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Weston Schools Focus on Strategic Planning

The following is a press release sent by Lynne Ohmes on behalf of Dr. Colleen Palmer, superintendent of schools for Weston.

, with significant input from the community, are deeply engaged in the process of strategic planning. Looking five years and more into the future, the plan seeks to anticipate the challenges and opportunities facing our students, staff, and community as a whole.

The primary goals of implementing a Strategic Plan are to:

  • Continually improve the quality of education for every Weston student
  • Maximize use of limited resources and spend tax dollars wisely
  • Identify and address future challenges and opportunities in a timely, proactive fashion
  • Strengthen the partnership between the schools and the community

Since the fall of 2010, education consultant John Starr has coordinated the Strategic Planning process, beginning with a series of interviews of 35 diverse community members and district staff. Based on these interviews and other information gathered, a comprehensive report was issued. This “Evaluation Study Report” includes an implicit theory of action that was published in The Weston Forum last fall.  

In a further effort to bring wider public input to bear on the planning process, the greater Weston community was invited to participate in an on-line survey that concluded with the question “What have we missed?”

Within a few months of her summer 2011 arrival, Superintendent Dr. Colleen Palmer was charged by the Weston Board of Education to continue the formal planning process for the future. Under the co-direction of Board Vice-Chair Ellen Uzenoff and Dr. Palmer, a Steering Committee of 21 education professionals and Weston community members was created. This committee has been working collaboratively this year with an additional 27 community and school representatives (including four students) to address how our schools will prepare for the challenges of the future. 

Moreover, since February 2012, four sub-committees, comprised of educators, community members and students, have been meeting independently to address major areas of concern that were identified in the “Evaluation Study Report”.  These areas, broadly categorized, include:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Communications and Community
  • Student Needs
  • Finance and Resources

At a joint meeting on April 12, the sub-committees will share and discuss their preliminary reports, including specific goals and strategies for each of the four above areas. These reports will be further refined and eventually assimilated into a master report on Strategic Planning to be submitted to the Board of Education for its consideration in the fall of 2012.

At that time, the Strategic Planning process will have incorporated most, if not all, of the concerns expressed by students, parents, staff and community. Primary among those concerns are the need to adjust to a world of changing technology, to continually enhance the quality of education provided every child in Weston while maintaining fiscal discipline, to address the impact of declining enrollment, and other issues critical to the future of the Weston schools and the town. 

Uzenoff commented, “This current collaborative process recalls and builds upon the strategic planning process that took place in 2002.  With a comprehensive plan in place, the district is poised to meet the challenges of the future.”

Leon Karvelis April 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Dr. Palmer deserves a great deal of credit for spearheading this long-term planning study. The education of our children, based upon its financial and social impact upon every household and business in our towns, and upon factors such as property values and community pride, is our most important governance function. It is essential that through long-term planning every effort be made to assess the most efficient and pragmatic means by which our children can be best prepared to realize their potential and for community consensus to recognize and provide the resources required to meet the associated challenges. Annual short-term budgetary review processes, while important, are simply inadequate to deal with the need to address rapidly evolving educational technology. Moreover, wrenching shifts in our national and state economies are redefining the nature of the jobs for which our youth must be prepared. I hope and trust that Dr. Palmer and those involved in the planning process consider the implications of these factors in their deliberations. They must be supported and encouraged in their efforts. Leon Karvelis, Redding Region 9 Board member Candidate, 135th Assembly District

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