Hundreds show up big for ECISD strategic planning kickoff
To start the main part of Ector County Independent School District’s strategic planning process, about 200 people from across the community gathered at the Odessa High School Performing Arts Center Monday.
They broke into action teams related to the part of the plan they will cover. The pillars include teaching and learning; human resources; funding and finance; facilities and infrastructure; climate and culture; and communications and community partnerships.
The process began a couple of months ago with the ECISD Board of Trustees and then a strategic planning team met with Sheri Sides and Jenny Preston of Strategic Planning for Practitioners in Allen. They are being paid $36,000 for their work.
The plan will determine what the school district looks like for the next three to five years.
“Each pillar has two action teams. They’ll actually write action plans around the strategies that the strategic planning team built,” Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Howard said.
The strategic planning team met in April.
The action teams include about 20 people each, Howard said.
“On all the teams, we have district and campus leaders. We have counselors. We have teachers representing elementary and secondary. We have parents, students community and business” and higher education, Howard said.
“We just tried to — really tried to involve as many people as we could in the action teams,” she added.
The action teams will meet between now and the end of June, which is when they have to turn in their action plans, Howard said.
“They’ll work with Sheri through this process. The action team leaders were trained at 3 o’clock today (Monday) by Sheri, and so now they will work their teams through this process. It’s about six hours worth of work. They can structure it however they want, whether they do three meetings of two (hours) or six one-hour meetings,” Howard said. “That’s what they’re deciding right now is mainly when are going to meet for the first time.”
Each action team will put together a PowerPoint presentation of about 10 slides each.
“They’ll present to the strategic planning team on July 18 …,” Howard said, with Sides and Preston on hand to take them through the process.
Howard said one of the things that she and superintendent designee Scott Muri talked about was setting up a conference call with Preston and Sides before he gets here.
Howard said Muri has what has been developed so far and he will have a chance to review it, see if he has questions and if there are certain things he really wants to make sure come out of it, if he wants to steer the group that way before he gets here.
“He’ll for sure be here on July 18, but as far as being able to be at different meetings, he may or may not be during the transition,” Howard said.
Andrew Marshall, marketing director at The Sewell Family of Companies, is on the communications and community partnerships committee.
“I’m just honored that they took the opportunity to involve the community at every level and just hope I can be as much help as possible,” Marshall said.
“… I wouldn’t have expected that there would be well over 100 or 200 people here, but I think it’s really a good idea,” Marshall added.
He said it’s a good idea to get the community to buy in from the beginning, rather than at the end.
Marshall was also impressed with the cross-section of people in attendance from the faith community to business and nonprofits to name a few.
“It’s just cool to see that they’ve involved so many different people,” he said.
Maddie Olague, a junior at Odessa High School, and Chasadea Cox, a junior at Permian High School, said they were glad to be involved.
“… Being a student in Odessa High School, I feel like we now have an impact and our words mean something and it’s not just like hearing rumors, like starting them. You know what’s going on. You have insight and you understand what they’re going to do with our schools and building our education and fine arts programs and such,” Olague said.
She added that they revealed more than she expected about the process.
“I only thought they were going to acknowledge each group, but they really broke everything down and what exactly you were going to be doing within the district,” Olague said.
“I feel like it’s really nice because we’re being included and they’re hearing voices from the teachers that teach the students every day and the students who are really the ones who are participating in the classes. And we know firsthand what needs to be fixed, so it’s really nice to be included,” Cox said.
Gerardo Ramirez is director of early college high schools for ECISD and is returning as principal at to George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa. He was part of the strategic planning team in April looking at climate and culture.
“I think it was really great to get student perspectives; to get parent perspectives. I really enjoyed that input. It really helped us develop some strategic statements for our district as a whole, so it was an honor to be part of it. Then this go-round, I’m on the district campus finance team, so that’s going to be a new area for me kind of explore,” Ramirez said.
He added that he thinks the plan will benefit the district overall.
“I think it was time to have a comprehensive strategic plan for our district. I think all the pillars that have been identified are essential. I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Ramirez said.