Dr. Joey Page: Strategic plan a step to the future

Published 5:34 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

Greetings!  As we move into December, the 12th chapter of this adventure we’re calling 2021, I think everyone can relate to what a challenge the past couple of years have been. With so many unprecedented challenges in our country and community, all of us have been required to do things that we wouldn’t have imagined back when all of this started. When we kicked off the 2021-22 school year in Knowlton Auditorium this August, I asked everyone present how they could create the best possible educational experience for our kids every day this year. This question, which gets to the heart of education, remains our focus even in these challenging times, and is an essential question that will anchor our future district work.   

As I’ve mentioned previously, developing a strategic plan is a big part of ensuring that we work together toward the future we want for our students. Why go through the trouble? As you might imagine, it is a thorough and lengthy process, and it requires a lot of time and work from a lot of people. But the payoff for taking our time now means that we will have greater success pursuing our goals in the future. The process will move at a steady pace for many reasons:

First, change takes time. Our district continues to grow and evolve, and it takes time to ready our system to adapt to change.

Second, we need to have a clear vision of where we’re going. We’re making sure to get input from the community, our staff and teachers, and students. We know results are more impactful when everyone has a stake in what our future holds. Last month the results of the strategic planning survey were shared with the school board. The survey indicated that for students to be successful, they need to develop the ability to use technology, have a safe learning environment, develop strong communication skills, and have access to mental health services and personalized learning experiences that provide them the ability to engage in and with a multicultural world.

Third, meeting our goals means having a clear plan. When we have compiled all the information we can get, we’ll develop a strategic plan that will guide us toward our goals for APS.  In another component of the survey, over a thousand survey respondents provided pieces of advice for me as the new superintendent. The highest percentages included being transparent about the district’s data and decision-making progress, being willing to listen to various opinions, taking a position and owning the final decision, making decisions with a “whole-student”/ “student first” mindset, and being accessible and approachable.

As we plan our path for the next chapter at Austin Public Schools, we are working hard to gather as much information as we can from staff, students, parents, and the Austin community.  We can only move into a successful future if we make sure to engage all stakeholders in the planning process, and we’re excited to see where it leads.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions – I’m always happy to keep you updated throughout the process!