District begins new wave of strategic planning

This year the district renews its goals and looks for new adjustments to the school and school community that will come into effect over the next five years.
“We are partnering with an outside agency that does these kinds of things. Generally that’s what’s done in strategic planning. It helps to have an outside set of eyes,” said Superintendent Dr. Mikkel Storaasli. “We could probably do it ourselves, but when you are that close to the school, there might be things you miss.”
The changes brought on by strategic planning may begin to come into effect as early as the end of the school year.
“Our goal is to start by the end of the school year so we can get the information out to teachers and everyone, so we know what changes there are going to be and what’s going to come out of this, so we can start over the summer,” Storaasli said.
The first thing the strategic planners did was to create a series of focus groups composed of different sections of the school community that mirror the community as a whole.
“They talked with all the board members, all the administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members. Right now they are compiling all of that data,” Storaasli said.
Administrators hope that by taking into account the multiple perspectives, they will be able to glean a more complete understanding of the changes that need to happen in the school.
“First, we want to get that accurate picture of our school, and our school is so much bigger and our district is so much bigger than just staff or just administrators,” said Principal Dr. James Roscoe. “To be really honest with you, I think our parents and our kids are going to have the most accurate picture on what’s going on. If we took only one specific group’s point of view it might skew the process.”
The goal of strategic planning is to organize the school so they can target and work towards big picture ideas.
“The idea is not to look at specific departments but rather the bigger picture. What are the big goals we want to tackle in the next five years?” Storaasli said.
The last strategic planning was in 2012. According to Roscoe, planning sessions have a lifetime typically of five years. This lead to the organization of the most recent strategic planning session for the district.
“Once a plan goes through and has reached its expectancy, we start looking for new things. There were some goals we had that we achieved within the first couple years, so we go now what?” Roscoe said.
Although sessions usually include broad topics and ideas, they also can include topics that specifically respond to recent developments.
“Last strategic planning we had many different topics, but one of the most specific was on the topic of social media. How do we utilize social media to communicate?” Roscoe said, “In the last few years, I’ve seen a huge increase in the use of social media to get our voice out there and using it as a communication device.”