Just ten days after the Chesterfield County School Board invited the public to voice their recommendations to the “Design for Excellence 2020” document, the Board met with a consulting team Friday to revise the plan – one that if adopted by the Board will direct the direction of the school system for the rest of the decade, officially going into effect September 2012.
“I think what it’s going to do is integrate a lot of the idea into everyday practice and it’s going to work ideas and goals through the curriculum,” said Dianne Pettitt, Board Chair/Member from the Clover Hill district, “so they’re not all distinct and separate out there; they’re going to come together in all of the subject areas …”
Convening to sharpen the language of the vision and mission statements in the document, the Board hosted Innovation Team members – various administrators throughout the county – who pitched to the Board recommended revisions, some of which included requests from the public engagement session on Tuesday, May 10.
In her presentation to the Board Friday, Lin Corbin-Howerton, leader of the consulting team, quickly brought to mind the relevance of the discussion: “Because you are scheduled to adopt vision and mission on Tuesday night …this is your last time to consider vision and mission,” she said.
For Pettitt, one purpose in revising the document Friday was to basically enhance its collective readability.
“Well I think what happens is educators take this document … [and] they’re already familiar with the concepts in the document; so that when we use certain buzzwords they understand it, but the community is looking at it, for some people, for the first time, …so I think we need to be very conscious and intentional about using words that are meaningful to non-educators.”
For example, an issue lied in the wording of the mission statement. Innovation Team members suggested the mission statement read: “Chesterfield County Public Schools, in partnership with students, families, and citizens…,” as it avoids distinctions among community members. However, various Board members felt the word “citizens” be replaced with “communities” as it carried more inclusive connotations.
“I’m still concerned about the use of that term ‘communities’ because I’m just not sure how that differentiates between our various citizen groups… what I’m saying is you got the term ‘citizens’ in there; it seems to me that covers communities,” said Marshall W. Trammell Jr., Bermuda District Board member.
After 45 minutes of discussing suggested revisions to the document, modifications were agreed upon, and the Board commended the team for their efforts in creating and editing the plan.
As of press time, Wednesday, May 25, the official vision and mission statements to “Design for Excellence 2020” will be adopted briefly by the Board, which met Tuesday, May 24. However, the plan’s goals and sub-goals will be posted for a month until the time comes to revise what Howerton calls a “natural progression from the old plan … [that] provides a strong base to move us forward.”