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Stakeholder data revealed for New Hartford school strategic plan

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
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Posted 1/19/23

A proposed five-year strategic plan for the New Hartford Central School District will soon go before the district’s Board of Education for their approval.

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Stakeholder data revealed for New Hartford school strategic plan

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NEW HARTFORD — A proposed five-year strategic plan for the New Hartford Central School District will soon go before the district’s Board of Education for their approval. That tentative plan was created after months of collecting and analyzing community input submitted by the district’s stakeholders.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Allen Hyde presented an update on the creation of the strategic plan Tuesday for the board members and their audience, explaining the process of gathering that information and converting it into useable data.

Community input was entered via an online ThoughtExchange information collection platform, which gathered all of the data that was submitted and correlated it for the district’s perusal. Board of Education President Pamela King said ThoughtExchange was actually used by the district for the first time in 2021 to invite and coordinate stakeholders’ opinions during their search for a new district superintendent.

Survey participants responded to questions and then considered ideas shared by others, assigning stars to them to rank their importance. Thoughts and stars submitted are all confidential.

Hyde said 115 individuals responded with 71 thoughts for the survey and there were then 1,760 ratings assigned to thoughts via the ThoughtExchange process. Participants with students in the district were also asked whether or not that student receives support services such as a 504 plan, individualized education plan, academic intervention services and/or English language learner supports.

Of the 115 participants, there were 112 respondents who offered their relationship to the district. Nearly half - 48% - of the respondents were parents or guardians of a child at a New Hartford elementary school. Just over a quarter - 29% - had a child in junior high and 18% a child in high school. There were faculty and staff members making up 30%, students for 6%, community members for 10% and alumni for 5% of the respondents.

Hyde said participants identified individualized learning and support; application; growth and improvement; and traditional measures of academic success like grades and test scores as their indicators of academic success. He also noted that two topics from this exchange that were repeated from previous exchanges included a focus on communication and social-emotional learning (SEL) connections.

In ranking the key indicators of academic success, respondents ranked “students who do not want to go on to college should feel supported and have the skills to begin their career upon graduation” as their top concern with a 4.3 star rating out of 5 stars. In second place was “my child’s positive attitude toward learning” with 4.2 out of 5 stars.

“Building confidence,” “teachers and parents communicating and supporting each other” and “academic success shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all definition ... some students may struggle due to different factors” rounded out the top five concerns.

District Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. said the final five-year plan will be a road map to guide the school board in making decisions that align with the priorities identified by the district’s stakeholders. It will be used to craft the new district budget, development curriculum, properly align resources and support the district’s new mission, vision and goals that were approved by the board in February 2022.

The plan is expected to be formally presented to the board at their Feb. 28 meeting. But even once accepted by the board, the strategic plan is by no means set in stone, Tangorra stressed.

“This has to be a process of continuous improvement - this is just a starting point,” he said.

For more information and a full summary of the plan, visit www.newhartfordschools.org.

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