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Strategic plan presented to Birmingham ed board

By Lisa Brody

A final draft of a new strategic plan emphasizing the core values and goals of the Birmingham Public Schools district was presented to the school board at a special meeting on Tuesday, September 6, and while well received, approval was postponed until their next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 20, so the public can fully review it.

Superintendent Dr. Embekka Roberson said a draft strategic plan had been shared on August 2 and 16, with feedback and criticism synthesized into an updated draft by the district's advisory committee, made up of staff, parents, community members and board members. Initial input had come from input gathered from 14 focus groups of students, parents, staff and community members; over 1,700 community responses; more than 4,700 responses to an equity audit, all assessing academic and behavioral data. The last strategic plan the district undertook was in 2013.

“The core design team was made up of a small group of district and building administrators, and along the way I share the information with you, the board,” Roberson said.

In her presentation, Roberson said the strategic plan focuses on core values of student success; inclusion; community; equity; perseverance; and integrity.

“The vision of the district is 'All students in Birmingham will realize their full potential, think critically, and champion an innovative tomorrow.' Our mission statement is similar to our previous one, 'In partnership with parents and the community, Birmingham Public Schools will provide educational excellence that empowers students to cultivate their individual brilliance and positively impact their world.' By brilliance, we mean that each individual is brilliant in their own way,” she said.

The top priorities of the strategic plan are to strengthen core academic instruction; increase college and career readiness; improve learning communities; create a districtwide system to encourage social and emotional wellness; create equitable access to extracurricular resources and opportunities; increase authentic engagement with students, staff, parents, families, community, and alumni; attract and retain talented and diverse staff; prioritize the social and emotional well-being of staff; provide high-quality professional learning.

In addition, the plan includes a goal to increase enrollment of the district to 8,000 students, and to “Boldly market the district to increase student enrollment.” Roberson said they understand they have to increase financial accountability and balance the budget, and she hopes to generate revenue through viable sources, include expanding early learners and increasing advertising opportunities.”

Once approved by the board, Roberson said they would publish the materials and work with staff to create action steps and strategies, as well as provide the board of education and community with quarterly updates in order to be held accountable to the plan.

“It's a living and breathing document,” she said.

As Roberson had posted the strategic plan that day, the board agreed to postpone a vote on the strategic plan until their next regular board meeting on Tuesday, September 20, in order to allow more of the public to review it.


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