Last spring USD 495 initiated our Strategic Planning process to establish the districts focus areas and goals for 2022-2027. The Board of Education invited key stakeholders to help shape the future direction of the district. Community members, USD 495 staff, parents, and administration were all represented in the group. The initial meeting was facilitated by Kansas Association of School Boards, Assistant Executive Director of Leadership Services Dr. Britton Hart. The initial session included a review of the following items: Committee members received information related to demographics, budget, and summary of district accomplishments and challenges; the community discussed and analyzed responses from the community survey; they had reflection on the district mission statement; how do you define a successful Ft. Larned graduate?; six groups of 7-8 people discussed and identified district strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and reported back to the committee as a whole; all table groups and individuals identified common themes that occurred. This concluded the work of the community on the first evening of the Strategic Planning Process.
The following themes were identified, in total there were fourteen theme areas that emerged:
2. At-Risk and Poverty
3. Personalized Learning and Opportunities
4. District Culture
5. Career and Technical Education
7. Student Engagement
9. Mental Health
10. Housing/Enrollment/District Resources
13. Early Education Focus
Theme areas were condensed to five focus areas for group processing during the second session:
Strategic Plan Focus Areas
Responsive Culture of Learning
Staff Support and Development
Parent and Community Engagement
Facilities and Resources align with Vision
The USD 495 Strategic Planning community during session two started with a review of the themes identified from night one. The community and board teams took what was learned from the previous session to address each of the focus areas identify up above. Their task as a team was to identify the “why” and “what” for each of the five focus areas. The why was the purpose for each focus area that created a demand for change, while the what are strategies to help address the focus area.
The next step was for the board of education and superintendent team to finalize the findings from the community focus group discussions. The board held a work session to make final decisions on the focus areas that will allow the superintendent to develop leadership teams to develop a plan on how to achieve the goals approved by the board. At the August, USD 495 Board of Education meeting the Strategic Plan for 2022-2027 including a new mission statement, a new vision, five focus areas and district goals was approved. The plan will now be reviewed throughout the year to ensure the short-term goals are meeting the outcomes of each focus area. It is exciting for the district to have identified areas of improvement suggested by our patrons to map out the future of student learning in our district for years to come. Be on the lookout in the coming months as the district begins to develop and implement actions to start the journey to reaching our goals.
We would like to thank all of our community stakeholders that participated in the community discussions. The input from all groups will be vital in determining the new USD 495 Strategic Plan 2022-2027.