January 14, 2021 Update
At the January 11 meeting of the GFW School Board, Minnesota School Boards Association’s Director of Strategic Planning and Board Leadership, Gail Gilman helped to move the district along the path of identifying the plan and future of GFW Schools. The timetable and next steps for the process were presented as well as more information on what makes this process so essential for school districts.
The basis of a Strategic Plan is moving ahead with a visionary roadmap for the district. Ms. Gilman presented on the standards for school board leadership as well as strategic governance framework while emphasising that at the center of all of this is the focus of student achievement for all. A number of initiatives will be tied into the strategic planning process including an equity and inclusion survey, building needs assessments, and the OBA budget assessment, which is aimed to address the district’s financial situation and right the ship.
A Strategic Plan is one of the number one priorities for a school board and is a legal requirement in the state of Minnesota. This is a community-focused process whose goal is to ensure that the values, needs, feelings, and philosophies of the communities within the school district are represented.
The next steps in the Strategic Planning process include:
- Formation of a Strategic Planning Committee with both internal and external stakeholders by the Superintendent and School Board.
- Surveys of both internal and external stakeholders (Survey will be distributed in early February and available for 2-3 weeks).
- Day of listening sessions (February 16, 2021) – Several sessions will take place with a number of audiences including: students, staff (licensed and non-licensed), Superintendent and administrative team, School Board and student reps, as well as community members.
- Superintendent Horton will also host additional listening sessions (dates TBA).
The results of these initiatives will be the framework for the rest of the planning process which will include three Strategic Planning Committee meetings that will accomplish the following tasks:
- Meeting 1 (March 1, 2021) – Sharing what was learned in surveys and listening sessions as well as hearing the Superintendent present on the State of the School District.
- Meeting 2 (March 8, 2021) – Setting foundational elements of the strategic plan including belief statements, mission statement, and vision statement.
- Meeting 3 (March 24, 2021) – Setting goals and objectives based on what was heard during listening sessions/surveys.
The Strategic Plan will be used to tie board and superintendent goals to the goals and priorities of the community to guide decision making for GFW Schools going forward. The process will be an inclusive one that paves the way for a positive path forward for our school district. The plan is expected to be finalized in early April.
At the November 2, 2020 school board meeting, Superintendent Jeff Horton wrapped up his First 100 Day Plan for GFW Public Schools as well as announced the next steps in the process for shaping the district.
The strategic planning process will include identifying district goals and aligning community values and priorities with district operations. GFW plans to involve district stakeholders at every level in the process to develop a vision and mission for GFW that will define the district for years to come while guiding its day-to-day operations and identity. The district will be basing this planning process on a budgeting model called Operational Budget Assistance (OBA) to set a stable and sustainable budget that the district can build upon.
This webpage will be updated with more resources and opportunities to participate throughout this process.
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning is a process that guides our work, rooted in financial stability and provides benchmarks that can be reviewed each year to measure how we are improving as an organization. Results of a strategic planning process will be to define and sets several meaningful items for GFW Schools including:
- Belief Statement(s)
The school district’s Strategic Plan is the Board’s visionary road map for governing while focusing on student achievement for all. To govern successfully, MSBA recommends the School Board utilize their district’s Strategic Plan regularly when making decisions especially during challenging times.
It is important to have an up-to-date, easy to follow Strategic Plan that sets the district’s direction and goals. Once the strategic direction and goals are in place, the School Board can align district goals with the Superintendent goals and Board goals.