Newburgh Schools Prepare to Go Beyond 2020
Located along the Hudson River and just 60 miles north of New York City, Newburgh Enlarged City School District is no stranger to strategic planning. With the adoption of Vision 2020 a few years ago, Newburgh reflected on successes from the current strategic plan including the creation of more options for secondary students, the launch of two new high school campuses, the increased focus on technology integration, and recognition from the state for their Certified Nursing Assistant program. They also celebrated increased student proficiency across core subjects. With Vision 2020 set to end in the next academic year, however, the district aims to capitalize on these successes and continue to align on a district direction in their new strategic plan, Beyond 2020.
To begin this work, the design team went through a series of activities to help them define the ideal Journey of a Newburgh graduate and explore local community and state data to align on the competencies they desire for their students to become global scholars. At the end of the day, the Newburgh design team had crafted iterations of a Journey of a Graduate that would serve as an anchor to their new strategic plan.
Additionally, the design team met shortly after the new year, to conduct a deep dive into analyzing current data sources including testing data, culture and environment survey data, and curricular feedback. The team used observations, inferences and questions from their data dive to draft pillars for their new strategic plan as well as aligned areas of focus.
The Newburgh strategic planning team was intentional about utilizing a number of process-level guiding principles to support the creation of their new plan including:
A lens of responsiveness: The team knows that when it comes to long term planning, the conditions that exist today (student population, budget, community size) may change over time. By creating a plan that is responsive to changing needs instead of fixed in its language, Newburgh’s plan will be a living and breathing document for the next several years.
Diverse perspectives: The Newburgh Superintendent, Dr. Roberto Padilla, wanted the team designing the plan to mirror those most impacted by the plan - the school community. He and his team assembled a diverse group of leaders, parents, community members, and school personnel to offer guidance on strategic planning priorities and design ideas for the new plan.
Stakeholder Engagement: The Newburgh community is comprised of many different stakeholder groups - many obvious, such as students, parents, and teachers, and some not as obvious, such as the local faith-based organizations, community leaders, and future Newburgh parents. The team plans to utilize focus groups and has utilized survey collection to understand more about the experience of each of its stakeholder groups. The design team plans to use this information to ensure that the new strategic plan is working to meet the needs of its diverse population.
Having these guiding principles for their strategic planning process is just one method for Newburgh to honor its past plan while looking to go even further in 2020.
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About Gabrielle Hewitt
Gabby Hewitt is an Associate Partner at Education Elements, working directly with large and small schools and districts to impact student growth and success. She spent six years in the classroom as an 8th grade U.S. History Teacher, first in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and later with KIPP DC. In her first year in the classroom, she was selected to receive the Maryland Association of Teacher Educators Distinguished Teacher Candidate award. During that time, Gabby also wrote the county-wide history curriculum for middle schools and assisted the Prince George’s County Social Studies Department with the rollout and integration of the Common Core State Standards. Gabby led teams as both the Social Studies Department Chair and Eighth Grade Level Chairperson before leaving the classroom to train and manage the development of resident teachers in her charter network. As the Manager of Professional Development for the Capital Teaching Residency program with KIPP DC, she developed skills in planning and facilitating adult professional development, project management, and effective teaching evaluation models. Gabby holds a B.S. in Political Science and a B.A. in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University. She earned her M.S. in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Born and raised in New Orleans, Gabby currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband and sons. When she is not working, you can find Gabby pursuing her passion for photography, finding new coffee shops, and chasing around her two little ones.