Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Strategic Planning in Bethlehem Township Public Schools!

What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning is an organizational management activity used to set priorities, focus energy and resources to ensure that our staff and stakeholders are working toward common goals.  The process builds consensus around intended outcomes/results, and assesses and adjusts our direction in response to a changing educational environment. It is an effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide our school district to best serve our students with a focus on the future.  Effective strategic planning articulates not only where we are going and the actions needed to make progress, but also how we will know it is successful.

Last  night was our kickoff to our Strategic Planning meeting! 

Below are the notes and outcomes from that working meeting--

Please put February 26th on your calendar and come out to participate in charting the future of our schools!

February 26, 2018 Meeting #2
Registration at 6:30 p.m., Meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Dream - Outcome:  Creating a Common Vision

March 19, 2018 Meeting #3
Registration at 6:30 p.m., Meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Design the District’s Destiny - Outcome:  Goals and Objectives

Creating a Strategic Plan for the
Bethlehem Township School District

Session 1 of 3

 What Are the Strengths, Achievements, and Challenges of the Bethlehem Township School District?

On January 30, 2018, Bethlehem Township School District administration, Board of Education members, staff, parents and community members came together to initiate strategic planning. The first evening’s topic was focused on the strengths, achievements, and challenges of the Bethlehem School District.  The meeting began with a welcome and introductions by Board of Education President, Kimberly Solino, and Dr. Gregory Farley, Superintendent, presented an excellent overview of the current “state of the schools.” Mayor Paul Muir,and the Teacher’s Association President also greeted the attendees. Gwen Thornton, assisted by Maryann Friedman New Jersey School Boards representatives, reviewed the strategic planning process the group would be undertaking.

Twenty-one (21) participants then gathered in randomly assigned groups to identify the strengths/achievements and challenges of the Bethlehem Township School District through brainstorming and the sharing of ideas.  After discussion, each group came to a consensus of its top 10 strengths / achievements and top 10 challenges and presented those to all meeting participants.

The information that follows is a summary of the work of the small groups. As discussed with the meeting participants, all consensus points are recorded and posted on the district’s website to share the work of the groups during the course of the strategic planning process.

Group Consensus
Strengths / Accomplishments and Challenges

Green Dot Team
Strengths / Accomplishments (Top Ten)
Caring competent staff
Character education
Broad array of activities (sports, clubs)
District size – student centered, strong school / community relationships
L-E-A-D program
Strong curriculum – state of art programming
Technology integration

Challenges (Top Ten)
No community – social “center”
Dual income family financially necessary
Concern for children’s opportunity for exposure to negative influences
Declining enrollment is it a natural cycle that will turn?
Maintain independent status for district operations
Staffing impact
Programming upgrade costs

Red Dot Team:
Strengths / Accomplishments (Top Ten)
Student / teacher ratio
Quality of education
After-school activities
Water fountains
Lunch food options

Enrollment ($)
Discipline (inconsistent)
Communication (Conley)
Athletic fields
Time for lunch
Orientation into Hoppock
Homework – inconsistent
Same grades have different homework
Parent / Teacher Conferences

Blue Dot Team 
Strengths / Accomplishments (Top 10)
Current ranking and competitive strength as a district
Full-day Kindergarten
Activities / Sports
Summer camps
Flex hours
1-1 tech
Food services
Quality teachers

Challenges (Top 10) 
Declining enrollment
Special ed program maintaining
Staff health care costs
Safety Unfunded mandates
Attracting families
Maintaining programming
Staying up with the latest IT / tech

Following each group reporting out on their consensus points, the following common themes emerged from multiple groups:

Size = strength and challenge
Quality staff
Ed program and technology
Clubs & sports
Facilities = strength and challenge
Safety & security
IT & tech = strength and challenge
Quality of education
Special education $$

The second strategic planning session is scheduled for:

Monday, February 26, 2018 from 7:00 – 8:30 PM – 

Meetings are scheduled for 1.5 hours. Meetings start and end promptly.

During the February 26th   meeting we will create a shared vision together for the future of the Bethlehem Township School District . . . we will talk about our aspirations and expectations for our students and school district.

We look forward to seeing you!