These are my notes from the Strategic Planning Launch held October 14, 2015. (Lowell: Imagine Our Future Public Meeting). The meeting was held in the Burgoyne Theater at LHS Freshman Academy. In attendance were many school and district administrators, at least 2 current school committee members along with several candidates for school committee, parents, teachers, UTL leadership, community partner representatives, and interested community members.
Continued public input is solicited through an online survey (link here).
Those in attendance were welcomed by Jill Lang, Freshman Academy Director, followed by presentation of colors by the LHS JROTC and the Star Spangled Banner sung by members of the LHS Chorus. Superintendent Khelfaoui welcomed the attendees and translation of this message was provided in several languages.
A video created by LET Channel 22, What Makes Lowell Schools Special, was shown to introduce those in attendance to some of the positives in the Lowell Schools. Hopefully, Central Office can make this video available to the public on a YouTube channel or link to LET22.
Superintendent Khelfaoui explained the purpose for creating a strategic plan: to develop a multi-year strategic plan for continued growth and development of the Lowell Public Schools. The resulting plan will be developed through a series of public and issue-focused meetings which will include all stakeholders in the Public Schools. These stakeholders include: Administration, Faculty Members, Parents/Guardians, School Partners and interested community members.
The inclusionary goal is to encourage people with diverse perspectives from throughout Lowell to participate in surveys, focus groups and committees. Dr. Khelfaoui cited his work in the Arlington (VA) Public Schools in this area (see link). Part of the strategic planning process, data analysis, has already begun through the LPS Leadership Academy (administrators). Claire Abrams (Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment) and Jeanine Durkin (Assistant Superintendent of Student Services) explained the types of participation and time commitments that will be needed over the next months (late October through Spring 2016) in order to develop a strategic plan. The final version of the strategic plan will be presented to the School Committee. These are the four ways in which stakeholders might participate:
- Strategic Task Force: 10 or more members focused on a specific topic of relevance (minimum 3 meetings)
- Strategic Synthesis Team: Will combine all the reports of the Strategic Task Force Teams into a report for the Superintendent (minimum 6 meetings)
- Focus Groups: 10 or more stakeholders sharing common expertise and interests (1 meeting)
- Public Forums: groups of stakeholders meet to discuss concerns and issues (1 meeting)
Attendee were invited to complete this survey (link here) and indicate any level of participation they were interested in. If you were unable to attend the meeting, please use the survey to voice your opinion/preference and willingness to participate in the future.
The evening ended with a well-appreciated performance by the LHS Band.