School strategizing: Nearly 150 attend Re-Imagine 2021 event

SAN BENITO — It was phenomenal.

That’s how Superintendent Dr. Adrian Vega described the first meeting of the district’s five-year strategic planning process.

Saturday, officials kicked off planning with the first of five meetings for the Re-Imagine 2021 Strategic Plan.

Individuals from the district and community, including staff, parents, students, religious officials, business leaders and members of the media, were invited to partake and provide their input.

It’s was a complete cross-section of people, Vega said.

“The level of turnout and engagement speaks to the commitment of the community,” Vega said.

“The student representatives were able to give their voice to the issue. We very rarely ask for their opinion. I was very impressed with their level of input.”

More than 100 people responded to the invitation, but more than 200 people were considered.

About 145 people attended the meeting.

During Saturday’s meeting participants discussed the main areas of concern following presentations by leaders in the field from as far away as Arizona.

The issues include curriculum, finance, facilities, communications and other areas.

The attendees were assigned to tables of eight or more, which also included a facilitator and note-taker. Those at each table discussed the issues of curriculum, facilities, finance and communication.

The information gathered will be processed and the data will be used for future meetings about the topics.

“The real work begins in the next sessions,” Vega said. “Here we can craft a plan and put it together.”

During the meetings in the coming weeks, Vega said together the community and leaders will identify the key areas of concern and tackle the issue.

The large group will now be broken down into smaller groups to focus on different areas.

Those in attendance are expected to offer their interest and expertise on the different committees.

That’s where the real work will happen. The committees include curriculum, finance, facilities, P-20, communications and vision and mission.

“By summer, we should have a plan to take to the school board,” he said. “Then we can start to implement the plan at the start of fall 2016.”

Vega, who is willing and eager to do what is necessary, said it’s going to be a lot of work.

“I see no alternative. We cannot start the school year without a new plan,” he said.

Even though the group faces weeks of work, Vega said it’s an exciting time for the district.

“We want to make sure the kids get the best by making sure we have a good understanding of all the areas. Without this plan that won’t happen,” he said.

“The last time we had a plan like this was from 1998 to 2003.”

The next work session will be April 23. There will be a total of four, two each in April and May.