Equity, strong community relationships and a safe, welcoming environment were main focuses of the Carroll County Public Schools’ strategic plan draft, a document the school board and new superintendent worked through for the first time together.
“I believe that we are right on target as it relates to the pillars,” Steven Lockard, CCPS superintendent, told the Board of Education Wednesday evening. Lockard began his tenure as superintendent one month ago.
Lockard spent about an hour going through the four pillars of the plan, which carry the system from 2018 through 2023. The plan describes building the learner, community, workforce and environment. The first pillar is to provide multiple pathway opportunities for student success; the second pillar is to strengthen productive family and community partnerships; the third pillar is to develop and support a successful workforce; and the fourth pillar is to establish safe, secure, healthy and modern learning environments.
For each of the pillars, the board has spent months creating objectives and measures of success. Lockard said after reviewing the last months of work and working with CCPS staff, the draft he brought forward Wednesday offered focus and prioritized goals.
“Here I’m bringing to you some of that structure I think that we can use to move the system forward,” he said.
Prioritizing doesn’t mean other areas aren’t important, Lockard cautioned. Prioritizing just means CCPS can stay focused on achieving its goals, he said, a statement with which BOE Vice President Donna Sivigny agreed.
“If you prioritize everything, you effectively prioritize nothing,” she said.
Lockard also emphasized how important it will be to regularly review and update the strategic plan, and not just look it over once a year.
“We need to be nimble and we need to be able to be responsive for the needs of our system,” he said.
BOE President Bob Lord echoed that sentiment, and said many times the board has agreed that the strategic plan needs to be a “living document.”
Lockard said moving forward, once the strategic plan is in place, the school board should be working to connect all it does to one of the focus areas in the plan. The best strategic plans he has seen have incorporated the strategic plan into the work of the system, he added.
And, Lockard said, it’s important for CCPS to not just comply with the plan, but rather have ownership of and commitment to it.
“There’s a big difference there. I can comply to something because I have to do it. I commit to something because I want to do it,” he said.
Members of the school board were pleased with Lockard’s draft, and thanked him for consolidating their months and months of work.
“I am so incredibly grateful and impressed at how … you really encapsulated the priorities of this board and this community and this school system,” member Devon Rothschild said.
Both Lord and member Virginia Harrison also praised the work.
Sivigny said this type of document creates accountability, and that accountability can be energizing.
“I feel like this is a vision and I’m very excited about it,” she said.