G-ASD comprehensive plan being updated

Shawn Hardy

GREENCASTLE — The Greencastle-Antrim School District is in the midst of creating a comprehensive plan to guide its course over the next six years.

“This is to help with goals. It’s general, not specific,” said Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent, who also explained the plan will remain a fluid document even after it is adopted and will not just sit on a shelf for the next six years.

The comprehensive plan is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and a committee has been working since last October on the document which is due by this November. The district actually was supposed to have completed its plan last year, but received a waiver because of the ongoing superintendent search.

Trail, who joined the district in May, also with Dr. Robert Crider, chief educational officer, and school board members Jim Winslow and Pat Fridgen are joined on the committee by 25 teachers, parents and community members.

They are looking at everything from the district’s mission, vision and core values to the strengths and areas where improvements are needed at each building.

“We did not come to a consensus on anything yet, but we’re off to a great start,” Trail said.

The committee meeting last week featured an overview of how each building is doing academically then each person was asked to list what they thought were strengths and areas for improvement. They met in four teams to refine the lists.

Strengths at the primary school identified by the committee include useful professional development and students at or above reading benchmarks. More space and the need for more intervention for struggling reading students are areas in need of work.

The lack of space and the need for more math intervention were cited as challenges at the elementary school, while committee members liked trying homogeneous grouping of kids by ability in three math classes.

Math was identified as an area in need of work on the middle school level, while reading levels are awesome and reduced class sizes has been a plus.

Scores higher than the state average and staying mostly the same over time, as well as high AP enrollment were listed as strengths at the high school. Because the baseline scores on standardized testing were high to begin with, marking growth in that area is a challenge.

The February meeting will feature a Lincoln Intermediate Unit representative with experience with the mission, visions and values components so “we will try to wrap that piece up,” Trail said.

She hopes to have most of the comprehensive plan completed by early summer.