A new strategic plan is underway for the School District of the Menomonie Area.
Earlier this year, the district chose Studer Education — a leading service provider focused on improving organization outcomes — to assist in creating a new district-wide plan that focuses on implementing major goals and activities for the next three to five years.
On Monday, facilitator Joann Sternke presented the board with an overview of the planning process that will kick off with focus group meetings beginning in late August and lasting until September.
There will be more than 25 focus groups, some of which will be targeted towards students, parents, community members, business leaders, higher education partners and city government officials. These groups will tackle a wide variety of topics that will better assist Studer Education in identifying specific district issues and goals in order to set strategies behind them. In addition to this phase, stakeholder surveys will also be conducted.
Some key topics in the focus groups will include:
- What works well in the SDMA
- What could the SDMA do better
- What can be done to best prepare students for the future, and
- What are some key challenges the district will face in the next five years
Once the focus group process is completed, a steering committee — consisting of district employees, parents, school board and community members — will meet from November to January to discuss the district’s vision and direction, based on information gathered from the focus groups.
The Studer Education leadership team will then work with the administration to review the data from both the focus groups and steering committee to create a draft plan that will be presented to the board for approval in March 2019.
“It needs to be representative to the community,” Sternke said of the plan. “You are saying ‘this is the direction we want to go in’.”
In a related matter, one of the district’s goals for the 2018-19 school year was updating the infrastructure for broadband throughout the entire district.
Katie Krueger, SDMA director of technology, updated the board on the district’s fiber project, which involves eventually updating to a 10-gigabyte connection, up from the current one gigabyte.
The SDMA has partnered with The Chippewa Valley Internetworking Consortium (CINC), a regional community area network to maximize both bandwidth and e-resources.
Krueger updated the board on the project’s process, which just finished fiber construction in June. Construction and equipment costs are estimated around $214,000, but Krueger said grant funding set the district’s portion below $65,000.
The district is currently using Charter as their internet service provider at a monthly cost at $6,300. Once fully reliant on CINC, the SDMA would pay approximately $2,597 a month for the service.
Krueger said they are aiming to upgrade to the 10-gigabyte connection by the 2019-2020 school year.