Continuous improvement is what the Washington School Board wants to see as officials develop a new five-year strategic plan for the district.

The board held a special workshop/visioning session last week to lay the groundwork for planning.

“We had a very productive two hours and I very much valued the input provided by our student board representative, Lydia Juengling,” said Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer.

“Overall, the board clearly articulated to me that they desire continuous improvement,” VanLeer said. “They want to be progressive and forward thinking in order to ensure our students are of high character, well prepared, and college and career ready upon graduation.”

VanLeer said all seven board members were present for the workshop, held last Wednesday at the Four Rivers Career Center. Also in attendance were assistant superintendents Dr. Judy Straatmann, Dr. Rachael Franssen and Dr. Brendan Mahon.

VanLeer said it’s important that strategic planning be a collaborative effort with board input, stakeholder feedback and data analysis.

The district is utilizing a school improvement survey to determine the current reality, stakeholder perceptions and potential areas of focus. The survey has been sent out to staff, parents and community members.

School officials also are reviewing achievement and demographic data to share with the planning team.

“At the workshop, the group participated in a discussion at the beginning of the meeting in response to a series of general education questions,” VanLeer said. “We then previewed the survey data collected to date.”

The data identified the following themes or potential areas of focus officials should consider going forward:

• Safety, Health and Well-Being of Students and Staff.

• Academic Learning.

• Resources, Human and Fiscal.

• Facilities and Physical Learning Environments.

• Family and Community Engagement.

VanLeer said the board determined that the overarching theme centers around innovation, with the five identified areas as focus areas to develop goals around in the future.

The board also worked through a SWOT analysis for each of the five identified areas. SWOT analysis exercises require participants to identify district strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with each of the five areas.

VanLeer said in October, the board will review district achievement data, any appropriate demographic data and additionaly survey findings.  

A strategic planning team will soon be assembled, she said, to review this same information as well as assist in the development of the district’s vision, mission and district goals in each theme or focus area.   

The new strategic plan will help guide the district from 2018 through 2023.