Westerville City School District leaders want to make sure the system's strategic plan is still aligned with the community's expectations.

Two sets of public meetings have been scheduled, including a large group on April 4 and 5, with participants asked to attend only one, followed by small group on April 19 and 20.

Only those who attend one of the large group meetings can participate in the small group sessions.

Greg Viebranz, the district's executive director of communications and technology, said the large-group meeting would provide an overview of recent outcomes resulting from the strategic plan.

Attendees also will be asked a few questions to help the district identify potential adjustments.

"Quite often, the information you obtain during such sessions leads to additional questions, so the small group conversations will be used to seek clarification and gain a deeper understanding of the information obtained during the large group session," Viebranz said.

Superintendent John Kellogg reviewed a report from the fall of 2013 called Community Voice: Strategic Planning Process and Outcomes during the Feb. 27 board meeting.

"A request was made a few weeks ago to put together a process for community engagement," he said.

"I wanted to bring forward a presentation to give a rearview mirror."

He said the current board members are all new since he was hired as superintendent in 2013.

"As a lead to where we would recommend going next for community engagement, I want to go back in time," he said.

Kellogg noted that large and small group stakeholder meetings occurred in the fall of 2013.

"In 2013, we went back to capture (opinions of) the community first," he said.

At the time, Kellogg said, the district looked at six strategic dimensions that eventually evolved to what's now called performance objectives.

Those include:

* Every student achieves academic success.

* Learning and working environments are safe, nurturing and efficient.

* Student learning is driven by recruiting, developing and retaining highly effective and skilled staff members.

* Community, parents, students and staff are engaged as partners.

* Financial resources are aligned to support student success.

* Resources are provided to support student development.

Key themes were identified for each objective.

For instance, the students achieving academic success objective focused on themes such as student-centered programs; 21st-century skills; technology; curriculum and instructional materials; effective communication; core academics as a priority; content knowledge; development of social interaction and real-world skills and variety of academic-program options.

"I think it's important to understand the depth we went to get the community voice," Kellogg said. "When we were done, we had a gallery walk for stakeholders to come in."

This spring, he said, the district is going back to the community to see what could have been missed and what areas people want to focus on moving forward.

"There are things we have to do anyway," Kellogg said. "It's not a stop, wait and listen. It's a listen as we continue running."

The meetings are open to the public and those who participated in 2013 are especially encouraged to attend because they have the institutional knowledge, Kellogg said.

Board member Gerrie Cotter said she's anxious to get the community input, and she also wants more student input on what they feel is needed.

Kellogg said the district heard from students in 2013, and the district can meet with them separately from the scheduled meetings.

Nancy Nestor-Baker, board vice president, said she'd like to see the district invite as broad an audience as possible, including service, civic groups and faith-based groups to go beyond district-building walls.

"We need to explicitly gather aspirations from throughout the district," she said.

Nestor-Baker said the questions should be asked, "What do you want, where do we go? ... What kind of school do you want? That's a question we should always lead with.

"Now is the best time I can think of in my life with the district," Nestor-Baker added. "We aren't in crisis, but molding the district for what it's going to become."

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla