WESTFIELD — As the Westfield Board of Education prepares for its upcoming election in April, representatives from across the district are working to solidify a new strategic plan that will help to guide students, parents, faculty and staff through the next five years.
The process began last year with a series of in-person stakeholder discussions — one for teachers and staff, one for parents, guardians and community members, and a third for students in grades 9 to 12.
Attendees were asked to identify essential skills that they would like to see students graduate with going forward. Teachers and staff listed flexibility, adaptability, problem solving, communication and resilience among their top priorities. Parents and students shared similar ideas and identified critical thinking, independence and confidence as other potential areas for growth.
The stakeholder feedback, representatives from the district said, coupled with data collected through state-mandated testing and other comparable sources, helped to provide the foundation for a series of strategic-planning sessions designed to shape an ultimate list of goals and objectives for the district.
The sessions, facilitated by TMI Education (The Madison Institute), are attended by a council of representatives chosen from various sectors of the school community.
According to information provided by the district, the BOE approved TMI as a consultant to facilitate the strategic-planning process at a cost of $2,500 per session or $17,500 for the seven-session program, plus $2,500 for each additional session (seven sessions have now been completed and three more have been scheduled).
“Each president of the district’s collective bargaining units (administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries and custodians) was asked to identify employees willing to serve on the Strategic Planning Council,” Superintendent Raymond González, Ed.D., said.
All eight members of the board of education were also invited to participate.
Council members were initially assigned to subcommittees — Safety and Wellness, Teaching and Learning, Leadership and Governance, Community and Culture, Finance and Facilities — but, Dr. González said, were allowed to move to a different subcommittee, if desired.
On Monday, the council met for its seventh session to start to outline key elements of the district’s new vision statement.
The council listed diversity, inclusion, mental health awareness and support, new programming opportunities both in the classroom and out in the community and student wellness and safety as possible areas for consideration.
“We expect the Strategic Plan for 2023-2028 to be completed this Spring, with action plans developed into the summer and implementation to begin this September and integrated over the next five years,” Dr. González said.
“We look forward to creating a Strategic Plan that clearly defines the district’s priorities and vision for ensuring the continued success of all of our students.”
The public is welcome to attend all remaining strategic-planning sessions and to voice their opinions to the council.