Superintendent’s Corner: Strategic planning underway for next five years

By LAURA HAMMACK, guest columnist

Happy new year!

The new year is always a great time to reflect on the accomplishments that were achieved during the prior year and to also embrace those goals that we had hoped to achieve, but, for whatever reason, didn’t.

There is so much to be proud of and so much that we celebrate across the district of Brown County Schools that has been accomplished; however, we believe in the philosophy of continuous improvement where we are excited to always improve upon our delivery of the highest quality educational experiences for our students.

We look forward to 2017 being a year where these efforts are realized!

Our yearlong strategic planning process is a primary factor that assists in our commitment to continuous improvement. We have met four times since August and will meet five more times from January through May. This team meets once per month on the last Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. We meet in the Goldberg Room at Brown County High School. You are always welcome to join this team as a community member, school district team member or student.

The strategic planning team has worked collaboratively over the past four meetings to make some exciting decisions that I’d like to share with the community. Our first steps have been to identify our stakeholders. Stakeholders are a person, group or organization that has interest or concern in our organization and can affect or be affected by our organization’s actions, objectives and policies. Knowing our stakeholders was a critical first step for us to understand who our strategic plan was embracing.

Second, the strategic planning team spent time understanding the importance of establishing a mission, vision and core values for Brown County Schools. Our research indicated that knowing why we are doing what we are doing (mission), where we are trying to go (vision) and how we’re going to go about it (core values) is the glue that will hold our organization together.

By collaboratively identifying these components, we built the foundation for our strategic plan.

The team identified the following vision for Brown County Schools: World-class opportunities. Small-school relationships. Lifelong impact.

The team identified the following mission for Brown County Schools: Brown County Schools provides the highest quality educational experiences where all students are safe, valued, inspired, civically engaged and globally connected.

The team identified the following core values for Brown County Schools: Excellence: Brown County Schools commits to the highest standard of excellence for all. Integrity: Brown County Schools stands on the ideals of honesty and ethics and pledges to advance the development and engagement of citizens within society. Respect: Brown County Schools maintains the highest regard for the rights, abilities and achievements of all members of the school community. Inspired: Brown County Schools provides opportunities to support school community members to do, think, or feel something extraordinary within their educational experiences. Engaged: Brown County Schools offers a variety of opportunities, both inside and outside of the classroom, that advance personal, academic and extra-curricular development. Thinking and problem solving: Brown County Schools develops sophisticated critical thinking and problem-solving skills, allowing all members to participate in our global society.

The strategic planning team will next develop strategies to support the following goal categories: Highest student achievement (curriculum, instruction, assessment, college and career readiness), safe and functional facilities, buildings and equipment (maintenance, custodial, transportation, technology, food service), strong parent/family/community involvement (parent/family/community involvement initiatives, marketing), effective operations/fiscal responsibility (budgetary process, operational efficiencies, financial analytics, forecasting), and highly effective, motivated and caring staff (evaluation model, staff development, culture/climate).

We are excited about this phase of the planning process and sincerely invite you to join us as we continue this important work!

Laura Hammack is superintendent of Brown County Schools. She can be reached at 812-988-6601 or lhammack@brownco.k12.in.us.