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Mt. Diablo board starts strategic planning

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, March 28th, 2011 at 4:47 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

The Mt. Diablo school board wants to know what you’d like to see in its strategic plan, which is intended to guide the district in a cohesive direction.

Here’s the draft trustees will review Tuesday night:

“MDUSD Strategic Plan



Student learning for all students/educational excellence for all students

‘Our responsibility is to prepare every student for success in college, career, and life.’ (Antioch USD)

MDUSD students will graduate as responsible citizens prepared to succeed in the college or career of their choice.




– Focus on learning and children
– Excellence
– Integrity
– Respect
– Collaboration
– Safety

We will always…
– Make decisions based on the best interests of the students,
– Elevate communication to a level that is inclusive and instills trust,
– Behave in an ethical, respectful, responsive manner,
– Seek out reform, innovation, and partnerships to bring academic excellence to our students,
– Recruit and retain the most effective, highly qualified staff available.

Strategic Initiatives

1. Academic Excellence and Learning

MDUSD will provide a rigorous, relevant, and engaging educational experience to all students. MDUSD will seek out reform and innovation to ensure academic excellence.

MDUSD understands that increasing student achievement is a team effort, one that requires a systemic and sustained approach to school improvement and reform. Student success is dependent upon parent, teacher, administrator, support staff, and school success.

Goals/Specific Results

1.1 Provide curricula that reflects high expectations and alignment to content standards.

1.2 Ensure focus, consistency, and alignment of our curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessments.

1.3 Improve the content, quality, and use of assessments and ensure that data from these assessments drives instruction.

1.4 Provide, support, and monitor instruction based on identified best practices.

1.5 Examine the district’s curricula to ensure career and/or college-ready rigor at each grade level.

1.6 Implement programs that support 21st century skills, including collaboration, innovation, critical thinking, and communication.

1.7 Provide and meet program improvement requirements and support for academically under-performing schools.

1.8 Expand autonomy and empowerment for high performing schools.

1.9 Support struggling learners by targeted preventions, interventions, resources, and professional development.

1.10 Increase the use of technology in the teaching and learning process.

1.11 Ensure that the English Language Learner program is responsive to the needs of students and implemented, supported, monitored, and assessed based on student learning and a master plan.

1.12 Examine Special Education programs, services, and delivery to ensure high expectations in the least restrictive environment.

1.13 Establish clear parameters for allocation of Special Education staff and resources.

1.14 Ensure successful transition and articulation among elementary, middle, and high school levels.

1.15 Seek innovative community and business partnerships to expand programs and pathways in schools to enhance rigorous, relevant academic opportunities.

2. Supportive Family and Community Involvement

MDUSD will actively build strong relationships with students, families, and the community to increase trust, shared responsibility, and a positive perception of our district.

MDUSD will use multiple methods of communication and engagement to reach all stakeholders and increase opportunities for meaningful community input and participation to advance student achievement and learning in all subject areas.

Goals/Specific Results

2.1 Use multiple, regular methods of communication and engagement to reach all stakeholders.

2.2 Ensure that our communications are honest, accurate, thorough, and accessible to the public.

2.3 Increase opportunities for meaningful community input and participation.

2.4 Cultivate community, business, and higher education partnerships that advance student achievement in all subject areas.

2.5 Increase collaboration with cities, businesses, and the community to build a community that supports and values education.

2.6 Achieve a positive perception of MDUSD among parents and community members and ensure that parents consider MDUSD a “preferred place” to meet their educational needs.

2.7 Engage and involve parents in their children’s education to create shared responsibilities for student success.

3 High Quality, Effective Staff

The key to MDUSD success is its people, and MDUSD will recruit, develop, support, and retain the most talented staff.

Goals/Specific Results

3.1 Ensure that every classroom has a high-quality, effective educator.

3.2 Provide support through high-quality, effective administrators and support staff.

3.3 Ensure that our staff has the skills and capacity to achieve our mission.

3.4 Increase the retention rate of high-performing teachers, administrators, and support staff.

3.5 Increase leadership opportunities for staff.

3.6 Provide targeted professional development that supports the Strategic Plan.

3.7 Build staff morale and efficacy.

4 Respectful, Responsive Service and Communication

MDUSD district and site staff will be responsive and respectful while providing outstanding service to co-workers, students, parents, and community members.

District and site staff will proactively seek opportunities to improve communication and customer service. Every person who interacts with MDUSD should be treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy.

Goals/Specific Results

4.1 Assess, adopt, and improve practices that encourage respectful, responsive customer service.

4.2 Improve communication, both internally and externally, ensuring that community members, parents, students, and employees receive information, responses to inquiries, and services in a timely, efficient manner.

4.3 Improve employee morale by strengthening internal communications.

4.4 Ensure that employees consider MDUSD a ‘preferred place’ (culture and climate) to work.

4.5 Ensure that parents consider MDUSD a ‘preferred place’ to meet their educational needs.

4.6 Diligently monitor and report progress on strategic plan initiatives to gain trust, promote dialogue, and determine success.

4.7 Increase the use of technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of communication throughout the organization.

5 Optimal Operations and Infrastructure

MDUSD will implement sound fiscal and human resource policies that maximize resources, generate revenue, provide accountability, and accomplish educational priorities within a balanced budget framework.

If students are going to achieve excellence, all school and district operations must be excellent as well. Alignment across the district is critical so MDUSD will clearly align its fiscal and human resources to focus on achieving educational excellence. MDUSD will work in partnership with employees, parents, and the community to be a results-oriented district that involves all school, departments, and community groups.

Goals/Specific Results

5.1 Transform MDUSD into a high-performing, results-oriented organization that involves all schools, departments, and community groups.

5.2 Align district-wide initiatives, district and site plans, and expenditures to the MDUSD Strategic Plan and Board goals and policies.

5.3 Ensure that our facilities and infrastructure support and enhance student learning.

5.4 Place priority on educational needs and programs when making fiscal decisions.

5.5 Develop comprehensive short-term and long-term plans that proactively anticipate and address enrollment trends (e.g., decline and/or growth in enrollment, attendance boundary adjustments, possible school closure or repurposing, capacity needs, facilities issues, fiscal impact).

5.6 Ensure fiscal stability and accountability through effective stewardship of financial assets, community funding sources, and other activities to improve district resources and build public trust.

5.7 Enhance the support for and integration of instructional technology

1) Stakeholder Input Sessions
2) Plan Revision and Finalization
3) Implementation Strategies/Action Plans/SMART Goals with Monitoring and Accountability

Vision (from the MDUSD web site)
Mt. Diablo Unified School District is to be a district in which all students, staff, and community:
– treat each other with dignity and respect
– respect cultural, racial, and economic diversity
– assume responsibility for the educational and individual needs of students
– support each other in achieving meaningful outcomes to enable individuals to experience success
– use technology to access, manage, and communicate information
– collaborate to achieve mutual goals
– encourage students to become responsible citizens in a democratic society

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District is to be a district in which all schools:
– provide effective instruction as the focus of all activity
– provide a safe, secure, nurturing, and stimulating learning environment
– arrange time and space around the needs of the student
– are recognized and supported for their individuality and culture
– support students in achieving meaningful outcomes to prepare them to be successful adults.”

What do you think of the plan? Are there items not included that you would like to see added? Do you think it’s achievable?

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63 Responses to “Mt. Diablo board starts strategic planning”

  1. MrBudget Says:

    Really watch at the next board meeting. Watch the body language. Watch how items are presented. Listen to Cheryl’s many responses and questions. Ask how Cheryl has behaved at community meetings such as Measure C.

  2. Linda Says:

    I attended the last Measure C meeting. I attended the retreat. I have watched the Board meetings. I see her as a new Board member who ran for the office because she was concerned. I think she asks good questions. She is being accountable to the community by asking these questions and requesting specific information. As a community member I appreciate that.

    I would like to pose this scenario –
    Let’s say you are unhappy with our District leadership and decide to run for school board. Do you assimilate into the existing Board and go along with the kinds of decisions that caused you to run in the first place or do you ask the hard questions? I have not seen her refuse to work as a team, the very fact that she and Sherry worked on the strategic plan would substantiate that.

    What did you think of Linda Mayo’s questioning during the strategic planning discussion the other night? She asked questions that could be considered negative from certain perspectives. At the March 8 meeting I would have told you that Gary’s behavior toward Cheryl was condescending at best. He made the comment, “if you had spoken to staff, you would not have put this on the agenda.” How would you like your co-worker to speak to you (in public) like that?

    I am glad that at the last meeting the Board seemed more cohesive but I would never want that at the expense of making changes that could make MDUSD a better district.

    I’ll keep watching but right now it just seems like feathers are being ruffled.

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Eberhart appeared to chastise Hansen for not speaking to the superintendent regarding her “surprise” about the recommendation to offer Glenbrook to the Flex Academy. However, if the staff report had clearly spelled out why the offer was made, Hansen wouldn’t have had to ask staff. And if board members get “insider” information from staff about why decisions are being made before the meeting, the public is left in the dark. I appreciated the fact that Eberhart asked staff to explain the decision after Hansen questioned it.

    Also, Mayo softly criticized Eberhart when he asked staff to include check marks next to items completed in the School Closure Transition Plan. “Micromanaging,” Mayo said quietly. Eberhart responded: “It’s not micromanaging. I have to do this.”

  4. Doctor J Says:

    It is pretty clear that Lawrence is not communicating to ALL board members in unison. Lawrence is attempting to divide and conquer to protect his own skin. Disgusting.

  5. anonamom Says:

    I am bothered that the decision to deny use of all three of the schools that Flex had requested, but offer Glenbrook for Flex was supposedly due to the fact that he didn’t want High School kids coming and going on a campus with younger kids, but seemed to see no conflict of ideas when suggesting it would be ok for Flex students to share a campus, and come and go with “special” school kids.

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Fields and a science lab were also cited. However, the Superintendent’s Council pointed out that Ygnacio Valley HS has declining enrollment and so much underutilized space that it recommended relocating Oak Grove MS to the site and creating a 6-12 campus. It has ample field and science lab space. Also, Deb Cooksey said the district decided against “Pleasant Valley” because there was already an alternative education program on the site. Perhaps she meant Pleasant Hill Middle School, which houses the Prospect small necessary high school. In that case, there was no clear rationale presented for denying Flex the use of Ygnacio Valley HS. The Flex operator told me he originally wanted to locate in an area near the Shadelands Business Park because it is centrally located. Glenbrook, on the other hand, is on the outskirts of the district.

    Regarding communications, the board retreat facilitator said that information given to one board member should be given to all board members.

    However, the district also has an obligation to inform the public — as well every trustee — about why it recommends specific actions. Cooksey’s explanation should have been included in the staff report to give the public, as well as the board, the opportunity to review it and comment or raise questions or concerns. The timeframe for the discussions was also missing. If Cooksey was in discussions with Flex regarding Glenbrook by Feb. 22 (three days before the written offer was made), Superintendent Lawrence should have informed the board and the public about this during his Feb. 22 school closure presentation.

  7. anonamom Says:

    I thought “fields” was a pretty lame excuse. “Labs” would make sense, but considering the District denied the Charter application, I doubt highly if they really care if Flex has (or has to build their own) labs. They simply did not want to give anything Flex asked for.

    The argument about the conflict with the Small Schools at Pleasant Hill pretty much falls through, considering Small Schools is what they say they are looking at combining at Glenbrook.

    They really don’t have their ideas well put together enough yet, or have known for a long time what they want to do, but won’t publicly say it yet.

    I can’t help but wonder if they did anything even closely resembling “traffic” studies. All of North Concord as well as the few neighborhood routes they will utilize may become a nightmare at school commute times.

    As to Staff/Lawrence discussing with some Trustees, but not others, could easily be construed as attempted “serial meetings” to gain favor of certain items. They/He may just want to be VERY careful of that. People are watching and keeping score.

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The retreat facilitator said the superintendent is not prevented from speaking to each trustee individually. In fact, he encouraged the superintendent to do that so that everyone would be on the same footing going into the meeting. He said the superintendent should reach out to each trustee to see if they have questions, instead of passively waiting to be contacted by them.

    Trustees may not speak to each other in “serial” meetings, however.

  9. Linda Says:

    Did you get the letter from Flex to the District that you were looking for? If not do you still want it?

  10. anonamom Says:

    Nor is the superintendent allowed to ask them for their opinion on what staff presents as agenda item, as that opinion may tend to be transmitted to the next one he talks to, and that can be construed as attempting to “drive” the direction of a board decision. That in and of itself can be considered a serial meeting.

    With this board, it seems there is all too often some information “sprung” at the last minute, with no chance for input by the public, who might have chosen to attend and speak had they seen all information to be presented.

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Linda, No I didn’t and yes, I do. I also plan to speak to Flex about this.

  12. Linda Says:

    Mark said he would be happy to provide you the letter. I will shoot him an email.

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Thanks! Got it!

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