CULLMAN, Ala. – With the district growing and Cullman City Schools among the most decorated systems in the state when it comes to academic achievements, system leaders are starting to look ahead at what’s next.
With expansive input from the community, leaders are assembling an ambitious strategic plan that will guide the system into the next decade and beyond, focused on curriculum and assessment, facilities, employees, technology, and finances and resources.
To ensure the community was in alignment with the strategic plan, community meetings were conducted throughout the area with input from more than 130 stakeholders, including students, employees, parents and other community members. Surveys were also conducted to determine what the system does well and areas that can be improved.
“We want to work in concert with the community as we map out the next phase of Cullman City Schools, which is why we’ve conducted numerous public meetings and surveys to develop a plan the people of Cullman can feel comfortable with, while also knowing these steps will greatly benefit our students,” Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said. “It’s an exciting time to be a Bearcat, and we couldn’t be more excited about where we’re heading next.”
The facilities plan notes the eventual creation of a comprehensive Cullman Intermediate School, which would serve all students in grades 3-5, to best meet the needs of students and families in the Cullman area. Currently, those intermediate grades are split across East Elementary School and West Elementary School, while all students are already together at Cullman Primary School, Cullman Middle School and Cullman High School.
By establishing a comprehensive intermediate school, Cullman City Schools aims to fully align all grade levels equally at every level. A facilities study is being conducted to determine the most prudent course of action, along with early work to secure funding sources.
The facilities plan also calls for expanded opportunities and programs to serve pre-school children and families in the Cullman area. Currently, Cullman City Primary School hosts some pre-K school classrooms, but demand has frequently outpaced capacity for pre-K learners. At every campus, leaders are drafting the most efficient plans to maintain clean learning environments on all campuses.
Curriculum and assessment
Cullman City Schools is already among the most successful school systems in the state when it comes to standardized tests and ranking criteria, but school leaders do not intend to rest on their laurels in the future.
The strategic plan calls for ensuring rigorous lessons that allow students to think critically, strategically and creatively are implemented. The plan also notes assessments will closely align with intended outcomes, and an overall commitment to increasing academic and extra-curricular opportunities. The strategic plan is also developing expansion for arts, career technical programs and STEM opportunities across every school.
Student support and safety
The strategic plan will map out the most efficient ways to continue providing safe learning environments for students and employees; ensure identified students have access to related services for necessary learning, behavioral, and social/emotional support and accommodations; and increase modes of communication between the district and community.
The plan also includes frequent reviews of emergency drills, internal and external support for student mental health prevention and crisis, as well as continued support for school resource officers across every campus.
To support employees in the future, the strategic plan focuses on establishing consistent expectations from campus to campus for employees, as well as continuous training on teaching 21st century transferable skills.
As always, the district will also continue to seek out the best and most qualified educators for any and all positions.
Cullman City Schools has always stayed on the cutting edge of technology, with programs like its 1:1 laptop initiative and in-classroom technology leading the charge over the past decade. Leaders are looking to build on that momentum, mapping out plans to empower, engage and enhance learning through devices and connected resources to promote district alignment of academics and achievement.
The district will also continue to provide a safe, secure and reliable network and digital infrastructure, while incorporating professional development and support to enhance the system’s digital footprint.
Finance and resources
The Cullman City Schools system already operates from a strong and stable fiscal position, with several months of operating reserve in the general fund, and the board is making it a priority to remain fiscally prudent while budgeting for the future and aligning spending with the board’s vision. The board also will continue to ensure financial transparency and community and industry partnerships remain key priorities.
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