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St. Helens School District seeks input for strategy

Superintendent announces meeting to gather opinions

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Superintendent Scot Stockwell speaks at the St. Helens School Board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Board members will begin a 10-month long process of developing a strategic plan for the district starting with several meetings with community groups. The St. Helens School Board will begin a 10-month long process of developing a new strategic plan for the district starting with public forums in November.

At the St. Helens School Board meeting Wednesday, Oct. 28, Superintendent Scot Stockwell announced a general community focus group meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the St. Helens High School Commons.

The collection of community input will take place over two days while Stockwell and various consultants, including Jerry Colonna, a former Beaverton School District Superintendent, meet with key groups of community members, including teachers, administrators and students.

Meeting with key groups of individuals is one of the first key steps in the strategic plan development process, according to Colonna. The focus group meetings are designed to gather community input on what people want to see in their schools and how the school board can align its goals with those ideas.

“The goal is not to make it just the board’s plan, or the teacher’s plan, or the administration’s plan,” Colonna said.

The St. Helens School District has not had a strategic plan in place after the last five-year plan ended in 2014. The implementation of a new plan made it to the school board’s agenda several times after that, but never made it into the planning stages.

After the board requested Stockwell develop a new strategic plan, he began looking for a consultant. Stockwell said during the process he reconnected with Colonna, who now works as an education consultant and has helped develop plans for other school districts. Stockwell and Colonna previously worked together in the Beaverton School District.

The school board approved a $20,000 contract with Colonna’s consulting group in September.

“The deciding factor was that I know Jerry built a community in the Beaverton [School] District,” Stockwell said.

The 10-month process includes conversing with specialized focus groups, compiling data and feedback, and the development of a mission statement, district goals and measurable objectives by the school board.

For more information about the focus groups, contact the St. Helens School District at 503-397-3085.