School board updates district’s strategic planning process

Published 10:28 am Tuesday, February 25, 2014

As Austin Public Schools nears the end of its strategic roadmap, the district’s school board is looking ahead to the next few years.

The Austin Public Schools board met for almost four hours Monday to piece together an update to its Vision 2015 strategic roadmap, the guiding principles through which Austin schools improves education and makes decisions.

The move comes at a good time for board members and administrators, as Austin schools recently went through the Baldrige Program, designed to point out strengths and deficiencies within school districts and other organizations. Baldrige, the district’s own strategic planning process and upcoming state reporting mandates mean slight retooling for its administration.

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“This is potentially one of the most important things a board does, is set the strategic direction of the district,” said Educational Services Director John Alberts.

The board identified its strengths and weaknesses, as well as reviewed data like high school graduation rates and ACT scores, to find other issues it can address from a district-wide perspective. That included writing an intention to make decision based on measurable data, as well as a potentially new focus on wellness spurred by an increase in mental health issues among Austin students and their families that carry into schools.

“That’s one issue we’ve seen popping up over the past few years,” Alberts said.

Administrators will take the board’s wishes and craft them into the district’s strategic roadmap, which will be presented for board approval later this year. The roadmap won’t be a five-year process anymore, as the board wished to shorten its goals to a three-year time period to better reflect district changes. In addition, Alberts said the board will make this strategic planning process part of an annual review of the district now mandated by the state.