JOPLIN, Mo. — The last day of school for the Joplin School District is Friday, but officials are already preparing for the next school year.

This has to do with the district’s new strategic plan, and it’s something that will go far beyond the next school year.

“I want them to know that we listened,” said Dr. Kerry Sachetta, Assistant Superintendent for Operations. “And we are putting those plans in action to help improve the academics and lives of their students.”

Tuesday night, the school board approved its new five year strategic plan. The new plan focuses on academics, instructional support and community engagement.

“Well number one the reason we exist is academics. We are here to help kids progress through and learn in all different ways that they can. When it comes to reading, writing and arithmetic and all the other subject areas, and also learn to be better citizens as they progress and go towards graduation,” said Dr. Sachetta.

The district is also making mental health a priority.

“We felt like what we heard was through the covid years as we’ve been surviving through the last two to three years. That a lot of people were stressed. A lot of different things and it doesnt take a lot to get people out off their normal routine and it is stressful and causes anxiety and everything and that’s students and staff,” said Dr. Sachetta.

He hopes the new plan will improve academic achievement and graduation rates.

“I hope that in working on it together as a team all the way across we can all see the unity in the purpose moving forward. And we can also celebrate those successes. What I want to make sure that we focus on is what we do everyday so at the end of the year good things will happen. And we will invest in our employees, too. Hopefully, they will have a happier place to work and our students will benefit because of that,” said Dr. Sachetta.

The district received feedback from nearly 300 students, staff and community members for the plan. They are rolling out the new plan this fall.