Five-year strategic plan approved for New Hartford schools
NEW HARTFORD — The New Hartford Central School District Board of Education approved its five-year Strategic Plan, the culmination of a months-long process of gathering and examining feedback from the district’s stakeholders.
At a Tuesday, Feb. 28 meeting, the board unanimously approved the plan upon Superintendent of Schools Cosimo Tangorra’s recommendation. According to the plan, “A school district with a strategic plan has a roadmap to guide its school board and administration in making decisions that align with the priorities identified by the district’s many stakeholders.”
The 2023–28 strategic plan contains four priority areas: academics, communication and collaboration, facilities, and school environment and connections.
Under each priority area, there are initiatives that make up a framework to guide the district’s decision making.
In academics, the initiatives are to provide an equity-based educational structure that meets every student’s needs, provide learning opportunities for the district’s educators and to provide challenging and up-to-date curriculum that meets New York’s learning standards.
In communication and collaboration, the initiatives are to be the first and best source of information about the school district while providing opportunities for two-way communication between the district and community, creating and fostering transparency and trust between the district and its stakeholders, and giving staff members learning opportunities so they can grow their communication skills.
In facilities, the initiatives are to improve the district’s safety features and facility security, carry out a long-term capital plan to improve facilities and replace buses, integrate enhancements to energy performance into maintenance of facilities, and to implement technology advancements.
In school environment and connections, the initiatives are to conduct annual student surveys to understand the school climate, to increase average daily attendance in schools, provide an equity-based education system that bolsters students’ voices, and increase the percentage of students enrolled in Career and Technical Education and STEM classes.
Development of the plan began in 2022, with Larry Gilroy of Gilroy Kernan & Gilroy, and Randall VanWagoner, president of Mohawk Valley Community College, working as facilitators.
Throughout September and November 2022, the district gathered feedback from students, staff, teachers, parents and community members through ThoughtExchange, a digital data-gathering platform.
“Every presentation from here on out will begin with a review of the strategic plan and quite frankly, I would expect all our stakeholders to hold us accountable,” Tangorra said, “Like, what are we doing and is it aligned with the strategic plan and if it isn’t, why are we doing it is a great question to ask us. It’s going to be our North star for the next [five] years.”
Toward the end of the meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss the employment history of a particular person or people in the district. Before the board voted to go into executive session, in reference to its duration, Tangorra said, “I do want to give the board a heads-up, it could be a long one.
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