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School district plans for success

POSTED August 21, 2009 11:00 p.m.
The first week of school is a hectic time in the Turlock Unified School District. Teachers have to finalize lesson plans and decorate classrooms; students have to find their classes and get back into the school spirit; and this year administrators have to find ways to follow the District’s new strategic plan.
The TUSD Strategic Plan is the result of over eight months of committee meetings and deliberations. Over 200 students, parents, District employees, educators, and Turlock community members collaborated on the project. Together they came up with a new mission statement for the District and a list of four objectives to achieve over the next five years. They also set parameters and came up with strategies to realistically achieve those goals.
“It’s exciting to see this kind of teamwork and collaboration,” said Ed Felt, deputy superintendent of business services.
Felt, who is the District’s internal facilitator for the strategic plan, said that Superintendent Sonny Da Marto first raised the idea of enacting a strategic plan within the District. Felt said that the plan was a way for the District to make sure that it is utilizing all of its resources to best suit students.
“Very rarely do you develop a set of strategies or an action plan to meet those type of goals,” Felt said.
The District consulted with Cambridge Strategic Services, a strategic planning company. The organization helped the District come up with six strategies for meeting their goals. The planning teams formed six committees, one for each strategy, and each group came up with “specific results” for each strategy.
A specific result is a step that the District can take in one year that will help them get closer to meeting a goal. There are 31 total specific results that the District and individual schools will be carrying out. The planning group chose nine specific results to enact for the 2009-2010 school year.
Felt said that they are just starting to promote the strategic plan within the district. On Tuesday, the superintendent’s office sent a letter to all District employees that explained the plan. Felt said that the District was looking into the cost of classroom posters, brochures, and business card sized documents that could be sent home with students to better explain the strategic plan to students and parents.
The entire strategic plan and supporting documents will be uploaded to the TUSD Web site on Sept. 1. Those documents can be viewed on or after that date at www.turlock.k12.ca.us.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003
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