Avon Grove developing strategic plan
By Steven Hoffman
Assistant superintendent Dr. Margaret Sharp made a report to the Avon Grove School Board about the district’s strategic plan at the Feb. 27 meeting.
Saying that the long-range plan will provide a strategic approach to achieving the district’s goals, Sharp explained that all the stakeholders in the district—administrators, teachers, parents, students, and residents—will be included in the process of developing the plan, which is titled “Creating Our Future Together.” The goal is to set a new standard for the district in seeking input from the community.
Sharp said there are three phases to developing the strategic plan. The first phase has already been underway for several months and has included meetings with principals and educators, as well as an analysis of data that relates to student performance.
There will be additional interviews of stakeholders and community forums in the next several months. One community forum is scheduled for March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Penn London Elementary School, with another scheduled at the Garage youth center for a date to be determined in April. One of the major goals, said Sharp, is to include the community as much as possible in developing the plan. A school climate survey will seek the opinions of teachers, students, and parents.
Once the initial discovery phase is complete, district officials will work to develop a long-range comprehensive plan that includes specific goals and outcomes for the district. According to Sharp, a draft of the plan will be presented to the school board for review in October with the goal of submitting a final plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education on November 30.
“We are looking forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to create a plan for the school district that includes a unique and rigorous approach to developing our collective goals and aspirations for the district and for the students that we serve,” Sharp said. “The process we are using will not only allow us to complete the comprehensive plan requirements stipulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, but will establish a long-range strategic plan that is truly created by the entire Avon Grove School District community.”
The process is being facilitated by Dr. Andy Hegedus, the founder and CEO of Demosophia LLC, a local specialty consulting firm that partners with organizations to help diverse groups develop a deeper understanding of complex problems and design a plan for the future.
School board president Brian Gaerity praised the process that has been established to develop the next strategic plan.
“I think this is a great process,” he said. “It’s thorough, it’s inclusive, and it’s structured.”
Superintendent Dr. Christopher Marchese agreed. “We are very excited to embark on the new strategic planning process,” he said. We encourage all stakeholders to become involved over the next several months. There are exciting things to come for Avon Grove in the future.”
In other business, the school board was pleased to accept a donation from Joe Del Ferro of Safeway Moving System, Inc. The donation of $14,600 is designated for an upgrade of the theatre stage lighting. Gaerity noted that this is the second such donation by Joe Del Ferro, and he thanked the donor for his generosity.
The school board will meet again on Thursday, March 13.
Dismantled firearm found in gym locker
Any gun on school property is a cause for concern, even if the gun is dismantled.
At last Thursday's school board meeting, Avon Grove superintendent Dr. Christopher Marchese talked about the Wednesday, Feb. 26 discovery of a dismantled firearm that was found in an open gym locker at Avon Grove High School.
The gun was not operational, and Marchese emphasized that “there was no immediate threat” to anyone in the building.
The Pennsylvania State Police responded and helped district officials follow the procedures that have been put in place for emergency situations.
“The high school administration handled the situation extremely well,” Marchese said.
He added that district worked cooperatively with the state police throughout the response to the incident.
The first communication from the school district to parents regarding the discovery of the gun took place before students were dismissed for the day.
School board president Brian Gaerity noted that with cell phones, iPads, and other modern-day devices, students were communicating long before the district could get out factual information to families.
Marchese said that the building was investigated by canine units and nothing further was discovered. The investigation is ongoing.