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GIPS board members discuss strategic plan, prep academies

GIPS board members brought their ideas and questions to the table, discussing prep academies. (NTV News)

Grand Island Public Schools says there's still a lot to do before launching the district's prep academies, but Monday night they were brainstorming a plan.

On Monday evening, members of the Grand Island Public Schools Board discussed ways to better the preparation for the academies while talking about the district's strategic plan.

GIPS board members brought their ideas and questions to the table, discussing prep academies.

"What will happen for students in terms of coursework in each of those academies, of course allowing as much choices as possible from dual credits, AP, honors, things like that,” said Chief Academic Officer Josh McDowell.

McDowell says some of the work that took place really deals with the curriculum and program of studies.

"Moving forward now, especially with the board retreat it's getting into longer range vision, what space needs are out there, what are the staffing needs that we are going to have to make sure that we have, have well thought out and have a plan for, not only for next year, but for the next five and 10 years regarding the academies,” McDowell said.

Board members discussing this plan say they understand why parents and students are nervous about this.

"In the academy model, because it is about a small learning community, each academy has its own principal, its own counselor, its own team of teachers that requires slightly additional staff from what we have right now,” McDowell said.

With financial planning, it’s still in the early stages.

"For us, it's not really a matter of what we have, more resources, how we deploy those resources and so it's possibly defunding some things that we're currently doing and reallocating those resources, so our bigger priority, so that's really the beautiful thing about the strategic plan, that really helps us focus in on those things,” said GIPS finance director Virgil Handen.

GIPS said it is still in the early stages of how much it will cost for staffing and having more spaces for these academies.

It’s all going to depend on where Nebraska is headed with the current state budget, Handen said.

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