THANK YOU… Tri-City Record Giving Tree & readers and Freshwater Church for making wonderful memories for some Berrien County youth and families this last Christmas. Pictured (from the left) holding a poster made by one local family truly thankful for the Christmas gifts provided are Arielle Colcord, Megan Klitchman, Maddy Siebenmark and Michelle Kuiken from the Berrien County Department of Health and Human Services.
Watervliet focus group discusses expectations of district for Strategic Plan at Watervliet Schools
By Annette Christie In recent action another step has been completed for the strategic planning process that the Watervliet School District is currently involved in. The process began in October with the selection of Hazard Young Attea Associates (HYA) as the consulting firm. The process is now at the state of engagement, as the consultants facilitate several focus groups. These groups are comprised of students, staff, teachers, the board, and administration, all having their turn at being involved in the process. The last week of January, a community focus group met by invitation. Business owners, city and township leaders, and investors in the community and the district were asked to discuss the district’s strengths and weaknesses, what they expect from the students graduating from Watervliet, and individual visions of success for the district. It seemed easy for those involved in the process to name the strengths in the district, taking more time to identify its weaknesses. Participants noted that the school district is a preferred one that has a large percentage of school of choice students, which says a lot about the quality of the system overall. The expectations of the students that graduate is for some to be prepared for the workforce, and further, for the school district that all of the options are equally presented to the students to include but not limit a student’s success on their desire to attend college. While those in attendance recognized that some of the direction of the curriculum is not always controlled by the district, most agreed that they would like to see more options available to students with regard to learning a trade. The vision for the district was shared by the participants in very similar answers – to continue to be successful and even grow, understanding that the success of a school district has a positive ripple effect on the community and can be a strong selling point. Through the process, Vickie Markavitch with HYA, has gathered and studied the student data. They will compile all of the notes from the focus groups and give them to the committee that will be working on the vision, mission, values and beliefs statements, as well as developing a 3-5 year strategic plan. Markavitch has been a superintendent in three states in districts of all shapes and sizes, urban and rural, large and small, rich and poor. She said her resume includes being the superintendent at the Bridgman School District. The district is investing $15,000 for the three-phase strategic planning process.
THIS KUTE KID IS… Coloma High School senior Brenden Jacobs! Brenden celebrates his 18th birthday today, Feb. 6. In high school he participates in band and basketball. He is the son of Jami Jacobs and Geoff Jacobs. His proud grandmas are Diana Olmsted and Cath