My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Friday, September 4, 2009

District Strategic Planning

This statement from the superintendent is taken from the ARPS website:

Every organization periodically reassesses its core values and beliefs as well as its vision and mission. The Regional School Committee’s Goals Subcommittee is partially addressing this issue in the form of creating a document outlining the scope of the work for the Superintendent and the School Committee for this current year (2009-2010). However, there is a need for a more comprehensive, longer-term approach that will guide our work for the next several years. One of the Superintendent’s roles is to “Propose and initiate a process for long range and strategic planning that will engage the committee and the community in positioning the school system for success in ensuing years” (MASC’s Charting the Course, pg. 6).

As a result, I have commissioned Dr. George Ladd, Professor Emeritus, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, to spearhead the District Strategic Plan initiative. Dr. Ladd has guided similar efforts in many school districts in the New England area. Next week, I will formally announce the names of the members of the Steering Committee that will carry out this task. This work is long overdue since the last district strategic plan was created in 2000.

Attached you will find Dr. Ladd’s resume, the Data Analysis and Strategic Planning Project (DASPP) pamphlet describing the kind of work conducted by Dr. Ladd and DASPP, and a Prospectus (Appendices A-C; NOTE: these attachments are available on the website). The Regional School Committee and the community at large will be regularly informed, as part of my commitment to open and transparent communication, as to the progress of the Steering Committee’s work.


Tom G said...

The idea of scoping out the problems and the objectives for a one and three year period is really the only way we will see a sustained and focused effort to improve our schools in the ways we perceive as most important.

The strategic planning process helps identify the priorities and objectives; it provides a platform for consensus-building and buy-in; and when done right, it can help get the whole team working in the same direction on common goals.

I applaud this initiative.

How would the superintendent or this board member feel about posting the references provided by the consultant and/or the consultant's engagement contract which presumably articulates the deliverables (and/or the due diligence done hiring the consultant?) What I am getting at is that consultants like other professionals have, by virtue of training and experience, a view about what works and what doesn't work. The perspective provided by the materials identified above would allow interested persons to make an assessment of the consultants view before the engagement begins, not because I question the choice just becuase I want to have the benefit of that perspective. Alternatively, a post on the selection process might serve the need.

That said, the new super is doing a great job answering questions, first about the surprise resignation of the middle school principal and now about this strategic initiate. Kudos and thank you.

Tom G said...

I see I was hasty in making my request for additional information about the consultant. I will look at the attachments on first. Thanks.

Nervous Parent said...

I don't agree that our new Super is doing a great job explaining things. I still don't see a great deal of information about the resignation of the ARMS principal. The information he has put out seems to imply that she suddenly, after the schedule mix-up (which I find hard to believe is the fault of the PRINCIPAL!), decided to resign saying she "wasn't a good fit" and that he, her boss, just let her go. If that WAS the case, which I seriously doubt, why didn't he, as our Super, try to resolve this personnel issue and keep her on board? Or at least try to convince her to stay until school settled in and they could get a battle plan in place for her replacement? I know as a middle school parent, this has really troubled me. It is great that Mike Hayes was able to step into a leadership position since he already had experience with that, but then that leaves a huge gap...who is planning the math curriculum?! I am just sick of all the turmoil in our schools.

And how much, by the way, is this consultant costing?

Anonymous said...

Another consultant?

Anonymous said...

...and who is the consultant consulting with...$$$$$$

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it will be another crony, like the last one? Or maybe the same person? Sort of a trend developing?

Anonymous said...

A trend of outside expertise and analysis versus endless budget cuts and discussions of problems without any decisions or actions? What a relief -- and possible help.

Anonymous said...

Gee, and I thought we were paying such a high salary to the new Super because he was to be the "outside" expertise, you know, coming in with a much needed "fresh" view to lead us out of the morass.

Pardon the attitude, but my frustration has gotten the best of me. I wish that I could share your optimism over the operating style of the new leader.

Anonymous said...

Has the consultant/evaluator that was hired to review the Amherst District's Special Education programs been revealed to the public yet?