A vision for the future

District 11 draft plan calls for bold new direction, mission

Colorado Springs School District 11 is creating a long-term roadmap both to guide policy in the next few years and to create a framework for decision-making in the coming decades. 

“I’m encouraged,” district Board of Education president Jim Mason said March 6, after the board got its first look at the draft plan. “We’ve got a big job here. It’s not just sitting and looking like you know what you’re doing. It has to be done.” 

“People are used to having students sit down all in a row, and now you’re saying, ‘We’re going to send you into the community and we’re going to encourage you to make a difference.’” — Teresa Null, Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Education secretary

A core planning team of District 11 parents, residents, teachers, administrators and students gathered in February to hash out just what the vision should include. That followed eight community-engagement meetings across the district designed to get input from as many residents as possible. In all, 1,537 people chimed in before the planning team met, said Teresa Arpin, the president of Transformation Systems and a consultant for the planning process

The draft plan lays out five core values and a boldly worded mission intended to drive the district’s culture in the classroom and boardroom, in the gymnasium and the community. 

“We dare to empower the whole student to profoundly impact our world,” the mission says. 

And while that statement raised some concern among board members, it also spurred excitement.

“It is taking a risk,” board secretary and core planning team member Theresa Null said. “People are used to having students sit down all in a row, and now you’re saying, ‘We’re going to send you into the community and we’re going to encourage you to make a difference.’” 

Before the draft plan becomes a final roadmap, it will go through a long process of turning concepts into concrete steps that can be used to measure improvement. Superintendent Michael Thomas emphasized that the decisions made now will impact the district for years. 

“It will stand out,” he said of the strategic roadmap. “This is not a document that we put out there and say ‘we’re done.’”

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WHAT IT MEANS

Colorado Springs School District 11 is in the process of drafting its long-term strategic plan. Here are some of the core assumptions of the draft plan, released in March. 

Mission: “We dare to empower the whole student to profoundly impact our world.” 

Vision: “We are a dynamic, collaborative community of energized educators, engaged students and supportive partners with a passion for collaborative learning.” 

Strategies: 

“In support of our mission and mission impacts: 

“1. We will cultivate a collaborative culture that promotes intentional, mission-driven change.

“2. We will align our actions to our shared understanding of and commitment to the strategic plan. 

“3. We will guarantee an ecosystem of equitable practices to meet the unique needs of all.”

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