to be accessed.  We want to make sure parents stay engaged.”

Shumate said the entire school board continues to learn how they can work toward bettering the school system.

“They continue to learn all the time, just like the rest of us about how we can do business differently in the future,” Shumate said. “Some of those folks have been on the school board for a while. Some are former school teachers. They have a pretty good general knowledge of what goes on every day, but they continue to stay engaged in the entire process and I appreciate them.”

Shumate said he enjoys his work as superintendent of TCSS and that he understands the responsibility of his role.

“I still stay enthused about the work. I’ve been doing it a long time, but I’m certainly enjoying being Troup County’s superintendent. It’s a big job. I understand I have a lot of responsibility, but I don’t back up from it,” he said.

Shumate said he spent the last week of the fall semester going around and talking to many of the students and faculty.

“As far as the holidays go, I see a lot of evidence of people gearing up and doing fun things for kids and enjoying each other. I enjoy all of it,” he said. “I like being in the schools and talking to kids and teachers and people and seeing what really goes on. That’s the best part of my job.”