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Lake Placid schools creating a 5-year plan

May 22, 2014
By MATTHEW TURNER ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - A small group of parents and members of the Lake Placid Central School District community met Monday, May 19 to plan the district's future.

Superintendent Roger Catania, along with school board President Mary Dietrich, led the meeting to brainstorm policies for the district and to spur involvement in "task force" committees which are supposed to influence the district's future policies.

Catania began by asking the dozen or so people inside the high school's library to think up concrete goals that can be achieved within a reasonable time frame.

Article Photos

Lake Placid Central School officials discuss the strategic planning process May 19.

"What we're hoping is you and others would be joining a task force to help us toward one of these goals," Catania said. "I think this is pretty ambitious, but I also think it sounds pretty exciting. ... What we are trying to do is create a five-year plan."

Catania said there are three active committees currently: the Policy Committee, the Buildings and Grounds Committee and the Audit Committee. The Policy Committee is the most active, meeting regularly. Dietrich said some inactive committee members do not even currently live in the school district, and because of that there will be limits imposed on a person's time on a committee.

"We also have a bunch of other committees that have not met." Catania said.

Another part of future strategic planning meetings will be to formally recognize committees that will continue and to suspend others that do not have interest in the community.

Catania asked the group to split up based on the six planks of the district's strategic plan: "students first and foremost," "education," "community outreach and involvement," "leadership," "technology" and "finance." They divided into five smaller groups; no one was involved in the technology group.

John Hopkinson, vice president of the school board, and 11th-grader Leslie Brier were in the finance group. They discussed topics like the cost of busing students but, "We mostly talked about how to get more people involved," Brier said. "Getting the kids involved is, of course, very important. ... Every single group and category of people are going to have different needs."

Linda Wallace, a parent with a junior in the district, was on the "students first" group.

"A couple of things that came out was making sure teachers put students first," Wallace said. "Sometimes they are teaching to the test, and it can get lost."

Elizabeth Wasson, a parent with a sixth-grader in the district, was a member of the leadership committee.

"The first thing we did was ask what leadership meant to us," Wasson said.

Wasson introduced the idea of creating a leadership program for older students to teach younger students.

"The idea in the middle school was to have eighth graders show sixth graders what leadership is," Wasson said. "So as they transition to high school, they are aware of things as a class leader."

Another idea raised was a code of conduct board for students.

Dietrich and Catania said they would reach out to teachers to attend committee meetings in the future. Catania told the group they were welcome to use the school as a future meeting place but said they are not limited to the school.

"By September we will have a working plan from our task forces," Catania said. "So then we can really start implementing things."

Dietrich said she plans to have the task forces from each group give a presentation to the school board in September, and then the district's five-year plan can be finalized.

To get involved, contact Karen Angelopoulos at 518-523-2475 ext. 3001.



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