BRADFORD — The Bradford Board of Education approved moving forward with a strategic planning process during their meeting held on Wednesday evening.
Dr. Dave Dolph of the University of Dayton attended the meeting to explain what it would mean for Bradford to pursue a strategic planning process for Bradford schools, stating that it meant trying to arrive at goals as opposed to being more reactive.
“It truly can invent the future,” Dolph said. The strategic plans made will have a shelf-life of three to five years, with the plans containing four to five goals.
“It becomes a living, breathing part of your organization,” Dolph said, explaining that the district will have a common goal for which to strive. Dolph described strategic planning as “running with a common purpose rather than simply running.”
Strategic planning will involve data development, which Dolph stated would primarily be done by administration.
“There’s really two sets of kind of data that come along with this,” Dolph said. “Performance data is the kind of stuff that the school district has access to … you’re talking about the financial structure of the district, your test scores, those academic kind of problematic things that spell out where the district is.”
While that information is the hard, quantifiable data, Dolph said that they will also compile qualitative data.
“What we’re going to try to do with that [qualitative data] is establish four to five focus groups,” Dolph said. “Focus groups would simply be folks that you would invite around certain demographic categories within the community.” Dolph suggested those could include parents, business folks, teachers, and so on.
Dolph stated that they would ask the focus groups different questions, such as what they value in their school district and what they think is really important for education. The focus groups each come up with their answers through brainstorming tactics in order to arrive at five top priorities that they believe in when it comes to the school district.
Dolph said that they then ask the participants individually how they feel the district is doing.
“And that provides a real nice snapshot of how people are feeling about the district,” Dolph said.
After that data is all compiled, then they will select a planning cabinet. It will include 24 people — 12 people internal to the school and 12 external.
“The idea is just to immerse the planning cabinet in all the stuff about the school district,” Dolph said. This will then lead to the four to five goals for the district.
“The plan you develop is good,” Dolph said. “But the process can be really good.”
Dolph explained that these common goals can help keep the district on track even if the “cast of characters” or people in charge change.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall