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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Homewood Superintendent McAlister: 'It's really important to us that we have a positive culture'

The Board initially created its plan in 2018, with yearly goals established with the purpose of creating a new strategic plan in 2023 for the next five years. At the Jan. 9 meeting, Superintendent Dr. Scott McAlister discussed the plan's success and future. The board identified six key areas in 2018: finance, human resources, facilities, social-emotional well-being, community and public relations, and curriculum and assessments. McAlister discussed the successes made in each area.

The "finance" goal was to mitigate the structural deficit that the board had operated in for years. On Nov. 8, the board passed a referendum aimed at pulling the budget out of the negative area. The "facilities" goal was to have an architectural utilization study performed that would help the board efficiently allocate space for district students, as well as plan and budget for maintenance needs. The "human resources" goal was to form and strengthen relationships between staff and community members, as well as to remain competitive in regard to salaries and benefits.

"One of the things that we've always taken pride in is the relationships we have within our staff, administrative to teachers to assistants, etc., and also with our families," McAlister said. "So that's still a big priority for us: that they have a place that people want to get on to work. In education, it's becoming more and more challenging to find good people. So long as you're being competitive with salary and compensation, which we are, one of the deciding factors is going to be things like culture. So it's really important to us that we have a positive culture."

In addition, the "social-emotional well-being" goal was to provide students with a return to normalcy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board, as well as the district administration, will soon be coming together to write the next strategic plan, and the first step will be to decide what their core values will be in the years to come. The board expressed excitement for the new plan due to the fact that the first plan was executed during a time when two of its five years were spent in the midst of the pandemic, and the district still managed to make progress on its goals. The board is set to reconvene at the end of January to write the new plan.

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