by Terry Rogers
Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent of Milford School District, requested that Milford School District Board of Education seek requests for proposals (RFPs) from vendors who could help the district create a strategic plan. Dr. Dickerson explained that there were several reasons why the district felt the need to seek outside assistance to create the plan.
“We do think it is time here at this point in time, especially where we are right now in education expressly with the impact the pandemic had with not having students in on a routine basis last year to really look at our needs again and develop a comprehensive student plan that really guides our day-to-day operations,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We’d like to engage our stakeholders and district community to make sure it’s a diverse representation for input. We are looking at a plan for three-to-five years that guides us, and we do feel like it’s necessary for us to continuously improve for all our students as we go forward.”
Dr. Dickerson explained that this was also a way to look at the district systems holistically. He stated that there had been plans over the years but felt it was time to develop a comprehensive plan moving forward. He also felt it was important to have the plan done professionally.
“Before we get to the motion, I just want to thank you, Dr. Dickerson, as well as your leadership team for preparing and outlining the roadmap for what is essentially the revamping of the 20-year-old board policy 60-101,” Board Vice-President Rony Baltazar-Lopez said. “In October 2020, I brought to the attention of this board the need for updating this policy to ensure that we are meeting our goals and holding ourselves accountable. Having a strategic plan that reflects our modern day environment, really outlines objectives, outputs, inputs, outcomes and other variables into a condensed document will improve or provide a sense of direction for our district.”
Baltazar-Lopez asked how the plan would engage diversity and stakeholders for input. Dr. Dickerson explained that those questions would be addressed through the planning process. Baltazar-Lopez also asked if the strategic plan would be updated regularly, explaining that he didn’t want to go another “20 years without updating it again.”
“I think if I read it right, it will be updated continuously,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We’d have to come back and continue looking at our plan and looking at progress and then obviously looking at places we may have to revise as we go forward.”
When Baltazar-Lopez asked if he could be part of the process, Dr. Dickerson stated that there would be families, community members, businesses, students and board representation throughout the process. School Board President Jason Miller asked if the strategic planners would be a private industry or part of a university.
“University of Delaware does have some,” Dr. Dickerson said. “The University of Virginia and Dr. Amory has been in contact with them in the past when looking for some desired plans and those types of things. So we have various vendors. We do have a list like that who have done this in other districts.” Dr. Dickerson stated he felt the district should focus on vendors with strong educational backgrounds.
Board Member Jean Wylie asked what metrics would be used to identify areas of improvement and growth.
“That’s where we’ll have the vendor lead us and help us identify our priorities,” Dr. Dickerson said. “They’ll help us identify what key metrics to look at. We have a lot of areas there as well that we can draw data on. We can also draw some conclusions on those places where ewe can improve and get better.”
When asked by Miller what funding source would be used, Dr. Dickerson stated there was a contingency fund that could be used, but since this would be an ongoing expense, it would need to be built into the base budget for the following year. Dr. Sara Croce, Chief Financial Officer, stated that the cost would probably be a few thousand dollars.
The request to send out RFPs for a strategic plan was approved unanimously.
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