High school’s strategic improvement plan nearly finalized

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A guide to map out how Beaverhead County High School can continue to improve is close to full adoption after delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The high school’s board of trustees approved the first reading of the district’s strategic improvement plan at its July 13 meeting. Superintendent and Principal Gary Haverfield said the document was intended to be ready for approval earlier this year, but the pandemic put the brakes on that.

It also pointed to a necessary change – including professional development for online teaching, Haverfield said at a special board meeting July 22.

The district’s strategic plan outlines academic goals for teachers and students, details the district’s mission and vision, and illuminates improvements to facilities and communications. It contains detailed data which will be updated annually to benchmark improvements and make it easier to determine where more focus is needed. It was developed by a mix of school staff and administrators, and will include student survey data on what worked – and what did not work – for them in terms of how subjects were taught.

“It shows the good things we’re doing, and the things we need to improve,” he said. “Student achievement is the ultimate goal.”

Statewide school closures and orders restricting learning to online-only earlier this year also highlighted the need for teachers to get specific training for online instruction, Haverfield said.

“Some (teachers) felt more comfortable online than others, and some asked specifically for more professional development,” he said. “Online teaching was not a part of (the strategic plan) until COVID-19 hit, and now we have built-in professional development as part of the strategic plan to better address online methods of instruction.”

The plan is expected to be on the board’s agenda for second reading at its August meeting.