New strategic plan to build on successes of the past four years

Four years after setting a new standard in strategic planning for public school districts, UA Schools staff members and community volunteers are set to go a step further by creating an even more focused plan.

The 2014 strategic planning process was inspired by community conversations revealing a strong desire for the district to develop a small number of measurable goals that addressed what matters most for students and the community.

To achieve this, the district worked with business experts to develop a new, hybrid planning process. It combined the best elements from both private-sector and public-sector models by balancing the focus on results-oriented goals with widespread community participation.

“The traditional strategic planning process for school district often leads to a lengthy plan that fills a large three-ring binder and ultimately sits on a shelf,” said Superintendent Paul Imhoff, Ed.D.

“We wanted to create a plan that would drive everything we do - and it has done just that.”

Chief Academic Officer Keith Pomeroy points to several major initiatives identified in the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan that have now come to fruition.

“When you think about our curriculum mapping and assessment work, the implementation of the one-to-one technology program, and the continued development of our service learning programs - these are all major strides made possible because of the strategic plan.”

Another important accomplishment of the plan was the debut of the Upper Arlington Quality Profile, an annual accountability report that measures the district’s progress toward meeting goals and meeting the high expectations of the Upper Arlington community.  The latest edition of the Quality Profile, reflecting the 2017-2018 school year, can be found at www.uaschools.org/qualityprofile.

The 2015-2018 Strategic Plan also created a roadmap for efficiency-related goals such as the facilities master planning process.  As a part of the planning process, the community volunteers on the Efficiency and Productivity Work Team identified the cost of maintaining aging school buildings as a major threat to the district’s long-term financial health. They recommended that the Board of Education launch a full-scale, community-driven facilities master planning process.

“And now we are just months away from breaking ground on a new high school and renovations or rebuilds of our five elementary schools,” Imhoff said.  

As the 2015-2018 Strategic Plan comes to an end, district leaders hope to build on its successes.

“We will continue on the same journey,” Imhoff said.  “The next iteration of the strategic plan will be even more focused and allow us to build on what is working across our district.”

One new area of focus is well-being.  A work team of community volunteers and staff members will have an important set of issues to research including, but not limited to, safety, mental health, bullying prevention, cultural competency, substance abuse prevention, and stress reduction. This team will provide a briefing paper for the Board of Education, which will be translated into a set of objectives and leading strategies to address each identified area.

The planning committee will have a draft of the next strategic plan ready by the summer of 2019.  The plan will officially launch with the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

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