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Board hears strategic plan proposal from Cambridge Strategic Services president

Board hears strategic plan proposal from Cambridge Strategic Services president

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Members of the Beatrice Public Schools Board of Education heard a potential strategic plan from the president of Cambridge Strategic Services during a board meeting Monday evening.

Cambridge Strategic Services is a new iteration of The Cambridge Group, a firm that's provided strategic planning for school districts for over 30 years.

Kevin Castner has previously worked with the Seward Public School District. He said he plans to bridge the current plan – which includes providing a safe and secure environment for students and strengthening the mutual engagement with all stakeholders in Beatrice – into the new one.

“It’s not just about trying to do a strategic plan, it’s about trying to figure out how you can faithfully implement it and take results and see how it is changing the system, and how all the sudden behaviors are changing and the students are changing.

Castner’s potential plans included engaging the community in meaningful ways, ensuring construction and other expenditures are driven by learning goals, and deciding how to spend money and make cuts without sacrificing quality.

His philosophy for all of these plans are that they are student-focused, community-based, have the full participation of those involved, and that decisions are agreed upon and actionable.

Castner explained that phase one of the new plan would be to communicate ideas and build participation. Phase two would be designing the strategic planning sessions and planning the action process, and phase three would be continuously creating an action plan, abandoning aspects that aren’t working and pushing the forward momentum and continuity of the new plan.

“The whole idea of a strategic plan isn’t to add an hour or two on staff every day, it’s to renegotiate and repurpose the investment in time,” Castner said.

Castner said the board needs to discuss how technology is changing and how the board members think the district should change with it, as well as if they even want a facilitator like Castner to be part of the strategic plan process.

He suggested starting the strategic plan at the beginning of a school year, then revising and developing it for implementation the following school year.

“It goes a little slower, but you get a greater investment that way,” Castner said.

Superintendent Jason Alexander said he and Assistant Superintendent Jackie Nielsen have had similar discussions among themselves in the past several weeks.

Castner said the next step for the board is to talk about his work with other schools he’s worked with, and discuss with him the different options and price points involved.

The board did not make an official vote on the strategic plan during the meeting.

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