By Jef Rietsma
Three years and a pandemic later, Vicksburg Community Schools is finally putting together a five-year strategic plan.
Superintendent Keevin O’Neill said establishing the plan was a high priority when he became superintendent in 2017. Not long after, the world was turned upside down.
“We started the initial planning in 2019, started putting some pieces into place and then COVID hit,” he said. “We kept putting it on the back burner because we felt, with the divide that happened with COVID, we just wouldn’t get the rich data that we wanted and needed.”
The online survey went out to staff and parents September 27 and closed October 2. Student surveys were given over several days. O’Neill said the survey is the first phase of the process.
O’Neill said “We wanted as much input from all our stakeholder groups as possible, honest input; good, bad and ugly. It’s all anonymous and the company we hired to do this does very good work. We wanted to make sure it was done independently of the district so we can get (candid) data.”
Data collection is being done by a Troy-based company, Emicity Market Research.
Once all data is collected, another company, Hulings and Associates, will step in and handle the second and third phases. Ultimately, the strategic plan will establish the district’s priorities based on what the community provides as feedback.
“We are excited to involve all VCS stakeholders in the process of developing a five-year strategic plan that will set our district priorities, establish agreements around intended academic outcomes and ensure continued innovation in teaching and learning,” O’Neill said, “to get to a point that will hopefully take Vicksburg Community Schools to the next level with more of a collaborative effort of everyone, which wasn’t possible the last three years, for sure.”
O’Neill emphasized the significance of having as much participation in the survey as possible. He said the results will help the district hear voices of all its stakeholders. “But the strategic plan is only as strong as the input we receive.”
Once adopted, the proposed plan is expected to cover a period ending in 2028.
By Jef Rietsma