New strategic plan continues focus on students and improvement
September 14, 2023
The beginning of this school year also brings new goals and areas of improvement for the Fairview Park City School District.
In August of 2023, the Board of Education approved the district’s new strategic plan, which had been in development since November 2022.
“A strategic plan is all about continuous improvement,” Superintendent Keith Ahearn explained. “When you have a plan that sets out measurable goals, it focuses the work that you do as a district at continuous improvement. A strategic plan, if it’s done well, should reflect a shared vision for all of the stakeholders in the district.”
The new strategic plan recently approved by the Board of Education focuses on six areas: academic achievement and technology, communication, safety and security, climate and culture, career exploration and development, and facilities, finance and resource management. These six focus areas were created with direct input from school district stakeholders, including staff, parents, and the community.
“Part of the process of getting input from stakeholders is to align all of the district initiatives that we have and to place them in categories of where they fit in the six focus areas,” Ahearn explained.
“Teachers can sometimes get frustrated when district initiatives are not connected to goals that they themselves have in the classroom,” Ahearn added. “So part of the real work of creating that shared vision is helping people understand what district initiatives we are investing in and how those district initiatives are connected to the focus areas.”
The development of the six focus areas is directly related to the work of John Tanner and bravEd. In his work, Tanner encourages school districts to focus on accountability and the organization's value to its community.
“Tanner’s work really helped me guide the stakeholder meetings and the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis,” Ahearn added. “I was able to ask stakeholders, in simple terms, what were their hopes and dreams. He also really focuses on ensuring the benefits we provide are described in clear terms that are easily accessible to all stakeholders.”
Over the next few weeks and months, Fairview Park staff will review the strategic plan and offer input and potential changes. Later in September, the Board will reapprove the strategic plan with the updates. Then, every six months, Ahearn will revisit the plan with the Board of Education to provide updates on how initiatives and current programs are helping students achieve even better outcomes.
“Student success is not a moment; it’s a movement of many connected pieces that help students grow and be successful,” Ahearn said. “Our organization cannot focus on momentary goals and achieving them at a baseline bar. A strategic plan should focus our energy to make sure we make movement continuously to positively impact the student environment. Every kid walks through our door with unique needs, unique motivations, passions, and a different way they are engaged. We as an organization must constantly focus on personalizing the learning for those kids who walk in.”