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Team members discusses mission, vision, value and goals while creating three-year strategy.

COURTESY PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - At facilitator Jerry Colonna's request May 17, the District Strategic Planning Team considers what essential steps the school district could take to improve.The North Marion School District took a leap forward this week in its efforts to fashion a three-year strategic plan that will set goals and map out the steps to reach them.

From December until its last session on May 17, the District Strategic Planning Team (DSPT) — school staff, students and community members — has been meeting monthly to hammer out an outline of the plan. The outline includes proposed revisions of the district's mission, vision, core values and strategic goals.

The outline will go to the North Marion School Board, which will establish a formal strategic plan to vote on. The plan is expected to be in place this fall.

DSPT facilitator Jerry Colonna said the plan will succeed if it is treated as a living document, able to adapt with circumstances.

"The decisions you are making today will mark a path for important change in this district," said Colonna, also an Oregon State Board of Education member and former superintendent.

Here are a few highlights of the DSPT's proposed plan.

• The DSPT's proposed mission statement, a phrase designed to explain why the school district exists, is: "North Marion, learning together to cultivate growth for life." DSPT member and primary school Principal Allison Hunt suggested altering the last few words to read, "to cultivate lifelong growth."

• The group's proposed vision statement, a short description of what the district would ideally like to become, is: "Communities unified in providing all students equitable access to their chosen path."

• The DSPT also curated a proposed collection of core values, or prioritized beliefs, for the district: "Community, Innovation and Learning, Diversity, Expectations, and Responsibility (CIDER)."

• DSPT members brainstormed what they considered to be valuable long-term goals, and then chose which they believed to be the most important. Among the most popular were:

- "Implement and cultivate employee programs and support systems that reflect the community and student demographics"

- "Integrate research-based, culturally responsive instructional strategies with alignment, coherence, and coordination."

The next step is for Colonna, Superintendent Ginger Redlinger, and high school co-Principal of Teaching and Learning Bill Rhoades to convene an implementation team that will support the school board in ensuring the plan is effectively executed and remains a living document. The DSPT members will likely meet with that new group sometime next school year, but the group has now mostly finished its work on the plan.

"The work that you have done will be honored, and you will be tapped to continue to give feedback," Redlinger told the DSPT.

Rhoades thanked the group for taking time off from work or school, nodding toward one of the student members of the DSPT, Yadira Romero Navarro.

"It's been a privilege to work with you. … Now, it's up to you," Colonna said to the DSPT.

To share stories on the North Marion School District, email communications specialist Jillian Daley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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