CHELTENHAM TOWNSHIP IS A DIVERSE, SUBURBAN COMMUNITY in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, which sits on the northwest border of Philadelphia in the heart of the Northern Greater Philadelphia region. The township encompasses the communities of Glenside, Laverock, Edge Hill, Wyncote, Cedarbrook, Chelten Hills, La Mott, Elkins Park, Melrose Park, and Cheltenham Village. The township celebrates a proud history as a stop on the Underground Railroad and as the home of Camp William Penn, a Union Army training camp from 1863 to 1865, notable for being the first training ground dedicated to African American troops who enlisted in the United Army during the American Civil War. Cheltenham Township is rich in diversity, acting as a microcosm of our country, full of families of different racial, religious, social, and economic backgrounds.
Cheltenham School District serves a population of nearly 37,000 residents in its nine square miles. The district operates four K-4 elementary schools, one 5-6 elementary school, one 7-8 middle school, and one high school, serving approximately 4,235 students. The district is fully inclusive and offers a broad range of special education services.
A consultant was hired to assist with developing the strategic plan. Initial work included deep dives into district data and interviews with stakeholders, including students, teachers, administrators, parents/guardians, and community leaders in May 2022. In late May, the consultants hosted a community forum and issued an 18-question survey to the community for feedback on district strengths, challenges and opportunities.
Following the data-gathering phase of the plan development, an advisory board of students, teachers, administrators and parents/guardians convened to distill the feedback from the interviews, community forum and survey into goal areas.
Once the seven goals areas were identified, action plan groups comprising faculty, staff, students and community members spent considerable time developing actionable SMART goals.
Implementation will require a commitment that includes the CSD Board of School Directors, a partnership with town government, the leadership and supervisory teams, teaching and support staff. It will also require parent/guardian, student and community stakeholder buy-in.
The goals are ambitious, but achievable if stakeholders support it at all levels. Resources will have to be prioritized and committed to achieving the mission and vision as proposed.