Dexter Community Schools: Planning for the Future

Dexter Community Schools is actively engaged in creating a thoughtful, multi-year strategic plan for the District in partnership with all related stakeholders.  On Tuesday night, a small group of parents/community members attended the third in a series of meetings facilitated by Laura Hilger from KnowledgeWorks to gather feedback from the community.

Mollie Sharrar, Executive Director of Instruction for DCS, was also on hand to answer questions and provide clarification during discussion.

In Fall 2018, DCS partnered with KnowlegeWorks to study the District and assist with the development of the next strategic plan.  As part of the planning process, DCS has conducted numerous focus groups, classroom visits and sessions with leadership, teachers, Board of Education members and the community at large.  In addition, this past summer a districtwide community survey was conducted to determine the “Profile of a DCS Learner,” asking community members, “What are the most important skills, knowledge and character traits Dexter Community Schools graduates need to be successful in their futures?” Over 375 individuals participated, sharing 739 thoughts which were ranked over 17,000 times.

The purpose of Tuesday’s community meeting was two-fold: 1) to build clarity and collect feedback on the initiatives and plans identified by the stakeholders, and 2) to determine roles and responsibilities of parents/community members in respect to the strategic plan.

Hilger began by updating attendees on the planning process so far, sharing that the District has collected and analyzed data, narrowed that data down to trends, then prioritized those trends to determine four overarching strategic initiatives: Vision, Culture, Learning Continuum and Extended Learning Environments.  For each of these initiatives, DCS leadership is currently creating goal statements with proposed metrics for measuring success.  Community members were asked to review the proposed goal statements and give feedback, meeting in small groups to discuss then sharing out with the room.

The final exercise of the evening asked attendees to consider their roles and responsibilities in relation to the District and the strategic plan.  A list of predefined roles was given and each person was asked to identify which roles resonated for them.  Roles included advocate, modeler, informer, conceptualizer, designer, implementer, supporter, explainer, learner and facilitator (participants could also add other roles to the list).  The idea was to consider all the “hats” a community member/parent wears and what is actually being accomplished by the role, rather than what is perceived by the title.

Though the group in attendance was small, the discussion was engaging with pertinent and thoughtful feedback given.  Sharrar shared that another community meeting will be held sometime in late winter or early spring, providing another opportunity for parents/community members to offer feedback on the future of Dexter Schools.




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