Battle Ground Public Schools approves plan to 'Inspire Excellence'

posted Feb 18, 2016, 3:56 PM by Rita Sanders   [ updated Feb 23, 2016, 11:05 AM ]

Battle Ground Public Schools approves plan to 'Inspire Excellence'

February 18, 2016
Battle Ground Public Schools is on a mission--a new one that is. School district staff, together with a group of community representatives, has developed a new mission, vision and strategic plan that reflects the community's hopes and the district's goals for educating students.

Central to the strategic plan are the district's new vision and mission statements. Defining Battle Ground Public School's overall objective, the new vision is: Inspiring excellence by connecting every student to a positive future in a competitive global economy.

The district's new mission, or core purpose, is: Battle Ground Public Schools empowers all students to reach their highest potential through innovative, creative and supportive learning environments.

"The values of the community and its desires for the education of our students needed to be reflected in the district's Strategic Plan, because our district belongs to the community" said Battle Ground Public Schools superintendent Mark Hottowe. "I'm impressed with the work of the committee to produce a usable, living plan that is easy to read and understand. I didn't want a lengthy document that would end up sitting on a bookshelf."

The strategic planning committee worked with consultant Denice Harvey to develop a succinct plan that embraces the community's values for the school district and will act as a guide on how to support student learning. The strategic planning committee used Thoughtexchange survey results from last spring to guide their work in creating the strategic plan, and then community members provided comments in the fall on a draft of the plan. The school board adopted the plan, which includes a vision and mission statement, guiding principles, focus areas, goals and strategies, at its Dec. 14, 2015 board meeting. You can read the highlights of the strategic plan online. 

As part of the strategic plan, the district has adopted six guiding principles that cover the areas of opportunities, high expectations, quality learning, extended learning, continuous improvement and health and wellness. The plan also identifies nine goals in six focus areas:
  • Inspiring student learning for the 21st century
  • Innovative programs
  • Fostering professional excellence
  • Safe and supportive environment
  • Dynamic facilities (building now and for the future)
  • Parent and community collaboration

In addition, the strategic planning committee identified strategies that should be considered for achieving each goal.

"The committee represented lots of different people and interests and the amount of information collected by the community survey was daunting, but it was a crucial starting point," said Russell Brent, a member of the strategic planning committee and owner of the Mill Creek Pub. "I love the end product." Brent said he is especially pleased that the district adopted opportunities as one of its guiding principles to recognize the diverse gifts and talents of students. "I have always felt that the education system tries to pound a square peg into a round hole," he said. "There are students whose gifts are not recognized. We need to support those students on a path that encourages their talents, be it career or college."

The strategic plan is expected to be an integral part of decision making and consideration for all district operations, from education and facilities management to community engagement and staff recruitment and retention. Departments are beginning to examine the district's guiding principles and goals and consider how they can be incorporated into their own goals to educate and support the education of students. "We want the work of the district to be aligned and congruent," Hottowe said, "so that our educational values are apparent in everything we do."

Too, as the district grows and evolves, it will continue to build on the strategic plan and filter changes throughout its functions.