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Sarasota Thursday, Apr. 8, 2021 1 week ago

Consultant helping with school district strategic planning

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School leaders hope the improvements will increase the district's metrics in areas such as learning, employee excellence and community relations.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

ach year, school leaders determine goals and areas to improve upon as a part of the district’s strategic plan.

This time around, however, the district will work with the help of a consulting company to improve the plan with clear, achievable goals that will be implemented over several years.

“The strategic plan is so very important to keep us all on task and moving forward in the same direction,” Superintendent Brenna Asplen said.

Consultant DeliverEd will work with the district to set goals around teaching, learning, employee excellence, facilities, finance, government and community relations. It will then create plans to reach those goals. DeliverEd will work with leaders in monitoring and measuring progress and making adjustments if needed.

“We really believe in a collaborative facilitated process, and we focus on progress-monitoring and implementation versus a pretty plan that sits on a shelf,” DeliverEd CEO Corey Gordon said.

Gordon said too much strategic planning time is often spent brainstorming and not enough on implementation. To help achieve the overall goal, Gordon said district staff will be challenged to think about two things: the boldness of their ideas and the quality of their execution.

“If we execute a lot of what we’re already doing better, more consistently, we’re already going to see improved outcomes,” he said. “If we then include a few bold ideas with well-executed timelines and strategies, we’re going to see transformation.”

Each month, those in charge of a particular area will meet with Asplen to monitor progress and adjust as needed.

“Many superintendents tell me the most powerful part of this process is the actual progress-monitoring piece because it’s different than anything they’ve done before,” Gordon said. “It requires some real thinking and focus to get it right, but it can be really transformative for a district.”

DeliverEd is conducting a capacity review to determine where the district is right now in the strategic planning process and what staff thinks it should focus on in the future.

 It is looking at data, conducting surveys, interviewing board members and holding town halls.

DeliverEd will then create a list of the district’s top three strengths the strategic plan should build on and the areas that need work. That list will be shared with the board in May when the board will decide the next course of action.

Leaders will then work in June and July to build implementation plans to be rolled out from August to October.

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