Brunswick School Board adopts new strategic plan

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BRUNSWICK — The School Board unanimously adopted a new strategic plan, following years of deliberations in a sometimes convoluted process.

The 20-page document, presented publicly for the first time Wednesday, serves as the “true north” guiding the district, according to Assistant Superintendent Pender Makin.

The plan essentially lays out values and goals, Makin said. Now, system staff will implement those goals in the schools, and report back to the board each summer over the next five years.

“It’s up to (staff) to chart the course,” she said.

The plan emphasizes three main goals – student success, professional excellence, and community connections – and then lists values that will guide action towards those goals.

The subcommittee tasked with creating the plan held several public meetings for parents and residents. The School Department paid Good Group Decisions, a Brunswick-based consulting group, about $16,000 to help guide the process, according to Superintendent Paul Perzanoski.

“It’s important to have some objective (group) outside of the district,” to analyze the response, he said.

Though the plan in its current form does not lay out specific action items, some of its goals point to policy and programming changes that may be made down the road.

One of the first goals in the document is to “strengthen early childhood education ages 4-7;” in other words, to create a pre-K program. Working plans for a new school at Jordan Acres includes capacity for pre-K.

Another priority is to continue to recruit, hire, and retain “exemplary” teachers, specifically by “establish(ing) and support(ing) a human resources director,” a position not currently in the administration.

The full document will soon be made available on the School Department’s website, Perzanoski said.

Board members generally applauded the work Wednesday night. “This document is fantastic,” member Rich Ellis said.

Chairman Billy Thompson, however, said that although the value of academic excellence seemed “baked in” to the plan, it was never specified as an individual goal.

“(I want to) make sure we are calling out the academic specifically as a fundamental part of what we do,” he said.

The board voted unanimously to accept the plan. The strategic plan will now go to the board’s policy committee for further review.

After the meeting, Perzanoski celebrated its passage, saying he’s been advocating to have a strategic plan in place since he arrived in Brunswick in 2008.

It’s the fourth strategic plan he has been involved in his career in public education, he said, and he believes they’re useful.

“It (just) focuses everybody on the same goals and objectives,” Perzanoski said.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or wwuthmann@theforecaster.net. Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

The Brunswick School Department headquarters at 46 Federal St.

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Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.
  • Chew H Bird

    I quickly read through the puff marketing piece… While the article is pretty, under “Professional Development” there is a complete absence regarding evaluation of educator performance… Add to this the stated desire to hire an additional overhead position in HR, and it makes me wonder what the percentage of teachers to staff is with 370 people listed as “staff” for 2330 estimated students…

    Also, I note the desire to develop a pre-k program but I see absolutely nothing about responsibility for prudent fiscal care of taxpayer dollars. Surely there must be a way to spin (address) this this omission.

  • Barbara Fisco

    Pure Politics.

    • Jimmy_John67

      Leaders turn to consultants when they are either too inept or too spineless to make their own decisions. Unfortunately Brunswick town and school leadership has both of those qualities in spades!

  • farmertom2

    Outside eyes can often be helpful, and when the task is large and the cost low, the payback can be huge. you know the whole forest for the trees thing? I can assure you it’s true. i look forward to seeing the whole report in due course.