One of my primary goals for the 2015-16 school year, my first with New Brunswick Public Schools, was creating a five-year Strategic Plan. I’m now delighted to say that this plan is a reality.
The development process began in July ’15 and featured data-gathering and collaborative sessions with other administrators, teachers, students, parents, and Board of Education members. It was exciting, enabled me to meet a wide range of different people throughout the New Brunswick community, and ensured a broad diversity of thought in our final document.
The initial step was what I often refer to as my “Listening & Learning Tour,” when I visited schools and community organizations and spoke with just about everyone I encountered about their experiences with our district. I learned a great deal about the areas in which we excelled, and I also received candid feedback about types of improvement that were necessary. Overall, I was able to determine specific “themes” that were most important to our core stakeholders.
After I’d listened and learned, the next step was conducting a district-wide survey, and also inviting district staff members to draft New Brunswick Public Schools mission and vision statements. Participation and enthusiasm were remarkable; we received about 800 submissions. These various statements were shared with building administrators, central office staff, and union leadership, who all worked together to narrow the submission down to ten finalists. In turn, we considered commonalities, culled our list down to the top three statements, and finally were able to come up with words that encapsulate what we’re striving for. Here are our statements:
To Prepare, Empower, and Inspire lifelong learners and leaders
New Brunswick Public Schools will prepare, empower, and inspire students to become engaged in their own learning, their environment, and the world. Students will develop their creative problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to innovate solutions to complex challenges. The entire community will collaborate to create a nurturing environment that allows students to reach these goals.