SAD 51 prepares for next 3-year strategic plan

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CUMBERLAND — With its first strategic plan about to expire, School Administrative District 51 is seeking public input on its strategy for the next three years.

Nearly 100 residents of the Cumberland-North Yarmouth district, students included, have signed up for a community forum to be held in the Greely Middle School gym from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, Superintendent Jeff Porter said Nov. 2.

Members of the SAD 51 Board of Directors, staff members, and the district and school leadership team will be at the event and discuss aspects of the current plan in order to guide topic development for the next one.

The current strategic plan, which the School Board approved in June 2015, expires next June, with the new three-year document to take effect in July 2018, following board approval.

This week’s event echoes a community dialogue three years ago that attracted 120 people, Porter said, noting, “We need people from all stakeholder groups – students, parents, community members and staff members. … We’ve got good representation from all of those different groups.”

The point of the gathering is to garner community input on items residents would like to see in the next plan. The Strategic Planning Committee, headed by School Board member Kevin Desmond, has been developing the event, as well as other means in the coming months to gain further input, Porter said.

“This is the first step that we have planned for this (school year),” he noted, adding that a survey of stakeholders will be issued in January 2018.

While there may be some changes in the next plan, Porter expects the four goals in the current document – “Engage. Empower. Inspire,” “Every child, every classroom, every day,” “Investment in our team,” and “Community partnerships” – to remain intact.

Many ideas came forward three years ago due to a strategic plan being a “blank slate” at the time, Porter said. “Now that we actually have had a plan, and we have some sort of direction that we’re going in, we’re going to be looking for opportunities to go to the next level,” he said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.