The South Orange – Maplewood School District has culled the feedback collected during the recent community Education Summit and is in the process of incorporating it into a strategic plan that will determine the direction the district takes for the next three to five years.
Roughly 1,500 people attended dozens of breakout sessions at the summit in November, which was billed as an effort to “define the future of our school district and its schools; to reimagine education in this community.”
Once the administration has crafted the strategic plan, it will present it to the Board of Education and the community in January; the Board will then need to discuss how to align the plan’s key goals to the district’s budget.
Superintendent Dr. John Ramos, Jr. sent a letter to the school community Wednesday detailing what the district has learned, and a timeline laying out the next steps. Ramos said the administration found a number of “common themes and concepts” that came up most often in various discussions at the summit.
See the notes from the various discussion groups, and a synthesis of common themes, each attached below as PDF documents.
The community is still welcome to share further comments and suggestions over the next few weeks, through the Let’s Talk application on the SOMSD website.
Here is Ramos’s letter in full:
December 16, 2015
Dear SOMSD Community,
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Education Summit and who has offered input into the process through Let’s Talk since the Summit concluded.
We have reviewed all of the notes from the topic rooms at the Summit, and the subsequent submissions through Let’s Talk, and notice a number of common themes and concepts which weave their way through the various discussions. The notes from each discussion group are available here. We have synthesized these into the attached document.
We encourage you to share any additional thoughts, suggestions or comments with us over the next few weeks, particularly if you have any ideas which you think we may not yet have heard. If you would like to share your thoughts on one or more of the Summit topics, please do so here.
- Incorporate all data and ideas collected by January 4th into synthesis of the data to serve as foundation for Strategic Plan. (January 2016)
- Develop a Strategic Direction stating our mission for the next 3-5 years, the values which will guide our work, the objectives for students’ performance, and the strategies that adults are committing to in order to support students in reaching these objectives. (January 2016)
- Submit draft Strategic Direction to the community for comments and to the Board of Education for adoption. (January 2016)
- Align 2016-2017 SOMSD Budget to priorities identified for early implementation (February – March 2016)
- Action planning phase, where working committees will create specific, concrete plans for each strategy. (February – August 2016)
- Implementation phase, with regular reporting to the Board and the community on our progress. (August 2016 and beyond)
As previously stated, this will be a collaborative effort, and there will be many opportunities to participate. We will keep the community informed of our progress throughout the process.
Because of all the work we are doing together to envision what we want to see here in SOMSD, I trust that the Strategic Plan we create through this process will truly represent the values of our community and will be a plan which honors creativity, passion, purpose and play.
John J. Ramos
John J. Ramos, Sr., Ed.D.