The Kingsway Regional School District announced in the fall that it would engage our school community in a three-year strategic planning initiative. The process included three open public meetings and an electronic survey designed to gather as much input as possible from a cross section of our school community.
The process used to develop the District's strategic plan included students, parents, faculty, support staff, business owners, community leaders, and alumni and allowed participants to share their thoughts and ideas in an effort to influence the District’s direction over the next three years.
“This was an exciting opportunity for our stakeholders to weigh in on what’s important and their involvement assisted us with moving our school district forward,” said Dr. James J. Lavender, Superintendent of Schools.
Each community meeting had a theme, was highly interactive and every idea recorded. “This was not the typical meeting as participants were expected to roll up their sleeves and engage in idea sharing,” Lavender said, “It wasn't about me telling you what I thought, that was the job of those who attended.”
The first meeting, "Points of Pride" was held on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. The goal of the meeting was to discuss what made Kingsway great. The second meeting, "Expectations for the Future" was held on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. During this meeting participants were asked to discuss what needed to change or what initiatives Kingsway needed to implement to become the best school system it could be. The last community meeting, "Creating an Action Plan" was held on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. This meeting focused on putting the ideas raised in previous meetings into an actionable plan.
Kingsway’s first strategic planning initiative, Vision 2016, began in 2011 when Lavender was a new superintendent and the district was in desperate need of community support, direction, and enthusiasm. “At that time we had suffered 4 consecutive budget defeats, had lost middle school and freshman athletics, and were laying off teachers. All while our student population continued to grow. It was a difficult time for Kingsway,” remembers Lavender. “Stakeholder insight throughout the process helped renew our purpose as a school system, uplift our spirits and engender much needed community support. We were again excited about what we were trying to accomplish.”
Kingsway has since had every budget approved, restored middle and high school athletics as well as the 4:00 p.m. late bus, has created more than 60 new faculty positions, expanded the size of the middle and high school facilities by 100,000 square feet, has become a technologically progressive school system, has developed two high school Academy Programs, increased Advanced Placement options, and has created close to 20 new course electives. For a complete update click here.
Lavender believes this second strategic planning initiative will provide similar results and will ultimately benefit Kingsway’s students. “We have accomplished a lot as a school system under our first strategic plan and we are grateful to the hundreds of stakeholders who assisted us with developing a new direction. With the communitie's input and support now is the time to take it a step further."