The Davis school district’s newly formed Strategic Planning Committee got to work Thursday, with the committee’s 26 members holding a 12-hour session at the Veterans’ Memorial Center. Another 12-hour session is planned Friday, followed by a nine-hour meeting Saturday.
The committee, as well as several soon-to-be-formed “action teams,” will spend the next few months researching and preparing recommendations regarding the long-term priorities of the school district — potentially involving everything from academic programs to facilities, and more.
Members of the public who are interested in the strategic planning process are invited to participate in the action teams, which will start recruiting in the next week or two.
The action teams will meet from late October through late January, completing their work by early February. Then the Strategic Planning Committee will convene again for a two-day session in late February, and prepare a report containing their recommendations that will go to the school board for discussion in late February and early March.
Coordinating Thursday’s proceedings was facilitator Kathy Ohm of the Association of California School Administrators, who has helped many school districts develop strategic plans over the past 30 years. Kim Wallace, the Davis school district’s director of instructional technology, is serving alongside Ohm as the school district’s in-house facilitator.
Ohm began Thursday’s session by having the committee members introduce themselves. There was also a review of the Brown Act, a state law that contains several requirements for how a school board-created panel like this committee should post notices of meetings, how meetings should be conducted and how committee members can appropriately communicate with each other outside of publicly posted meetings.
Ohm also had the committee members engage in a somewhat philosophical “big picture” discussion of what constitutes a community, as well as the rights, duties and privileges of community members. The discussions will gradually shift toward more specific topics and details on Friday and Saturday, as the committee identifies priorities and issues that the action teams will pursue.
Among the committee members is Kelly Stachowicz, the city of Davis’ deputy city manager, who also is the mother of two students in the local schools.
“We’ve got a diverse group of people on the committee with different backgrounds and interests,” Stachowicz said, “but we have a commonality and a desire to make sure that the Davis school district can be the best that it possibly can be.”
Another committee member is Widgen Neagley, a longtime English teacher at Davis High.
“I’m really enthusiastic, and looking forward to getting some work done,” Neagley said. “I was a little daunted when I saw the (three-day) meeting schedule. But I decided to do it because I believe we are embarking on something that is important and necessary. We need to take a close look at everything.”
Davis High School senior Han-ah Sumner is one of two students on the committee.
“I’m taking two days off from class to do this — it is kind of monumental,” she said. “I’m really honored to be a part of the process. I’m hoping we’ll have a clear vision (of the direction the school district should go) when we get to the end.”
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8055. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffHudsonDE