New MFL MarMac strategic plan addresses four primary goals

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

Mental health, marketing, staff retention and a bond referendum are the primary goals in MFL MarMac’s new strategic plan. The school board approved the proposal, which covers 2022-2025, at its April 11 regular meeting.

 

The strategic plan was developed over several months, based on feedback from a 40- to 50-member committee, and is the district’s first since 2015.

 

According to superintendent Dale Crozier, MFL MarMac’s mission statement remains unchanged: “To meet the needs of all students and guide them to their fullest potential as college and/or career-ready responsible adults.” 

 

The group analyzed data and also identified current strengths for retainment and continued growth to help guide the future goals. Strengths included the current school culture, climate and supports as well as technology, marketing to date, retainment of teaching staff to date and professional development time. Also listed were structures for families and community partnerships/involvement; overall academics, student programs and graduation rate; high school and college course options; and work based programs and partnerships.

 

Of the four main goals, Crozier said mental health support systems for both staff and students is the first. Future professional development will emphasize staff mental health and ideas for student mental health.

 

Per the strategic plan, the district will also evaluate current data to create action plans for continued evolution of mental health supports. In addition, it will develop a culture of wellness by providing opportunities to create healthier lifestyles and improve one’s physical and mental well-being for the future.

 

The second goal, marketing, will focus on bringing out—and improving—the aesthetics—of the MFL MarMac system. 

 

That will include “media exposure of our actual realities, so teacher retention, course offerings and other areas of strength,” Crozier said.

 

The third goal is creating systems for all staff retention, considering location and economic conditions.

 

“This sounds like we’re contradicting what our strengths are, but we’re really not,” said Crozier. “We have younger staff leaving, but one is getting married and moving to where they’re from. That’s always going to happen. We don’t have many people leave us because they don’t like us.”

 

Some prospective teachers don’t chose MFL MarMac, though, because of economic factors like lack of affordable housing. As a result, the strategic plan targets retention of younger staff and consideration of their needs.

 

“We have to explore opportunities to keep people attracted to northeast Iowa,” explained Crozier. “We’re not Minneapolis, but we need to do what we can to keep our younger staff here.”

 

In addition to staff retention, wages for classified staff was also listed. It’s an area Crozier said the board has already worked to address.

 

The final primary goal is a total school bond referendum while considering all economic difficulties. 

 

“We don’t want to let that go. We want to continue on that,” Crozier said.

 

That includes the field house complex in Monona, as previously proposed, along with lunch room space at both the Monona and McGregor centers and bus garage and storage considerations. 

 

Crozier said the district is also looking at potential repurposing of the stages at both centers and will continue to address safe entrances and safety issues.

 

Finally, along with the four primary goals, the strategic plan lists two secondary measures. The first, exploring affordable housing opportunities, ties into staff retention as well as continued growth of the district.

 

“We know we have people who want to come here, but they don’t have any place to buy a house. We don’t have enough places for people to live in our school district,” Crozier explained. 

 

He acknowledged it’s a community-wide problem the school can’t necessarily fix.

 

“It is our problem, but it’s not our place to fix it,” he said. “It’s our place to work with our chambers of commerce and cities to try to come up with solutions.”

 

The final secondary goal is supporting the board’s continued diligence in preparing for upcoming changing leadership. Crozier’s retirement, as well as that of school principals, is upcoming, and succession planning is important.

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