Upper Arlington News

District wants strategic plan suggestions

By

Upper Arlington Superintendent Paul Imhoff is seeking feedback from residents on phase one of the school district's new strategic plan.

Teams consisting of district employees and community volunteers worked on the plan this summer, focusing on three areas: quality profile, productivity and efficiency, and learning experience.

"All the volunteers spent hours and hours researching best practices and collecting as much feedback as possible," Imhoff said.

He said more feedback is needed, however, now that phase one -- the research and collection phase -- is complete.

Each work team compiled a briefing paper summarizing its findings, which were presented July 16 during a special meeting of the Upper Arlington Board of Education. The papers also are posted online at uaschools.org.

"These papers won't be considered complete until we hear from you," Imhoff wrote in an email letter to parents. "I want to hear what you like, what concerns you have and what you think might be missing."

He said an online feedback form will be posted Aug. 1-25 on the district's website. Residents can also provide feedback by emailing Imhoff at superintendent@uaschools.org.

The briefing papers target three issues: how to ensure curriculum and instruction engages all students to result in future and post-secondary success; what are the necessary ways to improve district operating efficiencies; and what is the best way to measure and communicate educational quality.

Residents William Shkurti, Wade Steen and Lori Trent headed the work teams to answer those questions.

In the quality profile briefing paper, the work team stressed the district must continue to create "rigorous and relevant academic experiences" for students that include "opportunities for creative expression and exploration of individual interests."

The team said community engagement should also be increased by providing more opportunities for partnerships.

It also stressed a "culture of stewardship" to "hold ourselves accountable for the care of students and the responsible management of resources."

The productivity and efficiency team recommended the district document the management and utilization of its technology; look into shared services with the city of Upper Arlington and the Upper Arlington Public Library; and "strongly urges the district to continue to analyze and control the expenditures related to salary and benefits" and closely "monitor those areas to ensure that compensation is sustainable while remaining competitive in the marketplace."

Imhoff said the strategic planning process encompassed the district's efficiency project, which began in November 2013, just before voters approved a 4-mill operating levy. The goal of that project is to reduce operating costs by a cumulative $4.5 million by the end of the 2016-17 school year.

The learning experience team recommended the creation of a facilities plan to address educational needs such as "technology-rich space for collaboration and teamwork," along with creative student seating and movement options and creating "simple, inspiring mission and vision statements that raise expectations for everyone."

"During phase two, we will use the information gathered during phase one, the feedback received from staff and community on the briefing documents and other information gathered by phase two teams to develop our strategic plan," Imhoff said.

The district is collaborating with Battelle for Kids representatives Brad Mitchell and Greg Browning to create the new strategic plan.

Comments