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District continues to stretch toward new strategic goals

Public will soon get to comment on them

Aug. 14, 2008

The Greendale School District will seek public feedback the next few weeks to hone strategic goals that will guide it for the next five years.

The School Board and individual action teams held a workshop Aug. 11 to discuss questions for five planning areas — assessment and instruction, facilities, funding/finance planning, technology and world language — and identify which goals will face the biggest hurdles.

“Stretch goals are supposed to make you uncomfortable — they’re supposed to be items not everyone will agree with,” said Superintendent William Hughes. “We want people to have some discomfort and some debate.”

The district began routine strategic planning in 1993.

Toward specific goals

A focus on developing stretch goals and measurable action steps to achieve them is a key component of its efforts to update that process, with the help of professional planner Keith Marty.

Earlier this year, a team of residents and district employees initiated that by developing an updated mission statement and a set of belief statements and goals, which have been the driving force behind the work of action teams in the five planning areas, Hughes said.

So far at least one goal from each group has made district staff squirm a bit, he said.

Hughes identified the following goals as those that must be more thoroughly examined to determine if the district has the resources to accomplish them: the assessment group’s goal of requiring each student to develop a portfolio; the facilities group’s goal of developing a long-range plan for athletic facilities; the funding group’s goal for a referendum in fall 2009 or spring 2010 to continue the district’s $550,000 “exceeding the cap” operational income; the technology goal of providing a laptop to every student in grades 6 through 12 for use at school or at home; and the world language group’s goal of developing an international exchange program to incorporate all middle and high school level world language students.

How to implement

School Board and community members also raised questions at the meeting about how grading scales and the use of letter grades might be modified, if new technology would focus on connecting students’ school experiences to the work world and whether a teacher exchange program had been considered for implementing a new “critical language,” such as Chinese, in the district.

Board President Judy Fons said the plans are still a work in progress. The district will now seek additional feedback and focus on answering any lingering questions in order to set priorities, she said.

The strategic plan will be presented to the public at the district’s annual meeting Monday, Sept. 15, and is expected to be approved by the School Board later this fall.

Julie Becker can be reached at (262) 446-6606.

NEXT STEP

WHAT: school district’s annual meeting

WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15

WHERE: Greendale High School, 6801 Southway

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