PONDERAY — Of the 18,057 mailers sent out to postal customers and businesses, inviting community members to the Lake Pend Oreille School District’s stakeholder engagement meetings, only 15 people attended the first meeting.
However, there are still plenty of chances for people to give their input on what the priorities should be for the district over the next five years.
"We are genuinely interested in receiving input," said LPOSD Superintendent Shawn Woodward. "The very best way that we can create a powerful plan is to have community members and stakeholders give input and care about the direction that we’re going."
Of the 15 who attended, six were staff members and three were LPOSD board members. Five of the 13 strategic planning committee members were in attendance.
The strategic planning process began in October in an effort to drive future decisions by outlining needs and goals over the short- and long-term. The ultimate goal is to develop five or six priorities to improve student learning throughout the district. The first step was to develop the strategic planning committee.
"Their responsibility is just taking all of the information and making sense of it, developing a draft plan," Woodward said.
That information, however, needs to come from the community, Woodward said.
The participants at Wednesday’s stakeholder meeting, held at the Ponderay Events Center, were split up into three groups and each group answered three questions: What are the things the district and the schools are doing well? What are some of the challenges that require district attention — short or long term? What are the biggest priorities over the next five years?
For the first question, what the district is doing well, answers varied from qualified and caring staff, resources for students, expanding programs, the Home School Academy, career-technical education, experiential learning and STEAM programs, extracurricular programs and more.
Retaining qualified staff, state funding, the need for more electives in the schools, parent and community involvement, keeping up with technology, lack of elementary school counselors and facilities all emerged as some of the challenges the district faces.
Some of the priorities that emerged from those in attendance were facilities, professional development, communication, keeping up with and expanding the curriculum, retaining quality staff, and to continue thinking outside of the box with ideas such as the experiential learning program and the Home School Academy.
The planning committee will take the information gathered from the meetings and use it to drive the strategic plan.
The next meeting is from 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Ponderay Events Center. The final meeting will be at the same time and venue on Thursday, Jan. 25. Each meeting will cover the same three questions in the same format as the first meeting.
In addition, everyone is encouraged to complete the online survey to supply input for the strategic plan. The survey can be found on the homepage of the district’s website at lposd.org.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.