WARREN Harding's overall plan gets input

Around 30 more people will tour the school this week.
WARREN -- The public began touring Warren G. Harding High School last week to provide input on the school's continuous improvement plan.
Principal William E. Mullane said 22 people toured the building, visited classes, talked with staff and students and completed surveys. Around 30 more people will visit the building this week.
The tours are part of a strategic planning process started 4 1/2 years ago, when about 120 people from the community gathered to form the strategic planning team and to outline a direction for the high school, pointing out strengths, weaknesses and suggestions. Team members got an update last month from the district on how the plan is progressing.
"I'm hoping we can continue to get the great ideas that people have submitted to us," said Robert L. Faulkner Sr., school board member. "There have been a number of changes based on suggestions from them."
The plan resulted in the school's mentorship program, technology initiatives including development of a Web page, and programs designed to encourage students to attend college and prepare them for it.
"Suggestions from business people and others have been so helpful to us," Faulkner added.
Group members provide input on smaller classes, school curriculum and an overview of a recently received grant.
The $185,000 grant, received last month, is to improve achievement and increase graduation rates at Harding. The grant is funded mostly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ohio Department of Education and KnowledgeWorks, a $200 million foundation that helps finance education initiatives in Ohio.
The money will be used to design a plan to turn larger, impersonal, inner-city high school classes into smaller, more personalized ones. Those school districts whose plans are deemed the best will receive additional funding to implement their plans.
Team members, who include parents and representatives from education, labor, industry and elected officials, will help determine if the plan designed with the grant will help Harding meet the goals outlined in the continuous improvement document.
"We've invited them to come back on their own to continue to provide feedback," Mullane said.
School officials also ask participants to compare the school now to what it was five years ago as well as where they want to see it in the future.
Mullane said the school plans to ask city officials about sending members of the police department to participate on the team and in the tours. That's based on the suggestion of two women who toured the building last week.
Students could see police outside of their official duties, the principal said.

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