Strategic Plan Process Overview
As a cooperative, TrueNorth is guided by the needs and the missions of our 18 member districts. The needs of the member districts are diverse as each district plans and structures learning environments for their own community and student needs. A strategic plan, based on data and input gathered from the entire region, sets a course for the cooperative that benefits all member districts.
In January 2022, TrueNorth engaged the facilitation services of Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates (HYA) to facilitate a strategic plan process. Together with HYA, TrueNorth developed a process for input on the plan with opportunities for the consideration of stakeholders so consensus could be reached.
Input on the Framework for Planning
Developing a strategic plan is a truly collaborative process and must involve all stakeholder groups. Thoughtful consideration was given to meaningful ways to reach all TrueNorth stakeholder groups. Eighteen boards of education, 17 superintendents and administrative leadership teams, 19 groups of teachers and employees, 18 communities of families, and the entire region of businesses, agencies, universities, and partners had valuable perspectives to share. The number of stakeholders involved increased the complexity of our strategic planning process. HYA and Dr. Schneider began by collaborating with stakeholders on a planning framework.
In June 2022, we reached consensus on a two-phase process:
Phase 1: Engage
In this phase, HYA would gather quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of sources and stakeholders regarding the current performance and the optimal desired future of TrueNorth.
Phase 2: Focus
In this phase, HYA would use data from the Engage Phase to facilitate an evidence-based, collaborative conversation to determine the future direction of TrueNorth including goals and objectives.
The plan was also shared with our District Leadership Team members. All agreed that the planned process struck the right balance between opportunities for involvement and the necessity that a small group of representatives would do the actual drafting.
Sept. 15, 2022
Community Engagement Event
Sept. 21, 23, 2022
Stakeholder Focus Groups
Sept. 23 - Oct. 2, 2022
Oct. 14, 21, 28; Nov. 4, 2022
Core Group Meetings
Nov. 4, 2022
Core Group finalized Values, Goals, and Objectives
Nov. 11-16, 2022
Core Group Review of Indicators of Advancement and 5-Year Action Chart
Dec. 8, 2022
Superintendents Review of Plan
Dec. 14, 2022
Leadership Council Review of Plan
Jan. 10, 2023
Core Group Final Review
Feb. 8, 2023
Leadership Council Final Plan Approval
Stakeholder Input Through Survey, Focus Groups, and Community Engagement Event
We designed a survey about the strengths and needs of the organization and level of implementation of evidence-based practices in member districts. We consulted with member district superintendents about the content and administration of the survey. The survey was made available to special education families and administrative leaders in member districts and to all TrueNorth staff. Some member districts included general education families and staff as well. In total, 930 people contributed their ideas and opinions through the survey.
At a Community Engagement Event on September 15, 2022, 103 participants engaged in conversations about the future of TrueNorth. Intentionally diverse groups of parents, teachers, employers, general and special education administrators, superintendents and community members were seated at tables together and given questions to guide their conversations. The questions related to the future of education and of TrueNorth. Each group turned in notes of their opinions and ideas.
On September 21 and 23, 2022, HYA facilitated focus groups and interviews with member district curriculum and instruction leaders, special education administrators, building principals, general education teachers, business officials, and parents, as well as TrueNorth students and members of the cooperative’s District Leadership Team. These sessions yielded qualitative data about the future of the cooperative and of education, similar to the community engagement event.
In October 2022, the Community Engagement responses and the survey data were analyzed by the TrueNorth Strategic Planning Core Group, a representative group of 12 stakeholders. The Core Group members included administrators of special education, parents, Leadership Council members, a building principal and TrueNorth staff. The group included a minimum of two representatives from each of the three member district regions. The Core Group developed a draft document with organizational values, goals and objectives during a series of full-day meetings. Collectively, the group spent an estimated 250 hours developing the plan.
Leadership Council Input on Plan
The plan was shared with our Leadership Council on December 14, 2022. Their feedback was incorporated into the plan by the Core Group on January 10, 2023. The Leadership Council approved the plan on February 8, 2023.