Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

Not wanting to be an example of Yogi Berra’s words, the Redwood Area school board contracted with the Minnesota School Board Association on Feb. 25, 2019 (MSBA) to help the school board create a district-wide strategic plan that sets direction for the district for the next five years.

The strategic planning process included several opportunities for school district stakeholders to provide input – identifying district strengths, weaknesses and important themes around which future learning can be planned. MSBA consultants facilitated five “listening sessions” (one each for students, administrators, staff, the school board and the community) May 14 and June 4, 2019.

Participants in the “listening sessions” included representatives of various groups – 21 students, 30 teachers/support staff, nine administrators, 20 community members and seven board members. The level of engagement was outstanding. In addition, two surveys were available for the school district’s staff and residents to provide feedback.

The “Perception Survey of the Redwood Area Public Schools – External Stakeholders” was available to the school district’s residents to complete (210 district residents participated).

The “Perception Survey of the Redwood Area Public Schools – Internal Stakeholders” was available for staff to complete (65 staff members participated). Both surveys were open for stakeholders to provide input from May 28, 2019 to June 28, 2019. MSBA summarized the results of the five listening sessions and both electronic surveys.

All of the information was presented to a 40-member “Strategic Planning Taskforce” comprised of students, staff, school board and community members. The task force met three times – July 31, Aug. 7 and Aug. 21. They broke into groups to identify the components that will comprise a strategic plan.

The plan includes belief, vision and mission statements and creates the background to set goals, objectives and action plans for the next five years.

At the regular school board meeting Sept. 23 at 7 p.m., MSBA will deliver a draft of the strategic plan to the school board for its review. Board members will subsequently discuss the direction the plan sets us on and determine next steps. Once finalized, the plan will be available for public review on the district’s Web site at www.redwoodareaschools.com.

A tremendous amount of work has gone into this process.

The Redwood Area school board and I genuinely appreciate the time, effort and engagement of our staff, students and community members who participated in this strategic planning process.

– Rick Ellingworth serves as the superintendent for the Redwood Area School District