Strategic Planning Committee begins process to enrich campus


Planning committee members Atir Mirza, Mr. Erich Means, Sydney Schreiner and Katie James look at the screen displaying what the team developed as the official mission statement. Photo by Rachel Marquardt

For a span of 14 hours spread over the course of two days, a combination of staff members, teachers, parents and students from the Whitney community joined at the Whitney Oaks Golf Club to create the Strategic Planning Committee. This committee formed in order to develop a mission statement and plan including objectives and strategies in order to improve the school over the next three years.

These two days of meeting mark the start of the development of a strategic plan, which will be put into action over the course of 1-3 years.

“The district as a whole does it as well as the 17 other schools in Rocklin Unified School District. We do this to keep our schools relevant in an ever changing world, and to provide the best educational experiences for our students that we can,” program specialist for LCAP Melanie Patterson said.

Strategic planning will help improve the school over the course of multiple phases. The first step included the planning committee on Feb. 13-14, where the mission statement, objectives, strategies and beliefs were developed on means of agreement from each member of the committee.

“The benefits are for our students so they leave RUSD prepared to be successful in their life, to identify who they want to be when they grow up and so they are prepared to pursue those dreams and goals. This process is our own, so it is authentic and involves a lot of people, so that everyone has a voice; that is what makes it so great,” Patterson said.

Within each step, committee members form groups with different members to take all ideas and simplify them into simple statements. After this, the whole committee comes together to come to a consensus on what was developed. Unlike most processes where members vote on decisions, strategic planning calls for an agreement upon all members.

“It is important that we have agreement and feel very good about the work that we present to everyone, I think the hardest part is just taking the time to discuss and come to agreement. We really have to work together as a team, persevere, and be patient to accomplish good things,” Patterson said.

Although the planning committee will meet again May 24, four action committees will be working behind the scenes to begin the process of implementing and developing the four strategies agreed upon by the planning committee. Mr. Erich Means will be take charge of these committees, as his new title of Internal Facilitator.

“Basically I am making sure that the action teams are progressing every couple of weeks. There is an outline, and I need to be there to answer questions and guide them. I think that the really cool thing about this is that I am not the only one doing it, everyone is doing this together,” Means said.

Action committees have about 8-10 weeks to develop a result statement and action step process, and from there will present their developed procedure to the planning committee on May 24, where the planning committee members will decide whether each plan will actually put into action.

“I really hope this will be a positive experience in order to move forward. I think the most important thing to understand about this process is that as many different people are involved with determining the direction of the school for the future as possible. Not just students, but staff, faculty as well,” Means said.

Five students got to participate after Vice Principal Mrs. Jennifer Hanks invited them. Chad Campbell was one of the planning committee members. Campbell felt that along with the tasks at hand, it was still a great opportunity to get to know some members of his school community including staff, parents and other students.

“I believe the tasks we accomplished will give a lot of students a more at home and involved feeling around campus and around the community. I definitely felt it was productive, while being able to share some laughs,” Campbell said.

The planning committee will make final decisions on May 24 concerning the result statements presented, and will formulate plans to take action on the strategies developed.

Patterson said, “It’s about continuous improvement, and making sure we provide for all of our students. The people in our school community, including students, care about their learning a lot. To commit this time is showing that we do care about our students, and that we want the very best for them, and that we will do whatever it takes.”