Wake Ed

February 7, 2014

Wake County school system begins work on new strategic plan

Wake County school leaders say that, after getting extensive community feedback, they want to adopt a new strategic plan for the school system by late fall.

The Wake County school system is revising its strategic plan – again.

The last plan was finalized, after many discussions, in 2012 when Tony Tata was superintendent. Now that Jim Merrill is the superintendent, school leaders are beginning the revision process with adoption targeted for later this year.

The idea is to develop new goals for the state’s largest school system.

Between February and May, the school system will conduct community forums, focus groups and interviews. Among those who’d be targeted are school board members, students, parents, retirees, school administrators, teachers, community organizations, faith-based groups and the Wake Education Partnership.

The groups will be asked questions such as what are the district’s strengths and where can improvements be made. Online surveys would also be used.

In step two, a 20-30 member strategic planning work team comprised of “representatives from all stakeholder groups” will be formed in May.

In step three, planning sessions will be held in June.

In step four, a draft plan will be presented to the school board for review in late fall. The plan would be placed on a board agenda for public comment.

In step five, a revised plan is presented with the school board giving final approval in late fall.

School board members met with administrators in small groups at today’s board retreat to discuss the process for developing the strategic plan.

A repeated theme was the need to get a representative and diverse group involved in the process and that it shouldn’t just be the same people who provide feedback to the district. Board members said they wanted people involved who would give the district a “reality check.”

Another idea that was discussed was to make sure the new plan is realistic and not just “pie in the sky.”

“We want something that’s aspirational and visionary but that’s functional and worthwhile,” said school board member Jim Martin.

“If it’s a grounded plan, a realistic plan, people will walk away feeling better about it,” Martin also said.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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