Context and orientation for the draft strategic plan for 2015-2020

It was good to see so many parents at last night's School Committee meeting. Most were there to address the changes to the home schooling policy or in support of the dual language immersion program. Unusually, the chair (Maureen Cotter) asked that the parents addressing the policy change speak during that period of the agenda. I was not able to stay for that discussion: I really hope that all the parents were allowed to speak as as long as they needed.

The earlier part of the meeting was a first reading of the district's 2015-2020 strategic plan [1]. It is interesting to compare this plan with the 2010-2015 plan [2]. There no cohesion between the two. It is as if they were prepared for two different school districts.

During public comments I did ask for context to be added to the plan: What were the 2010-2015 goals achieved and goals unachieved? What are directions are we continuing in and what directions are we changing? I was heartened to hear Scott Mueller and Jonathan Daly-LaBelle​ reiterate this need. I was less hearted to hear Superintendent Stringfellow's defensiveness that this had already been covered in their retreats. She may have been speaking but clearly there was little communication. I have asked for the records from the July 21 retreat.

The draft strategic plan is a document for discussion, but its form does not aid that. I always find it bothersome when presented with a document for discussion that's content is not referenceable. Mr Mueller, nor any other Committee member, should have to fumble around to orient others to a specific part of the document. In a followup letter I noted that numbering lines or paragraphs is a feature of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Word is part of the $21,422.40 licensing fees authorized at the same meeting. Sigh.