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Strategic Planning for a Future of Student Well-being and Success

Often one hears about organizations embarking on strategic planning to define what their hopes and dreams are for future success. In the case of the West Bloomfield School District we are commencing that journey this fall and will complete the strategic planning process by January, 2022. Why are we doing so at this time and what can students, staff and community members expect from this future visioning exercise?

Coming off of 18 months of coping and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, we definitely see the need to refocus on student health, well-being and academic learning. We know that we’ll not be returning to normal, but rather, we will be defining a new path forward that requires us to redesign how we approach teaching, learning and social/emotional growth strategies. We’ll use what we’ve learned over the last two years and apply those learnings, along with feedback from our many stakeholders, to create dynamic, student-focused
strategies that will produce the best chances of success for all of our students.

Beginning this August, the West Bloomfield leadership team, including the Board of Education, central office administration and school leaders, will be working to craft a dynamic, student- centered vision for the future. The process will be facilitated by consultants from the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB). MASB has facilitated strategic planning processes and goal-setting processes with over 100 Michigan school districts. Their facilitators have extensive experience in strategic planning as well as backgrounds in education and board service. These dual competencies uniquely position MASB to customize a strategic planning process that ‘fits’
our school district.

We will be addressing three key questions:

  • Where is the district now?
  • Where is the district going?
  • How will the district get there?

Under MASB’s guidance, we’ll be utilizing a data-based Strategic Planning process that establishes priorities, focuses energy and resources, strengthens operations and ensures all stakeholders are working toward the achievement of common goals for the District.
MASB’s Data-based Strategic Planning Process proposal includes:

  • A pre-planning session with the Superintendent and Board of Education
  • A facilitated conversation with the Board of Education and District
  • Administrators to gain input
  • Up to six focus group input sessions with stakeholders. i.e. staff, parents,
  • Community members, etc.
  • A summary and analysis of stakeholder input (qualitative/perceptual data)
  • Educational data report (quantitative data) including 5-year district trend data comparing the District with five reference districts and state averages
  • Planning and facilitation of strategic planning retreat for approximately 40 planning team members
  • Planning and facilitation of implementation workshop with key staff
  • Written documentation summary of the planning process
  • A summary of the strategic plan
  • Recommendations for development of a board monitoring calendar

As you can see from the above summary, there will be opportunities to gain stakeholder feedback that will inform the final plan. That feedback will focus on the following elements:

  • Strengths of the district
  • Opportunities for improvement
  • Barriers to implementation
  • Vision for the district

I encourage you to participate in this process by responding to surveys and participating in focus groups. Also, if you have a particular interest to become more involved, let me know if you would like to serve on any of the working sub-committees that will be a part of the process. Although not finalized, I anticipate that there may be three strategic planning subcommittees including: teaching and learning; facilities and finance. You can express your interest by emailing me at: Gerald.Hill@wbsd.org

Thank you in advance for your interest, feedback and participation as we continue our journey to ensure that the West Bloomfield School District educates students to be their best in and for the world.