An Update on the Madison School District’s Strategic Planning Process

The Madison School District’s strategic planning group will meet next week and review the work to date, summarized in these documents:

Much more on the Madison School District’s Strategic Planning Process here.
It is important to note that this work must be approved (and perhaps modified) by the school board, then, of course, implemented by the Administration.

One thought on “An Update on the Madison School District’s Strategic Planning Process”

  1. The strategic plan may not be worth commenting on (do they really accomplish anything?) and they may not be worth digesting. But my first tentative foray was to read the Mission Statement, Beliefs and Parameters.
    I’m afraid I cannot find much in the Mission Statement to recommend it. I’ll repeat it below, since it’s short — but not short enough.
    “Our mission is to cultivate the potential in
    every student to thrive as a global citizen by
    inspiring a love of learning and civic
    engagement, by challenging and supporting
    every student to achieve academic excellence,
    and by embracing the full richness and
    diversity of our community.”
    The editor in me says strip out any words that have no meaning or dance around the topic instead of saying it directly. “[C]ultivate the potential” does not commit the schools to reaching a student’s potential (age appropriate, of course), if “potential” has much meaning in the first place. “[I]nspire a love of learning” rather than “learning”, “love of civic engagement” instead of “civic engagement”. “Challenging and supporting” to achieve academic excellence is not the same as a mission to achieve academic excellence.
    Does “embrace the full richness” have any meaning? Not to me! It certainly does not commit MMSD teaching the development of others’ and one’s culture, its history, and evolution; the common problems each culture was trying to solve, their choices; how different cultures chose different routes.
    Is my critique valid, or just nit-picky? Is it important that someone loves to learn instead of just learns? I don’t remember loving to learn to count to 1000 when I was in the first grade; I didn’t love reading “Dick and Jane”, nor writing my letters. I didn’t love to practice the clarinet. I didn’t love memorizing dead Latin and Greek words. Well, I learned early, nobody cared whether I loved to learn or not. “It’s no fun for me either, buster!” was not a phrase uttered to only Barack Obama.
    So, I don’t think I’m being hyper-critical and nit-picky.
    I have some concerns. Since the role of a mission and/or vision is to inform the rest of the planning documents, I can only suspect the other documents to be equally poor. Will the beliefs and parameters bear me out?

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