by Twyla Heslop
Strategic planning and CEASD Accreditation happen on a five-year cycle. TSD began its new strategic planning cycle and CEASD Accreditation process in Spring of 2010 utilizing a diverse School Community Planning Team which included: TSD Governing Board members and the Superintendent, seven parents, the school’s Executive Leadership Team, principals, support staff and community members. Members were selected to give the team a comprehensive demographic range including gender, ethnicity, organizational affiliation and role.
The School Community Planning Team was led by an outside facilitator, Rita Gibbs, from the Texas Association of School Boards. This was her third time to facilitate our Strategic Planning process. Due to the similarity between the processes for Strategic Planning and CEASD Accreditation, (stakeholder surveys, internal and external assessment, development of mission, vision and beliefs, focus groups, goal-setting and action planning) TSD has traditionally completed both processes simultaneously. This has worked very well for our community.
TSD began the internal and external scanning process, including the administration of AdvancedED Opinion Surveys to parents, teachers, students, community and support staff as well as conducting our Standards Reviews for CEASD Accreditation. Additionally, we administered the Survey of Employee Engagement to give all staff on campus an opportunity to have a voice in our process.
On April 9 and 10 of 2010 the School Community Planning Team met for two days to revise the Mission, Vision and Belief Statements. (Picture of posters) On November 12 and 13 of 2010 the School Community Planning Team met to review the internal and external analysis, student performance data, results of the AdvancedED opinion surveys, and the Survey of Employment Engagement. The results of this two-day meeting were the identification of six critical issues that TSD needed to address in the next five years. Those six critical issues were:
- Optimize Resources
- Changing Demographics/Diversity
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Healthy and Safe Climate
- Outreach Expansion
Beginning in December of 2010, TSD assigned each critical issue to a Strategic Goal Team (SGT) and selected co-chairs for each team. On December 17, 2010, the SGT Chairs received training on developing strategic goals and identifying “big ideas” (major programs/objectives) for achieving those goals. The SGT Chairs were asked to choose their membership, craft a completed goal statement, research best practices related to that goal statement, apply information gathered from in the internal/external assessments, and develop a final report. On April 30, 2011, the SGT Chairs made their final presentations to the Board, who unanimously approved them as written.
A New Strategic Plan Emerges
Following the approval of the SGT reports by the Governing Board, the SGT Chairs met with the Superintendent and identified strategic objectives that would lead to the achievement of the strategic goals in the next five years. That work was finalized and published in early August of 2011 as the “Children First” Strategic Plan for 2011-2016. (picture of plan) The plan provides our TSD community a roadmap for the next five years and reaffirms our core values and beliefs, refines our mission, determines a bold new vision and ultimately result in five strategic goals and objectives for ensuring ongoing excellence in our school.
During July and August of 2011, the SGT Chairs and the Principals developed the District Improvement Plan (DIP). The District Improvement Plan for 2011-2012 is a series of Action Plans detailing our Year One commitment to the implementation of our Strategic Plan. The DIP is monitored at various school leadership meetings, and progress is reported monthly to our District Advisory Committee in accordance with state rules and Board policy on site-based decision making.
TSD and the CEASD Accreditation Process
Early in the process of self-study and strategic planning TSD conducted a self-assessment using the 12 CEASD Standards: Philosophy/Mission, Governance and Leadership, School Improvement Planning, Finances, Facilities, School Climate and Organization, Health and Safety, Educational Programs and Outreach, Assessment and evidence of Learning, Student Services, Student Life and Student Activities, and Information Resources and Technology. One or two staff members were selected to coordinate each Standard assessment. To do this some used email surveys, some held meetings, and others used focus groups to assign a rating of 1-5 to each Standard. The data collected from the Standards review was included TSD’s internal analysis provided to the SCPT in November 2010. In the fall of 2011, we re-visited our CEASD Standards self-assessments. It had been over a year since we first discussed and analyzed them and we realized that many things had improved in the past eighteen months.
Identify, Collect and Organize Relevant Data in the Self Study
Our TSD self-study chronicles all the events, processes, data and planning that occur during the year and half long process of review. Since the opening of the 2011-12 school year, TSD has been fine-tuning and organizing our Self-Study. We have posted all the work from our process on the TSD website in an effort to keep the entire community involved. We have also held two Town Hall meetings on Accreditation to review our progress and help our community plan for the upcoming site-visit. We have also continued the involvement of our Governing Board by reviewing our progress at each Board meeting.
Obtaining Outside Assistance from the Visiting Team
On October 30, 2011, we welcomed the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) Visiting Team.
Members of the team were: Edward Bosso, Vice President, Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center; Clark Brooke, Middle School Principal, California School for the Deaf Fremont; Joseph P. Finnegan, Jr., Executive Director, CEASD; Joan M. Forney, Retired Superintendent, Illinois School for the Deaf; and David Geeslin, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Indiana School for the Deaf. The role of the CEASD Visiting Team is:
- To assess the adequacy of the School’s CEASD Self-Study
- To assess the school’s compliance with CEASD Standards
- To Identify specific strengths in the school’s programs and procedures which are deserving of commendations
- To develop recommendations which may help to strengthen the programs for continuing school improvement
- To develop a brief exit report to be shared with the school community
- To prepare a written report to submit to the CEASD Board and the School
On, November 2, 2011, the CEASD Visiting Team provided an exit report to the school community in the TSD Auditorium. The recommendation by the team to the CEASD Board of Directors is FULL ACCREDITATION. We will receive a final report in 6 – 8 weeks.
This comprehensive process of strategic planning and CEASD Accreditation is the result of numerous people’s time, talent, and expertise. A special thanks to the TSD Governing Board, School Community Planning Team members and TASB consultant, Rita Gibbs for the added value they brought to the process. The Strategic Goal Team chairs and members were key to the successful assimilation and integration of the data and critical needs identified in the self-study. Their work was the foundation of the new Strategic Plan “Children First” and the District Improvement Action Plans. A sincere thank you to the parents, students, staff and community members who participated in all the surveys and made their opinions known to the various planning teams. Last but not least are the CEASD Internal Coordination Team of Claire Bugen, Russell O. West and Twyla Heslop.
http://www.tsd.state.tx.us/strategic_plan/ Source: Strategic Planning Website