Tyler ISD to start strategic planning

Published on Thursday, 17 October 2013 23:06 - Written by By Emily Guevara eguevara@tylerpaper.com

Tyler ISD soon will launch a strategic planning process that district officials say will set the vision for what the community wants this school district to be.

The school district has formed a 30-member community to guide this process. That committee is made up of 15 community members from a variety of organizations and 15 staff members including paraprofessionals, teachers and both campus and district-level administrators.

In the coming weeks, the district will form smaller action teams that will come up with the ways to accomplish the objectives set by the larger group.

Kim Tunnell, the district’s chief leadership and performance officer, said this process differs from regular comprehensive planning in that the group members will look at the aspirations of the district, goals that can be accomplished in the next three to five years.

“This says, we’re going to identify who we are and what we want to be,” she said. “If at the end, we have a plan we can realize with the current structure, personnel and budget, it’s not a strategic plan.”

The 30-member team will be responsible for coming up with the district’s beliefs and mission and identifying objectives.

Once they identify the objectives, they will establish strategies to address those objectives.

The district will form one action team to address each strategy. One community member and one staff member will facilitate each team.

Each team’s job will be to look at the identified strategy and create an action plan. That includes identifying specific results and ways to measure results, creating action steps and performing a cost-benefit analysis for each action plan.

Some strategies may have just one action plan while others have two to three, Ms. Tunnell said. The action teams will start Nov. 18 and continue through February.

The community at large will have the opportunity to weigh in through a communitywide survey that is expected to be available as early as next week.

Ms. Tunnell said the district wants to get input from the community about their expectations for the district, its students and its graduates.

The district is coordinating its planning with the city’s Tyler 1st Comprehensive Plan. Ms. Tunnell said they also plan to continue the partnership with the Tyler Area Business-Education Council.

A complete plan should be presented to the school board in March for a vote. Implementation will follow.

Board Vice President Andy Bergfeld asked about what, if any, procedures are in place to re-evaluate the plan in the future.

Ms. Tunnell said they likely would make routine reports to the board throughout the year along with an annual update.

Board member Wade Washmon thanked the community members for stepping up to serve on this strategic planning committee.

“I know they’ll set really high goals, really challenging goals …” he said. “Hopefully, this will be a good catalyst, give us a shot in the arm, and it’ll be up to us to make sure that happens.”

Board President the Rev. Orenthia Mason expressed some concern about the idea that the strategic planning committee will operate on an agreement-based approach meaning all 30 team members have to agree for an idea to move forward.

Rev. Mason wanted to make sure the team members knew that. Ms. Tunnell said they do and that the process lends itself to people working together.

“I think that’s the power behind this is identifying the commonness that we all have, who it is we want to be and what’s our purpose in educating our children,” Ms. Tunnell said.

In other business, the board approved the $97,550 purchase of the Edgenuity software that will allow certain middle school students to work at their own pace and skill level to stay on track or catch up with their peers.