Sunday, October 25, 2015


The mission of Urbana School District 116, a multi-cultural community committed to educational excellence, is to ensure that all learners acquire knowledge, develop skills, and build character to achieve personal greatness and help create a better global society, by providing innovative, comprehensive programs, respecting individual learning styles and cultural differences, and fostering caring and nurturing relationships, while engaging each student, every family and the entire community.

I am very excited to begin a new level of engagement with our school and larger community to help us update our Strategic Plan.  As you know, our Mission, Beliefs, and Parameters are strong powerful statements that have community and organizational support.  We want to preserve those elements of our current plan, and engage in a process that asks students, teachers, families, and the larger community to help us plan for the future. My hope is to increase participation while at the same time analyzing which issues, concerns, dreams, and aspirations are most widely shared.

Our current strategic plan served us very well. As we have evaluated the plan, we have determined that we accomplished about 75-80% of the action items. That doesn't mean that we reached 80% of our goals; however, my hope is that we keep reaching for the three broad objectives while we engage our USD116 families, students, employees, and community members in helping us set new targets for the future.

Our plan is to engage our USD116 staff, students, families, and community in a variety of ways. We will do road shows at staff meetings, visit with PTA groups, and hold district wide forums. As you know, we enjoy going out and literally going door to door if that helps with engagement.

We have been very impressed with a company called ThoughtExchange as a platform for engagement, analysis, and support. They have experience assisting large and small districts engage around issues of strategic planning, facilities planning, redistricting, referendums, and marketing. They also do what they call a 360ยบ weather report about how the district is viewed by different sectors of the community. 

Later this week, we will be launching our first ThoughtExchange engagement.  Three open ended questions that ask about your thoughts about your school and your district.  Your responses will be anonymous, they will be reviewed, and they will be shared.  Please join the conversation.  Watch for an email from your building principal and me later this week.  If you don't receive an email directly, watch the district website and social media for ways of joining the conversation.

You are all aware how important it is to have a plan to guide us through uncertain times. Today, next year, and ten years from now are very uncertain. Now is the best time to engage in a strategic planning process to help us focus on the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of our local community.  Please join us as we launch #USD116Engage!