Wake Schools talk big picture for strategic plan

07/23/2014 8:55 AM

07/23/2014 8:56 AM

Wake County school officials Tuesday took a big-picture approach to developing a strategic plan with a discussion about how to bring innovation into classrooms for both students and teachers.

Tony Wagner, an education expert from Harvard University, led the brainstorming among the school board and senior staff that focused on making sure:

• Students develop the skills to be innovative thinkers.
• Teachers have the resources to try new ideas.
• And fair accountability standards are in place.

The school system plans to release a strategic plan by the end of 2014 that sets out goals and priorities for the next five years. Officials already have conducted focus groups and surveyed more than 11,000 people online about what they would like to see.

Board Chairwoman Christine Kushner said the ideas discussed at the meeting are exciting ones, but they’ll have to be balanced with the constraints the school system works within, from funding shortfalls to state testing requirements.

For example, new accountability measures could take a more holistic approach to measuring teacher performance, but the existing measures wouldn’t go away. And no one is asking for additional tests, she said.

Kushner said she thinks the community would be supportive of changes if they strike the right balance, as long as they follow along with what is happening.

“I’m really hopeful that we’ll trigger engagement,” she said.

The next step in the strategic planning process is a town hall meeting at 7 p.m., Aug. 6 at the Jane S. McKimmon Center at N.C. State.

The town hall is free and open to the public, but registration is required at wcpss.net/vision.

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