Capital district moves forward with strategic plan

DOVER — A vision for Capital School District’s future is emerging on the horizon and officials think they have the beginnings of a road map on how to get there.

“We now have direction. Work groups are being formed to develop action steps based on that direction,” Capital Superintendent Dr. Dan Shelton said last week.

The district’s strategic plan officially debuted at a June 15 board meeting with the development of a course of action to carry out the ideas.

Capital School District Superintendent Dr. Dan Shelton presented a strategic plan to the school board on June 15. The district is now working to make the plan a reality and over the coming months will develop a strategy for its execution. (Delaware State News file photo)

Capital School District Superintendent Dr. Dan Shelton presented a strategic plan to the school board on June 15. The district is now working to make the plan a reality and over the coming months will develop a strategy for its execution. (Delaware State News file photo)

The plan was generated through co-labs — intensive focus group meetings including more than 40 students, teachers, parents, community members and district stakeholders — held in late April and early May.

The district hired consulting firm Demosophia to record the ideas that emerged as data refined after each session to determine three objectives:

• Have a linear, streamlined district;

• Meet the needs of the whole child;

• Nurture Senator pride.

From this point, a strategic framework will be built, breaking the objectives — called intents in the strategic plan — into steps and developing implementation teams to focus on each one.

“As we go through, there will be lots of other ideas generated that may or may not fit into the current intent,” Dr. Shelton said. “If that happens, we may go back to the board and ask them to revisit the intent to see if we are on the right track or we may add an new intent.”

Building the framework is the third of four phases in the process outlined by Demosophia.

The first was discovery, held early this year and utilizing public community meetings. The second was design, which was conducted through the co-labs. Building the framework is the third phase — detail.

The fourth and final phase is delivery when all the intents will be implemented.
Objectives outlined in the plan as its intents include:

• Make Capital streamlined to improve educational consistency and communication. The district also wants to better use federal, state and local funding.

• Look beyond traditional schooling in subjects to include academics, behavior and mental, social and emotional health. All are designed to meet the needs of the “whole child.”

• Instill a visible culture of Senator Pride. Doing so, the report said, likely will encourage the community to be willing to invest in the educational system.

Each intent was developed with a trigger question: “What are descriptors of what an ideal Capital School District ought to be to ensure an excellent education for every student?”

Demosophia was able to create vision maps for each intent using ideas produced from the co-labs to show ideas that should be used as stepping-stones to accomplish the intent.

The price tag for implementation isn’t known yet.

Costs will be determined once phase three has progressed enough to make final plans for phase four, Dr. Shelton said.

The implementation of the intents will not happen overnight, he said, but the process allows for short-term, mid-term and long-term outcomes.

“Some of the implementation teams will be committees and groups that already had begun work prior to the co-labs,” Dr. Shelton said. “For example, we have a group working on our instructional walk through protocols — in strategic Intent 1.

“Our work on curriculum writing takes place every summer — in Strategic Intent 2 — and we have a committee that works on the Student Success Guide — in Strategic Intent 2.”

As the committees undertake more responsibilities, their roles will be modified to accomplish not only their original intention but to integrate the intentions of the strategic plan.

Since each of the intents is an idea rather than a physical need such as infrastructure improvement, each has a different measure of progress.

The measures are outlined in the strategic plan and progress on each will be updated regularly on the district’s website as implementation progresses.

An example of progress measures can be shown by the markers outlined for Intent Number 2: Meeting the needs of the whole child includes high school graduation rates increasing, student attendance rates improving, staff with additional certifications increasing and behavioral referrals decreasing among others.

To view the strategic plan and vision maps, visit the district’s website and click on “Tomorrow’s Senators” under the “Family and Community” tab.

Capital objectives

Consulting company Demosophia took the ideas generated through focus groups work sessions and developed three “intents” for Capital School District.

They are defined as:

• “The intent of this strategy is that Capital will become more streamlined to improve the consistency of the educational expectations and experience for students, parents and the community, to improve learning opportunities within the District as well as enabling improved communication with parents and the community, to minimize transitions where possible, and to better leverage resources from federal, state and local funds.”

• The intent of Strategy Number 2 is to broaden Capital’s educational mission on meeting the needs of the whole child. Reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts are all areas that are traditionally thought of as part of the education process. Capital’s vision is to go beyond this thought. This strategy strives to communicate and consistently address the needs of the whole child, which includes behavior, mental health, social and emotional health, academic rigor/supports and entrepreneurship. This strategy ensures a coherent framework and a faithful implementation of a common language and set of expectations that support students and families.”

• This intent of this strategy is to build a highly visible culture of Senator Pride evident in the behaviors, beliefs, values and symbols found within the District and across the entire community. Having a wealth of Senator Pride results in improved school safety, hiring and retaining premier teachers (educators), meeting the needs of the whole child and establishing strong partnerships with the community and families in support of their schools. This will lead to our community’s willingness to invest in an educational system they are proud to support.”

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