Steamboat Springs School District to embark on strategic planning

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— Steamboat Springs School District staff and community members will come together in early September to formulate a strategic plan for the future.

The district is contracting with the Cambrian Group at a cost of $32,500 to facilitate the planning and provide ongoing consultations throughout the next several months.

It's the district's first time formulating such a plan in several years.

“We haven't done strategic planning since I've been here,” said Superintendent Brad Meeks, who joined the district in 2011.

A strategic planning team of 15 district employees and 15 community members, including two students, will meet for a three-day planning retreat Sept. 10 to 12.

Cambrian Group facilitator John Messelt will lead the retreat. A former schools superintendent himself, Messelt worked with Meeks on strategic planning at his previous district in Farmington, Minnesota.

The cost for strategic planning includes the retreat and ongoing guidance and evaluations form the Cambrian Group in the coming months.

Meeks said that since he joined the district, the Steamboat Springs School Board has shuffled members numerous times because of term expirations, resignations and members moving in and out of board member boundaries.

Since 2011, Meeks said there have been nine changes to the School Board, and he has worked with 13 board members.

A strategic plan will help focus district goals and offer long-term strategies that can remain even if board members, faculty and staff continue to change, Meeks said.

“As people come and go, the plan should prevail and be stabilizing for the district,” Meeks said. “That will give us some long-term sustainability.”

The group will work to formulate a district mission, district beliefs and internal and external ideas for the future of the district.

“I've been through it before, and it's a really good conversation,” Meeks said.

Through the process, Meeks hopes the team will develop three to five strategies or big ideas to steer the future of the district.

From there, action teams with new representatives from the district and community will work to carry out the strategies.

The strategies will be aligned with the budget process, and the status of the strategic planning will be evaluated by the Cambrian Group next fall.

The group will evaluate to see which goals have been met and which are on course to be met.

“We'll make sure we're on track,” Meeks said.

Throughout the process, Messelt will be available to district officials to provide support.

“They'll work with us for as long as we need them to work with us,” Meeks said.

The School Board will be asked to approve the strategic plan and action plans in February.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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