The Oregon school board, as part of its Strategic Plan update, is asking the public to fill out an online survey to help determine the areas the district will focus on for the next three years.
Public input will inform and influence the strategic planning process. The public is encouraged to provide “honest thoughts” about the most critical issues the district must address in the next few years.
The first stage of strategic planning is to survey the district’s stakeholders, defined as any person that has attended (current students and alumni) or worked (teachers and staff) in Oregon schools, is the parent of a student in Oregon schools, lives in the Oregon community, is a business owner in Oregon or is a community leader in Oregon. The board believes its stakeholders are important to the district’s past, present and future and that they should have the opportunity to express their opinion in the development of the strategic plan update, according to Superintendent Lonny Rivera.
Among the survey questions:
• Suppose Oregon City Schools were graded like students in our district. Based on your impressions and experiences, what would you say the district’s overall grade should be?
• What do you like most about Oregon City Schools?”
• What should Oregon City Schools focus on to provide a better student experience in each of the following areas: Academics, Arts, Athletics?
• What frustrates you most about Oregon City Schools?
•What is your view of the current Oregon City Schools?
To access the survey, log on to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OCS_External_Stakeholder_Survey
All surveys must be completed no later than May 16, 2014.
The district and the Oregon Schools Foundation in March hired Aly Sterling Philanthropy, LLC to facilitate the update. Aly Sterling Philanthropy is a full-service fundraising and board governance firm, specializing in building sustainable fundraising and board governance solutions for nonprofits. Strategic planning is a core part of their service. Sara Best, a director with Aly Sterling, is developing the strategic focus for the next couple years.
“They helped put together the survey for us, and they will also help us make sense of the data when it all comes in - find trends and make sense of what’s there,” Rivera told The Press last Tuesday. “They also will lead the group discussions from the stake holders that will be at our meeting in June. We will know what the stakeholders are saying, and discuss what we can do to go to the next level, to readjust where we spend our time and energy and finances. We’ll look to the private sector to fill the needs, and plan on getting alumni and business – anyone who has a vested interest in the district – to assist us in doing more than we could doing. We’re going to have a public release of the information once it’s put together.”
The district will look to the Oregon Schools Foundation to help raise funds, he added. The Foundation is a non-profit group that serves as a catalyst to bring local businesses and the community together to increase educational opportunities for Oregon students. Through an established endowment fund from donations, the Foundation provides grants as well as community resources to support programs to enhance the educational experiences in the district.
“More and more, public schools are looking towards their foundations to do the extras, and to help supplement funding because it is decreasing at a very quick rate. We have a number of alumni who have done well, but once they leave us, we don’t do what the universities or even private schools do – and that is, stay in contact with them and offer them opportunities to give back,” said Rivera.
“My long term vision is to have the foundation supplement funding for all the extra things the kids love to do that are fun but cost money, such as the arts and athletics,” he said. “Anything we can do to take those things off the taxpayer dollar so we would then only be relying on the public money for academic programming we do at school. It’s going to take a while to get there. I want to give all the amenities we can, but ease what the taxpayer has to pay, too.”
A collaborative team representing school administration & staff, board of education, business owners, community leaders, alumni, parents and students has been formed as part of the update process.
Survey responses will be anonymous, unless the public opts to share their identity. Survey findings will be shared in summary at an upcoming Strategic Planning session.