Community works on clear vision for schools


HUNTINGBURG — Southwest Dubois Schools administrators and school board members held a community meeting Wednesday evening aimed at both sharing information about the school district and collecting information and opinions from attendees to begin the process of revising the corporation mission and vision statement.

Both are required for Southwest Dubois’ corporation-wide accreditation with nonprofit organization AdvancED, which will be reviewed in the spring semester of next school year.

In the past, the corporation has always received accreditation individually at each school building.

“It’s very similar, we’re just looking at more alignment K-12 than what we had in the past,” Southridge High School Principal Chad Sickbert said of the corporation-wide accreditation. “The buildings each have their own (statements), but there’s no cohesion, no alignment between them.”

Superintendent Mike Eineman echoed Sickbert, adding that the move from individual to corporation-wide accreditation will better align the schools and curriculums.

At the meeting, School Board President Chris Neu distributed a flier to the roughly 35-person crowd that explained a mission statement should answer the questions of “What do we do?” and “What makes us different?”

Neu said the vision statement should explain where the corporation aims to be in the future and what the community members want it to become.

Right now, the corporation’s mission statement focuses on providing an appropriate educational program and learning environment that will effectively meet the educational needs of its students, who the corporation will help accomplish educational goals which are significant, durable and transferable.

Neither Neu nor Sickbert knew the vision statement off-hand, but noted it is old and outdated.

Meeting attendees expressed that the new mission statement should set high expectations while stressing an importance on community leaders and businesses. Reading through several of the schools’ individual vision statements, community members said they think the corporation vision statement should stress an open-mindedness to different cultures and ideas as well as making the kids successful, productive adults when they leave.

Corporation parent and Holland resident Beth Hentrup said she believes both statements are important because they keep kids focused on goals.

“Their education is very important to me,” she said of her children, Max and Claire. Max is a second-grader at Holland Elementary and Claire is a seventh-grader at Southridge Middle School.

“I see we have a lot of strengths, and we do have opportunities for improvement,” Hentrup said. “I want to watch that process grow, and I’ve never been a part of the accreditation process, so it’s an opportunity for me as a parent to be a part of the education process.”

Sickbert said the corporation must establish the mission and vision statements by spring 2018, but he and Neu hope to have them decided before then. A similar community meeting will be held in early June.

The school board will vote on the corporation mission and vision statements in the future.

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