By Ted Waddelll
LIBERTY To be successful, you must plan, said Brian Howard, superintendent of the Liberty Central School District, during the unveiling of the districts new strategic plan at Monday nights Board of Education meeting.
The LCS strategic plan was unanimously approved by a 7-0 vote of the board. (Members Robert DeStefano and Armand Seibert were absent.)
In January of 2000, the district started the formal process of strategic planning a way of defining their mission in the future and improving the overall efficiency of the district operation and its involvement with the community.
Approximately 80 people representing the school administration, board, students and members of the local community were divided into three planning teams: core, measurement and action.
The core team drafted a proposed plan to achieve the goal of implementing the mission of the Liberty Central School District . . . to inspire all students to pursue their dreams and to contribute and thrive in a diverse community.
Members of the measurement team developed plans to access the districts progress in achieving the mission.
The action teams designed plans that will enable the district to accomplish the stated mission.
A total of 17 plans were developed, and nine were recommended for implementation during the first year of the three-year LCS strategic plan.
Implementing nine plans in the first year would be overwhelming, said Howard. All 17 plans are important and will be implemented over the next three years.
During Mondays board of education meeting, Howard recommended implementing two plans in 2001-2002: the creation of an advocacy group next month by an action team; and in July, a pilot program by the measurement team.
According to Howard, the strategic plan will focus on three priorities in its formulative stages: the establishment of a political advocacy group; joining the Empire State Advantage Program as a way to make sure the school is working toward a common goal; and improving the curriculum development process.
One of the next steps will be to bring it to the faculty and then roll it out to the community, said Howard. It will clearly define where we want to go, create a structure to help us get there and measure where were going.
Terry Planica, a 6th grade teacher at LCS, served as internal coordinator for the strategic planning process.
The commitment and the energy are the real passions for making Liberty Central School District a better place, she said. The tough part is going to be how to implement the plan how do we get everybody on staff, in the community and the students on board to help them see how its meaningful and inspire them?
The special presentation before the board was emceed by Garry Bertholf, a 16-year-old junior at the local high school. Bertholf was one of two student representatives on the strategic plan core team.
I think its a wonderful idea, he said of the newly adopted plan. Sometimes schools are based on what the state requirements call for and not on what the students want to do. A lot of the students and faculty have dreams, and this will give them a chance to experience some of these dreams.
Bertha Lee, a 14-year-old freshman, also served as a student representative on the core planning team.
I think the strategic plan will help students achieve their goals, she said.
Prior to the presentation before the board, hundreds of students created placemats which gave visual expression to their dreams. Many of the placemats were used during the dinner preceding the presentation, and others were displayed in the hallway.
As a part of the presentation, members of the different planning teams carried red and white cardboard boxes representing building blocks of the plan and labeled with key components of the strategic plan.
A highlight of the presentation was a video produced by Liberty students Morgan Hardy and Erin Smith, in which students and faculty expressed their dreams, ranging from college to travel or one students dream of becoming a superhero.