Superintendent's Notebook: Time for strategic planning in RSU 5

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Success in school districts begins with strategic planning that includes a bold vision, purposeful planning, and identified next steps, stretching us beyond what we believe is achievable.

The strategic plan in Regional School Unit 5 was developed in 2010 and the Board of Directors recognizes the need for it to be revisited and revised as we strive to provide our students with a world-class education.

This is critical work as we seek to prepare our students for the next decade. As of 2014-15, the national average for students graduating high school was 83 percent. We, as a society, cannot be content with 17 percent of our populace not being proficient in skills needed to acquire a high school diploma. Successful completion of high school is the minimum standard our students need to be poised for success in the adult world.

As we prepare all of our students for adulthood, the road is not an easy one; it requires a collective effort. Strategic planning is just the first step; the remaining steps include an ongoing process that will require a multi-year commitment to continuous improvement. RSU5 is ready to establish the pathways needed for each and every student to be successful. The strategic plan will be critical in directing the human and fiscal resources to identified areas of need.

Often, districts’ intrinsic beliefs limit their students’ achievements as they lament why their students can’t achieve more. We must be bold in our visions and in our core beliefs of what levels of learning students can attain. We must not allow the barriers outside our control, such as family and socio-economic factors, to prevent us from truly believing that all students can succeed. We must reverse this complacency – often seen, but unspoken – with a resolve to support all of our students.

As we reflect on the present and look toward our future, we must remember that all of our students deserve the best we can offer. John F. Kennedy said, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” The strategic plan will give us purpose and direction. The RSU 5 staff, parents, students, and community members will provide the effort and courage it will take to create and implement the strategic plan, preparing all of our students for a fulfilling, purposeful life.

The Strategic Planning Advisory Committee will oversee a process to create an updated RSU 5 Strategic Plan. This group, consisting of teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community members will be comprised of stakeholders from the three towns. The group will create the plan, with final authority for all decisions relating to the strategic plan resting with the Board of Directors.

Monthly meetings of the SPAC will be held on the first Wednesday of each month from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the superintendent’s office. The first meeting will be held Dec. 6. Individuals who wish to be considered for membership on the SPAC should submit a letter, indicating what strengths you would bring to the committee, to Ginny McManus, Assistant to the Superintendent, by Oct. 30. The letter can be e-mailed to mcmanusg@rsu5.org. The RSU 5 Board will appoint individuals to the SPAC at its Nov. 8 meeting.

Becky Foley is superintendent of schools in Regional School Unit 5 (Freeport-Durham-Pownal). She can be reached at foleyb@rsu5.org.

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  • Chew H Bird

    Revisited? In 1992 I worked on a committee for a Maine industry association we developed a “living” strategic plan. The purpose of this concept was that strategic plans are often developed, referred back to, but are static in their nature. We reasoned that any strategic plan worth developing in a rapidly changing world needs to be reviewed and massaged on an ongoing and regular basis in order to provide value not only to the strategic process, but also for operational efficiency.

    In this age of rapid technology advancements and a world based economy it is incomprehensible that our school system leaders would not be following this same type of path to insure the integrity of their efforts, maximize the investment of the taxpayers, and provide the very best possible education for our children.

    In short, I am apalled that we are just now revisiting a strategic plan from 2010.

    • Bfoley

      Sorry for the confusion in my writing! The plan was created in 2010 and the last revision occurred in June of 2014. This will now be a more comprehensive revision, and I agree with your concept that any strategic plan should be a “living” one!

      • Chew H Bird

        Thank you for the clarification. I was not trying to be a jerk but the concept of a plan created in 2010 and not revisited until now had me scratching my head. In my experience, some sort of review every 6 months or so is, as a very general rule, adequate for the majority of organizations. Thank you!