What will things look like in the Redwood Area School District five years from now?

Although no one knows for certain what will happen from 2019-24, a new set of goals and objectives developed by the local school district, with input from its school board and guidance from the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA), will help provide some direction.

That was developed in what is known as a strategic plan.

The district has spent several months working with the MSBA to create the new plan, and as part of that process it received input from various groups representing the school district, including staff, students, administration, school board members and the community as a whole.

Meetings were held that provided the public with an opportunity to offer input and surveys were conducted to gauge the perception and perspective the public has of the district and what it feels needs to be accomplished as the district moves forward into a new decade in P-12 education.

Gail Gilman of MSBA presented a final draft of the strategic plan to the school board at its Sept. 23 meeting, with the board then approving that document as its guide for the next five years. Gilman encouraged the school board members to keep that document in front of them as they make decisions for the future constantly asking themselves whether or not the decisions being made fit in with the goals of that plan.

Yes, Gilman agreed, a strategic plan is a working document simply because there are so many unknowns, but she added in the broader picture what the district now has as that guide will serve them well.

There are several primary focus areas within the strategic plan that will guide decision making, including student achievement, student support, finances, facilities and work force. 

Goals within those focus areas address everything from implementing a plan to evaluate current academic programs and initiatives in the district to ensuring the social, emotional and mental health needs of all students are being met. Maintaining a strong financial foundation and the consideration of the renewal of the district’s operating levy will be part of the long-term plan, as will ensuring the school’s facilities are optimizing student learning in a safe environment.

Developing community relationships and partnerships that support learning will also be a priority for the district for the next five years.

Rick Ellingworth, Redwood Area School District superintendent, said there are elements of the strategic plan that are already being acted upon in the district, adding this plan will reinforce those objectives. He also said there are other things that will be new and he believes will help to make the school district even better for the future.

Gilman complimented the school board, administration and the community as a whole for its commitment to the development of the strategic plan.

“The community participation was great,” she said, adding there were so many great ideas and suggestions offered along the way.

Ellingworth expressed his appreciation for the community’s involvement in the process, which was reiterated by the board at its meeting.

A copy of the strategic plan can be found online at redwoodareaschools.com.