SAD 17 unveils preliminary five-year strategic plan

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PARIS — Strategic Planning Committee Chairman Jared Cash unveiled a five-year blueprint for the direction of the Oxford Hills School District to fellow SAD 17 directors Monday night.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.

Cash gave a nearly hour-long presentation of the 38-page plan that includes everything from teaching to managing finances.

The committee represents longtime community members, alumni, parents of students, former teachers, SAD 17 board members, current teachers and administrators. The panel has met with a facilitator since July 2013 to set a course of action for the next five years.

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The group held a community forum in December 2013 with more than 150 people to discuss the school district’s future and surveys.

The last districtwide strategic planning process was 17 years ago.

Cash said the response to the work showed the community-at-large has definite opinions about the direction they want for education. Recurring themes were students to be productive citizens and have good character, and stronger partnerships with parents and the community. He said many also indicated they “cautiously” support investing in education, especially if the board can specifically lay out the needs.

The idea for the committee began in July 2012 when Superintendent Rick Colpitts told school directors it would be part of a districtwide effort to develop a vision for students.

Strategic planning is being done throughout Maine school districts as many move to customizing learning for each student.

Cash said the strategic plan’s commitment is to ensure the education provided to all students is “contemporary and rigorous,” leaving each graduate highly prepared for a successful life in the pursuit of college, careers and citizenship.

The plan starts with a new mission statement and a list core beliefs. It addresses such areas as teaching and learning, recruitment, professional development evaluation and retention of staff, financial planning and oversight, facilities, communications and development and alumni relations.

It is an ongoing process. A successor plan will begin development in 2018.

“We really have to find some way to make this useful,” he said. It has 103 action items, but needs hundreds of work steps, he said.

“We need to own this,” Cash said.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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