RE-1 in midst of strategic plan

MEEKER I Meeker School District (MSD) began in January to develop a new strategic plan aimed at attaining academic excellence, improved facilities and gaining an inventory of available resources.
Now, community groups and individuals are working with the school board on the third draft of the plan on how to move ahead and improve all three facets within the school district.
The development of the plan is being carried out by Superintendent Susan Goettel under the direction of the district board of directors.
The plan is supposed to be a three-year project with completion in 2016. Then, she said, the plan will be reviewed each year.
“The board as well as the all-encompassing school district family has worked very hard on this plan and we all hope and expect this document to be very valuable to the future of the district.”
The MSD began the process in January by hiring a retired Glenwood Springs school superintendent to act as facilitator. She began the process by defining the stakeholder groups involved in the process and by setting up meetings with those groups, which included the school board, administrators (superintendent and three principals), teachers and support staff and, lastly, parents and the public.
In February, the facilitator began collecting input from administrators, teachers, parents and the public regarding what those groups like about the district, what are the perceived problems and what possible solutions exist.
In early March, an initial draft of the facilitator-collected input was distributed to the MSD board and the others making up an ad hoc committee to assist the board. Meetings have been held weekly or twice a week to discuss how to complete the plan, coming up with new drafts every couple of weeks.
At the April 11 work session with the board and ad hoc committee members present, school board member Marnell Bradfield summed up her feelings on the plan.
“I strongly hope we will consider making this a unified improvement plan, not just a strategic study,” she said. “Many people are putting in many hours on this plan and I would hope that we can come up with achievable, manageable goals. I would like clear, concise goals to demonstrate to the public that we are truly working for the future.”
Four goals are specified by the plan: to become a district of academic excellence; to provide students with educational experiences that prepare them to be successful adults; to become a premier school district that also serves as a district of choice for employees because of that excellence; and, to utilize the strengths of our community to provide opportunities and experiences for our students and to promote our successes.
Under each of those goals are separate areas of focus and major improvement strategies. Under each division is a description of the action steps needed to implement the major improvement strategy, and the plan contains completion dates for each major step, the key personnel involved in implementing the plan, what resources might be available, implementation benchmarks and a status update,which looks at whether an item is complete, if it is in progress or if it has not yet been started.
“I imagine we will continue to meet until there is complete agreement to do a final draft plan,” said Bob Amick, a member of the ad hoc panel. “When the board is happy with the draft, then it will need to be approved by the board and then presented to the public.”
Asked for specifics on what he thought were the major needs for the plan, Amick said, “For example, we need to come up with how to retain good instructors; a full-time grant writer is needed — be it salary or commissioned; the facilities at the elementary school are pretty good but (Barone) Middle School and the high school need big help,” he said.
Amick said he also feels the community must play just as major a role as the school district.
“We need mentoring from local residents to add to classroom learning; we need members of the community to become involved and help out with reading, math and science on a one-on-one basis or with small groups; and we need to emphasize careers available out there — and expose the students, through community members, to the professions that exist and which can be job shadowed by the students.”