TURLOCK -- In the midst of even more cutbacks looming over the Turlock Unified School District, trustees Tuesday night heard about some of the positive -- and cheap -- things happening on campuses.
Deputy Superintendent Ed Felt offered an overview of the district's strategic plan, a document adopted last year that outlines goals for the ensuing five years.
Felt and other staff highlighted achievements that include incentives for students to attend school, streamlined teacher evaluations and student assessments, and finding new ways to bring money to the cash-starved district.
"We've had tremendous involvement in the community," Felt said. Costs were kept to a minimum and mostly went toward printing expenses. The money came from training funds, not the district's general fund, he said.
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"It's refreshing to see volunteerism throughout the district," Felt said.
Director of Student Services Gil Ogden told the board about a new program that lets high school students make up credits online. The district secured a grant to pay for the program, aimed at keeping at-risk students on track for graduation.
Like most of the efforts outlined Tuesday, the turnaround was quick. Educators were trained in December, and the program launched in January.
"We now have 157 students online working on extending their credits," Ogden said.
From tobacco fight to baseball
Other new programs include an anti-tobacco club, phone calls from teachers to students who miss class, and a campaign that includes a stay-in-school promotion from Turlock High graduate and Texas Rangers prospect Tommy Mendonca.
One effort that is going to take a little longer is a plan to establish a nonprofit foundation to raise money for the district.
Assistant Superintendent La- crisha Ferriera said she has applied for nonprofit status with the state, but it could take 18 months to complete.
"We're in month 13," she said.
Trustees praised the work they saw and the results so far.
"I was a hard sell on the strategic plan," Frank Lima said. "But where it makes sense ... is when we see the actions that were implemented.
"Through all these tough budget crises, we're trying to do more with less. It's nice to see that we can make our job sites a little better and deliver a better product to our students and employees."
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.