"Organizations that have a good plan," said Donald Cardarelli, assistant professor in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, "involve their internal staff, their employees, and their customers, or in this case it would be the parents and the students. Somehow you have to have a process that gets input from all of those parties and gets their perspectives."
The district held the Community Caf (c)s, hosted in September, with both student and adult stakeholders, in addition to an electronic survey posted on the ES-M web site. On top of that, DeSiato said ES-M is conducting focus groups with various sections of the district's population. The focus groups are being run by Strategic Communications LLC, a public relations firm based in Syracuse. There are four specific demographics being targeted: ES-M parents, residents without children in ES-M, business and government leaders who ES-M has a relationship with and business leaders who ES-M is trying to establish a relationship with.
All together, DeSiato expects there will be anywhere from 800 to over 1,000 responders from the community. This will give the CORE planning team the information they need to accurately define ES-M's goals and start analyzing its strengths and weaknesses.
"Part of the CORE planning team is to develop, identify and to reaffirm," DeSiato said. "Because we have a set of beliefs, to either reaffirm or to reexamine our set of beliefs and what we value as a school system and our mission and our vision. And then to actually establish priorities and goals and to determine the benchmarks that we will want in achieving those goals so that we know when we have gotten there."
Why community involvement?
From the beginning of the strategic planning process, ES-M has wanted to make sure it included the community. Community involvement is something ES-M takes seriously.