BCS stresses feedback in strategic planning

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Beaufort County Schools is seeking feedback on its strategic planning progress, and school officials have made clear the importance of community input.

The school district began the process of strategic planning at the beginning of this school year, striving to come up with a plan and make goals for the next five years.

The district organized three community forums in mid-September at Northside, Southside and Washington high schools to hear ideas from residents about improvements they would like to see implemented at the schools.

With the help of a former school superintendent, Beaufort County Schools officials were able to create a first draft of the district’s Strategic Plan 2016-2021, and have since posted it online for residents to view.

Don Phipps, superintendent at Beaufort County Schools, said one of the main goals of the whole process is including the community, whether a person is directly involved with the schools or not.

“I want our school system to reflect the community it serves,” he said.

Beaufort County residents are asked to follow a link to a survey once they have reviewed the plan draft, and Phipps said school officials will take the suggestions from the survey seriously.

Officials will try to look for patterns in the feedback to ascertain whether there are any corrections that many people want to see made. The school district will try to align the Strategic Plan with what the community wants, although in some cases, the district’s hands are tied due to state and federal regulations.

Some of the goals listed on the Strategic Plan draft include: 100-percent graduation rate as determined by standard assessments and exit reports; annual increases in teacher effectiveness; matching all state technology systems; and meeting all state and local safety guidelines.

Although the goals may be a tall order to complete by 2021, Phipps said he is confident about pushing Beaufort County Schools to be better and finding cost-efficient ways to do it.

“We want to set the bar high and we want to have high expectations,” he said. “They can’t be tied to expensive measures because you’ve got to work within the means.”

Phipps said he hopes to have another draft by the end of January or February, and school officials will likely present a couple of more drafts to the public, honing the details each time, before the plan is set in stone. The current survey will be available for the next couple of weeks.

“I want Beaufort County to be the best school district in North Carolina, and I think we don’t get there without planning,” he said.

To view the Strategic Plan draft, visit www.beaufort.k12.nc.us, and under the Community tab, select “Strategic Planning.”