Arlington School District hires consultant for strategic plan

ARLINGTON – When the school board went through the process of selecting the district’s new superintendent last spring, they listed revising the strategic plan as one of six priorities.

Arlington School District has hired a consultant to update the strategic plan, a master blueprint for driving improved achievement and student success in the classroom, and in life after the classroom.

School board members voted unanimously to contract with consultant Shari Campbell of Sumner-based Campbell Communications and Marketing to plan, prepare, facilitate and draft a strategic plan for the district. The district will pay Campbell $11,520, or no more than $15,000, over a six-month period.

Schools superintendent Chrys Sweeting said that among the 10 consultants and five granted an interview, Campbell rose to the top.

“We were looking for a candidate with school district experience and a heart for students,” Sweeting said. “Besides her professional qualities, Shari has educational organization insights, understands the inner workings of a school system, and she works within a reasonable budget.”

Campbell’s portfolio includes marketing and branding for the Tacoma and Clover Park school districts.

School board members had a chance to meet and question Campbell at the Nov. 14 board meeting.

Sweeting said the current plan, last revised in 2010, is a sound document with a mission to prepare and inspire students to their full potential, but it needs to expand on that ideal.

“My hope is that the revised plan clearly identifies what we’re preparing kids for – life, job, college, career,” Sweeting said. “We need to ask that question.”

The plan also needs to look to the future five or so years for students and the district as a whole. She added that stakeholders need to craft a plan that is transparent, provides direction for the board, district leadership, teacher, parents and students; and creates actionable, measurable strategies that drive improved achievement.

Sweeting emphasized that accountability and transparency need to be built into the document.

The strategic planning process will be collaborative, school officials said.

School district spokesman Gary Sabol said the Advisory Council for Education steering committee will play a role in shaping the document. The committee, which meets monthly, draws from the talents of community members, parents, teacher and classified employee representatives, and others to assist the school board and administration. Sweeting hopes to add voices from the higher education, vocational education and business communities as well.

A draft strategic plan will be presented to the school board on May 22. Final approval is set for July 10.

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