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District continues strategic planning efforts
The Plano ISD Board of Trustees continued to hash out the process by which it will develop its new strategic plan at a special-called meeting Wednesday night.
The lion's share of the discussion revolved around the focus groups, which will provide the board with input and ideas that will ultimately be incorporated into the plan.
Starting in January, at least six focus groups will come together: one comprised of students, one comprised of staff members, a combined city and school district group, a Leadership Plano group, and two or more community groups.
The number of community groups, membership of which will be open to all Plano ISD residents, will be determined by the amount of response the district receives from the public upon opening enrollment, said Danny Modisette, the district's strategic planning consultant.
"We'll hit a cutoff point with that so we know how many folks we have and how we can plan those groups," he said.
The role of all focus groups, Modisette said, is to be the "voice of the stakeholders," providing their vision for the future and opinion on where the district should be heading.
"Their thinking and imagination is what we pull people together for in these focus groups," he said.
Group members will be asked "basic guiding questions" related to their assessment of the district's greatest assets and challenges. They will also be quizzed on their greatest aspirations for the district.
"Within each of those focus groups, we'll identify those patterns or trends in their thinking," he said. "We don't make a master list of every idea that came up. What are those ideas that keep coming up within that focus group?"
Shared trends among all focus groups will then be identified, at which point the board can begin the process of drafting a strategic planning document, which will likely occur in the February/March timeframe, Matkin said.
A public hearing will be held during that time, where the board can publicly present the draft plan to allow focus group members to see the results of their work and allow for further suggestions for the plan, Modisette said.
Adoption of the final plan will likely occur in April, Matkin said, with staff members developing strategic planning action plans from June to October of next year.
Plano ISD has not adopted a new strategic plan since 2007, and usually develops a new one every five years, Modisette said. Open enrollment for the community groups will be available through the website and the district's targeted community organizations, he said.
Also on the meeting's agenda was the upcoming community survey, which the board approved at its Oct. 3 strategic planning meeting.
The study will be administered by Rice University via telephone to Plano ISD residents in November, with results delivered to the board at its December meeting, said Karla Oliver, assistant superintendent of government, community and planning initiatives.
Superintendent Richard Matkin said the survey will focus on "high-arching, global questions" designed as a "temperature gauge" for public perception of the school district, a characterization of the study with which Place 6 Trustee Marilyn Hinton agreed.
"What I'm getting from some people in the community is they feel like they're never asked, and this is an opportunity for them to feel like they're a part of PISD and weighing in," she said.
While the results survey will not directly inform the strategic planning the process, board members have expressed a desire to conduct the survey as an addendum to the primary strategic planning efforts.
"I'm treating it as a tool of management, and as a tool you might use to formulate some opinion of where you might want to go with the strategic plan," Matkin said.