Strategic Plan

June 21, 2019

The New Salem-Almont Public Schools School Board is reaching out to all District residents in the next few weeks to gather input regarding the District’s educational facility needs with a community-wide survey. The paper survey will arrive in residents’ mailboxes later this week.

The District is currently short on classroom space and is projecting enrollment growth in the coming years, both require additional classrooms and support spaces. Additionally, there is a desire to expand the District’s Vocational Agriculture program which also requires new and expanded space.  A new career and technical education center would open up some much needed space for the large number of students coming up from the elementary.

The survey will ask residents their level of support for an elementary classroom addition, expansion to the career and technical education center as well as if the District should expand the elementary school gym. These projects would need to be funded through a voter approved referendum.

The School Board recognizes any potential referendum must reflect the priorities of taxpayers. Therefore, the district is urging all residents to participate in this important district-wide effort as they prepare to make important decisions about future facility projects.  There will be two community meetings to discuss and answer questions on the proposed measure; Monday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Almont Legion Hall and Wednesday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the New Salem-Almont high school gymnasium.

To assist with data gathering efforts, the School Board is working with School Perceptions LLC, an independent firm with expertise in conducting school district surveys. All survey data is returned to School Perceptions to ensure respondent anonymity. Every household will receive a paper survey in their mail in the coming days.  Residents can complete the paper survey and mail it back to School Perceptions in the envelope provided or log on to the website listed on the survey and take the survey online. If a household needs additional surveys or survey codes for other adults they can call the District Office at (701) 843-7610.

The survey will be open until July 18.  Anyone with questions should contact the District (701) 843-7610.

 

March 5, 2019

In recent years the New Salem-Almont School District has been working to develop and implement a Strategic Operating Plan. This Plan of Operation is very important to the successful and efficient operation of the New Salem-Almont School System. The journey of working through all the areas of the Strategic Plan has led the New Salem-Almont School Board and Administration to focus on areas of goal setting.  When plans and goals were discussed for facilities, the school district realized the need for more classroom space, and a desire to grow programs valued by our community, and focus on what NSA school already does well.

Last spring the NSA School Board formed a strategic building committee to look into the current and future state of our school buildings. This committee met for the first time recently to review enrollment data and projections with regard to classroom space.  It became very clear that our community needs to explore increasing teaching space at Prairie View Elementary.

Currently, we have two sections of every grade except 4th grade. Our incoming Kindergarten numbers for the next three years are 30, 26, and 25 respectively. In addition to regular student-classroom size needs, our special education room is wholly inadequate with the presence of over a half dozen students at certain times during the day, each requiring individual attention, all within a space of less than 15’x15’. We have no quality learning environment for these students.

Obviously, our larger elementary class sizes directly predict future needs at the high school level. We are currently at capacity or beyond, and some programs are bursting at the seams. One of our outstanding programs, Vo-Ag, is already affected by our growing numbers. The shop, where much of the hands-on activities take place, was built in 1962. New technologies and tools have evolved, yet size of the shop has remained the same. With an average class size between 15-20, not all students can work in the shop at the same time. For example, our four welding stations cannot accommodate four times that number of students, limiting the practical application of real-life skills.

How do we as a community address these needs?  The strategic building committee believes the next step should be two-fold. First, we will bring in an architecture firm to help guide us in the beginning phases and secondly, we need to gauge the desires of the community regarding the projected infrastructure needs. Everyone needs to be on the same page moving forward, and the strategic building committee wants to work hand-in-hand with the community and school board to meet the future needs of the community.