The 86-page macon miracle plan spans at least 5 years. Out of 181 action steps, the district plans to implement about 100 this year.
Deputy Superintendent of School Improvement and Redesign Susanne Griffin-Ziebart says it's the start of a promising process.
"This reflects the work of a whole bunch of people," she said. "Our parents, our community, our students, and certainly a lot of support from those. Our critics have also helped make this plan a stronger plan. And I think that we are moving forward with something that has the potential to impact our students and the community in a positive way."
Many of the initiatives this year focus on students and instruction. For instance, students in primary grades will start learning Mandarin chinese, kindergarten to 3rd grade students get a 90-minute block for reading, and students in grades 4 through 12 are supposed to get individual learning plans.
"There'll be a lot of work around assessment and evaluation," she said, "making sure we have the critical data we need to be making good decisions on behalf of our students and their learning. The other big focus for us is obviously creating a safe and productive learning environment. We've done a number of things in that area, certainly the start of the alternative schools at the high school, middle school and at the elementary school, as well as some foundational work in school culture. One of the key things we've done over the summer is work with the student-teacher envoy project where we had teachers and students working together to establish some skills that they're going to be able to share at their sites this fall. We also have got some career coaches at all of our high schools, part time career coaches. That's going to be another change that folks will see."
The plan raised many questions from the community, and even elicited a couple of protest marches. Critics still don't like parts of the plan, but Griffin-ziebart said the new school year is an opportunity for everyone to get on the same page.
"If we approach it from the perspective that some of these things we're trying for the very first time. And it may not be perfect the very first time through, but if we're willing to work together and willing to learn from what it is that we do, I know that we can make each iteration of the plan even better than the current one," Griffin-Ziebart said.
Some other major parts of the plan, including year-round schooling and portfolio schools are in the research phase this year.