Centreville sup’t outlines framework of new strategic plan

Students, parents, staff, community to be involved in planning

CENTREVILLE — Centreville Public Schools will begin a new strategic planning cycle soon, and the Centreville community will be involved in that process.

As part of the framework for the upcoming strategic plan outlined during the CPS Board of Education meeting Monday, CPS Superintendent Stephanie Lemmer said students, parents, staff members and members of the local community and local businesses will have their chance to weigh in on the district’s focus over the next five years.

Those conversations will be held in town hall-style events at dates to be determined in March and April, and possibly done virtually as well. Lemmer said while the district has done similar town halls in the past, attendance wasn’t that great. She said the district would send invitations to those groups when the time comes so more discussion can be facilitated.

The goal will be to gather as much information, opinions and thoughts on the district and what it can be from the different stakeholder groups, and use it to formulate their plans for the future.

“We plan to analyze those conversations and that information, and we’ll do that in a board work session, so the board can help us with identifying what we should be focused on in the short term and what we should focused on in the long term,” Lemmer said. “That way, we can prioritize the work we’re doing, and we can do the rest of that work once we have those short and long term goals, we can identify strategies and assign who must do what and look at how we allocate the financial resources necessary to accomplish those goals.”

Discussion about the town halls was only part of the preview of the district’s upcoming strategic plan, which Lemmer said would cover 2021 through 2026, a year or so longer than the previous strategic plan, created back in 2017. After a brief rundown on what a strategic plan is — a document that formalizes the district’s mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives — Lemmer said these kinds of plans are important for a district in a number of ways.

“There’s a lot of research done on high-performing schools, and there are nine shared characteristics of them,” Lemmer said. “The number one shared characteristic is a clear and shared focus. The board has an opportunity to create an environment, from the board of education all the way to the student level, where everyone is focused and committed to a shared vision and agreed-upon goals and common beliefs and values. At the very root of all of it is the belief that all of our students can learn, and that they can learn at high levels.”

Lemmer then gave a review on how the 2017-2020 strategic plan was created, a potential jumping-off point for how the new strategic plan could be produced. They looked at six “critical questions” during this process: Why do we exist, how do we behave, what do we do, how will we succeed, what is most important right now, and who must do what? Then, they added another question, what are we focused on, and designed the plan around those questions, using them to outline their mission, values, vision, and focus for the district.

“The answers to these questions align with having a mission statement and a vision statement, having the core values identified, and being able to identify the long and short term goals,” Lemmer said.

The current mission of the district, the answer to the “why do we exist” question, is to “educate and inspire all students in a positive, safe and healthy learning environment.” Their values, the answer to the “how do we behave” question, are valuing others, working together to accomplish goals, trustworthiness and helping one another. As far as their focuses from the 2017-20 strategic plan, they were to optimize funds to accomplish more for students, provide high-quality, safe and clean facilities and transportation, implementing multi-tiered systems of support for K-12, supporting students through “strong collaborative relationships” in order to be college and/or career-ready, and creating a positive and inclusive culture for students, staff and families.

One thing Lemmer says the district could do better with on this strategic plan is program evaluation.

“We implemented the strategies for each of these focus areas, so what? What was the outcome? How did it affect students in a positive or negative way?” Lemmer said. “We really needed to measure that, and I think that was a missed opportunity that I think we’ll be able to capture this time around.”

Board President Jeff Troyer and Trustee Rod Detwiler both said they were supportive of the work that has been done with the strategic plan in the past, and are looking forward to working on the new plan.

“I think that the mission is still prudent today as what it was in 2017 and early 2018 when we adopted those,” Troyer said.

“I think the mission is still very comprehensive, and perhaps some of our outcome goals will continue to change as we go along, but I think the mission and values continue to be spot-on for me,” Detwiler said.

In other business…

  • The board received a presentation from the Centreville FFA’s Ag Issues team, who will be competing in the state FFA competition soon. Their presentation was a rehearsal of their upcoming competition presentation on a “hot topic” in agriculture, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on meat production.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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