Sunday, March 27, 2016

A great opportunity to learn: CCPS Community Forums this week

Three community forums will be held this week to inform and seek input from community members and CCPS employees about the 2017 - 19 strategic planning process. In this post, I will provide some information that I hope will inspire you to attend one of the upcoming meetings to learn about what’s happening in our schools and take advantage of the opportunity to share your thoughts, suggestions or concerns as the District's next strategic plan is being developed.

The CCPS Strategic Plan is important because it codifies District priorities and guides District decision-making. According to the School Board’s Governance Model, the Superintendent is responsible for recommending a Strategic Plan to the Board for approval.

You can review a draft of the community forum presentation on the District website.

I found it helpful that the presentation begins with the process by which the three-year Plan is being developed. As in the past, it aligns with the District’s vision (“All students will complete school prepared for ongoing learning as well as community and global responsibilities”) and mission (“By providing exceptional educational opportunities that motivate and engage each student”). That reminds us all of the big picture.

And as in the past, the Plan appropriately takes into consideration the District’s challenging cultural, home language, and socio-economic demographics: majority minority students; third highest percentage of English Language Learners in Florida; 57 percent of pre-K - third graders from non-English speaking homes; highest percentage of migrant students in the state.

The District began working on the Plan in May 2015, and to-date has consulted with school and District-based leaders and goal-specific community organizations. This week’s community forums and one held last week in Immokalee seek input from community stakeholders and District employees.

With this input, a revised draft will be published on April 12 for discussion at a School Board Work Session on April 19, revised and published again to incorporate Board input on May 3, and presented to the Board for approval on May 10.

Only positive changes
Since the District is doing well (see “Kudos to Collier public schools for A grade, fares well vs. others in state,” Naples Daily News editorial, 2/15/16), I am pleased that the proposed Strategic Goals modify only slightly those of the current Plan. The Goals for 2017 - 19 are:

  1. Early Childhood Education
  2. College and Career Readiness
  3. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (the current Plan does not include the Arts)
  4. Highly Talented and Engaged Workforce
  5. Student Achievement
  6. Maintain Fiscal Responsibility
  7. Communication - Parent and Community Engagement (new)

I am very happy to see the addition of the arts to the current Plan’s Goal #3 focus on science, technology, engineering and math. As someone who benefited from a liberal arts education, I feared our students were not getting what I consider to be an important part of their education.

I'm intrigued by the change in Goal #5 from "narrowing the achievement gap on statewide accountability assessments" in the current plan to simply "student achievement" in this plan. According to the Naples Daily News, Superintendent Patton said, "We think it’s more correct at this point in time that you don’t get credit for narrowing a gap. We need to lift everybody up. You can’t leave anybody behind."

I find it interesting to see the addition of a new Goal #7, Communication. (See Naples Daily News  "Community involvement a key part of Collier Schools’ strategic plan.") This makes overt what I perceive to be an already strong commitment to engage with the District's external constituencies.

I look forward to hearing the District’s explanation of why they made both of these changes.

As in the current Plan, there are, for each Strategic Goal, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by which to monitor progress. KPIs are to be “SMART” (Specific; Measurable; Attainable/Action-Oriented; Relevant/Realistic; and Time-Bound), enabling the Board and the community to objectively evaluate the District’s performance.

Work within each KPI is guided by strategies set forth in the Plan that are to be reviewed and revised annually based on changing needs.

Included in the presentation about each Strategic Goal is an impressive list of community organizations with whom the District collaborated, along with the KPIs and first year strategies proposed for each goal.

Presenting this information at the Community Forums will be the senior leaders of the District:

  • Goal 1 - Jennifer Kincaid, Executive Director, Elementary Programs
  • Goal 2 - Dr. Leslie Ricciardelli, Executive Director, Secondary Programs
  • Goal 3 - Dr. Traci Kohler, Director, STEM Resources, Instructional Technology and Media Services
  • Goal 4 - Ian Dean, Executive Director, Human Resources
  • Goal 5 - Luis Solano, Associate Superintendent, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Goal 6 - Bob Spencer, Executive Director, Financial Services, and Patrick Woods, Executive Director, Student and Staff Projections, Allocations and Reporting
  • Goal 7 - Greg Turchetta, Executive Director, Communications and Community Engagement

When and Where
  • Monday, March 28, at Lely High School, 1 Lely High School Blvd, Naples
  • Wednesday, March 30, at Gulf Coast High School, 787 Shark Way, Naples
  • Thursday, March 31, at Barron Collier High School, 5600 Cougar Drive, Naples

Each meeting begins at 4:30 PM for District employees, and at 6 PM for community members.

If you can’t attend one of the meetings, email your comments to Board members and the Superintendent:

Kathleen Curatolo - curatoka@collierschools.com
Erika Donalds - donale@collierschools.com
Kelly Lichter - lichteke@collierschools.com
Julie Sprague - spraguju@collierschools.com
Roy Terry - terryro@collierschools.com
Superintendent Kamela Patton - patton@collierschools.com

I’m really looking forward to attending one of this week’s meetings. It will be interesting to hear the District leaders take us through the presentation, and I expect to learn a great deal.

I hope you will join me in this opportunity to learn about our District and share your thoughts with District leaders.

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