Marysville News

New strategic plan outlines school district vision

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The Marysville Board of Education met for an April 1 work session that included a walk-through of the district's new strategic plan.

Superintendent Diane Mankins and Assistant Superintendent Andy Culp introduced a new mission statement to board members that sums it up in three words: Innovate, Collaborate and Inspire.

"We asked principals what our (old) mission statement was, and no one knew," Mankins said.

She said when she first started with the district in July 2012, there were two different mission statements in two different places. Her goal was to design a new mission statement that expressed the district's vision in a way that is simple to understand and remember.

Early in her tenure, Mankins put together a "perceptions of a new superintendent" report that came from things she saw in the district "just walking in the door."

She spent time asking staff and community members two questions: "What are we most proud of as a district?" and "If you had a magic wand and could change something in the district, what would it be?"

She received answers that fell into a handful of categories, including financial, communication and community partnerships.

Mankins and Culp met with building administrators and talked with everyone from principals to teachers to janitors about things they wanted to see in the district.

They came up with four goals, each with an objective and a related strategy:

* Student performance and learning: There are two objectives -- growth to increase student performance personally and "opportunity and innovation to increase student performance by encouraging, supporting and providing access to a variety of opportunities that use collaboration and innovation to meet what all students need to learn."

* Financial stability and effective use of resources: Objectives are to establish trust and confidence with the community regarding district finances, and to maintain fiscal stability by monitoring spending and looking for more efficient ways to operate.

* Maintain a safe learning environment: The first objective is to foster a nurturing, safe learning environment for all students, staff and community. The second is to maintain facilities so they are environmentally and structurally sound.

* Develop community partnerships: The objective is for each building to work to increase partnerships within the community.

A community committee met five or six times between this year and last to give input on the plan, Culp said. Additionally, a number of staff members who live in the district were invited to provide input before the plan was finalized.

Board President Sue Devine expressed approval of the plan.

"We're taking charge of our own future, which I like," she said.

Board member Dick Smith said he wants to make sure the plan keeps moving and doesn't become forgotten in a binder.

Mankins assured him that wouldn't happen.

"We're pretty good at working our plans. We sit down with principals with their work plans and we hold principals accountable for their work plan," she said.

"Monitoring is critical in any organizational success," Culp said. "That is the significant difference in organizations that move the needle and other organizations that don't. Monitor what you value and value what you monitor."

Culp said the strategic plan is a document that may evolve over time.

Mankins said administrators want to make sure the community learns about the plan and understands where the district is headed.

While the board is not required to approve the strategic plan, Devine said she plans to have a vote so everyone is on the same page with the new strategy.

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