By Jordan Green
TROY — The Troy Board of Education held a special work session Wednesday, March 9, to continue discussion of the district’s strategic plan.
Director of Human Resources Mark Barhorst lead the discussion on Goal Area Four, which focuses on recruiting and retaining high-quality staff members, as well as improving the effectiveness of current staff through leadership opportunities and communication. Barhorst discussed a software, provided by the Dayton Area School Consortium, being used by the district to streamline the hiring process and highlight qualified applicants. The software makes the application process easier for both applicants and employers and creates a standardized method of ranking prospective employees based on qualifications, culture fit, and ability.
Several leadership groups have been created within Troy schools with the goal of improving staff effectiveness. These groups encourage and empower teachers to communicate with each other at both the school and district levels creating more consistent curriculum across all Troy schools. Other efforts such as aligning the planning periods of teachers in the same department and allowing teacher representatives to have a say in professional development have also been implemented.
Strategic Goal Five, focusing on public communication and engagement, was presented by Director of Communications David Fong. “That fact that I am sitting here at all shows that there has been a huge effort to increase the amount of communication that we have,” said Fong.
Communication to the public via social media has largely increased over the last few years, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one of the key areas of improvement in the district during their current five-year plan has been internal communication, noted Fong. Efforts have been made in that regard such as monthly staff meetings and weekly newsletters. Canvas, an online course management system the district fully implemented during the pandemic, has been effective at increasing student-teacher communication.
In-person coffee chats will be returning on March 22 at Chick-fil-A in Troy starting at 1 p.m. These chats offer the public a way to discuss school affairs with representatives from the school.
The potential of live-streaming Board of Education meetings was brought up. It is being considered; however, there are liability issues that come with providing the service that must be addressed first.
After finishing the discussion of the strategic plan, a debate over its nature was initiated by Board President Sue Borchers, who suggested it be revised on a yearly basis. The debate ended unresolved.
The board also received the figures on potential revenue and maintenance savings for the turf field at Memorial Stadium and renovation of Ferguson Field.
“The revenue is optimistic,” said Superintendent Chris Piper. However, the figures show that if that money is set aside, it will come close to covering the cost of replacement for those turf fields in 10-15 years and other funding can be secured to make up the difference.
The prospect of allowing LifeWise Academy to shuttle students to an offsite location during school hours for opt-in religious education was brought up.
“I am uncomfortable with it being at the sacrifice of instruction,” said Board Member Theresa Packard after noting that students opted-in would lose one session of music, gym, library, or art per week.
The session was then adjourned. The board will return next week for their regular monthly meeting on Monday, March 14 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Junior High School.