Creating a long-term strategic plan has become a staple in districts across the state. While the way schools go about creating these plans differs, the common goal is to develop a roadmap that will lead the district to a better future. When putting a plan together, some districts prefer to leave the planning up to the administration, and a draft goes from the superintendent’s desk to the board table for approval. Other districts choose to have the Board of Education create the strategic plan. This path makes sense, as the board is elected by the community and is charged with the stewardship of the school. In Pleasantdale, however, the board chooses a much more inclusive path to strategic planning. The District 107 board realizes there is a wealth of knowledge within our community and charged the superintendent with developing a planning process that is a true reflection of the Pleasantdale community’s values.
The process that was employed was ideal in both its simplicity and its effectiveness. The process gave voice to all stakeholders and paid deference to the participants’ experience and role within our organization. It began with a request to a committee of stakeholders (parents, teachers, community members and students) to define the foundation for our work. This group provided the district with the mission statement, guiding beliefs, goal areas/statements and a vision of a Pleasantdale graduate. Its continuing work is critical to setting the district down a path of excellence and defining our ideal future. The mission, beliefs, goals and portrait of a graduate are tools we will use to guide our work for the next several years.
Once the committee laid this foundation, it was the teachers’ and administrators’ job to create action steps that will help accomplish these lofty goals and make our mission a reality. Because the staff is comprised of education professionals, they are uniquely qualified to create these action steps, activities and deliverables. Once the plan was vetted, it was then the Board of Education’s job to review the work, offer additional suggestions and ultimately approve the plan.
We should be proud of this process and even prouder of our end results. The result of this nearly year of work is our district’s Strategic Blueprint. The Pleasantdale Board of Education recognizes the need to have a plan that fully represents the values of our community. It is this recognition and an open and honest process that will lead our schools from great to greater.
Dave Palzet is the superintendent of Pleasantdale School District 107.