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News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, December 8, 2011
CSD 13 strategic planning process unfolds, community input sought

Deer Isle-Stonington CSD Archive
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by Jessica Brophy

As school board members change, parental interests shift with the ages of children and staff comes and goes over the years, one constant that shapes the direction of the CSD is the strategic plan. It is a document that offers a framework, bringing together budgeting priorities, program development and the management of educational processes.

The CSD is currently updating and re-writing the five-year plan, which determines a set of goals and “action steps to take over the next five years to meet the vision and mission of the schools,” said Superintendent Robert Webster in a recent phone interview.

The process involves several work sessions, including one designed specifically for input from school staff, parents, community members and students on January 9.

The strategic planning committee is made up of 16 people. Three school board members are involved: Mark Cormier, Linda Nelson and Vicki Zelnick. Two teachers, Dennis Saindon from the high school and Shannon Campbell from the elementary school, are also on the committee. Webster and the two principals, Mike Benjamin and Todd West, are on the committee as well. Two students, Abigail Knowlton and Nichole Nolan, are also members. The rest of the members are parents and community members: Jennifer Larrabee, Liz Nevells, Brenda Merritt, Stu Kestenbaum, Suzanne Ruch and Mary Penfold.

At the November 29 meeting, parent Brenda Merritt said she signed on as a community member of the committee because she thinks it’s important to have parental voices in the process. “I’d love to see more parental involvement,” she said. “It’s important to speak about our children’s learning.”

Knowlton, a sophomore at the high school, said she chose to get involved because she feels she had a good experience coming up through school. “I want to provide other students with that as well as add to it,” said Knowlton. She has two younger siblings and hopes their experiences in school will be good as well.

All strategic planning committee meetings are held at the elementary school from 5 to 8 p.m. The strategic planning committee next meets on Wednesday, December 14. On Monday, January 9, the staff and community work session will be held. Though that forum is specifically designed for public participation in the crafting of the strategic plan, all work sessions are open to the public.