Planning for Progress

This has been a busy month for us here at Chesapeake Public Schools. As the new year began, we set our sights on the creation of our new strategic plan, Empower 2025. 

A team of representatives from across our division gathered to review the data collected from my Listening and Learning survey. The team used this input from our school community to identify our core values, vision, and mission. It all comes back to identifying our purpose—why we do what we do each day. From there, the team identified four strategic goals where we will focus our attention. The next part of this process is to assign the goals to action teams, made up of representatives from our school community. Each action team will identify the steps necessary to accomplish our goals.

Hugo Owens Principal in a Strategic Planning Meeting   Dr. Cotton attends a strategic planning meeting.   Dr. James works in a strategic planning meeting.

I cannot stress enough how important this document is to our division. We will use this plan to guide all our decisions and actions as we work toward fulfilling our mission. A great example of that emerged this month as we hashed out a budget for the 2019-2020 school year. The strategic plan played a big part in the development of my Proposed Budget, and this month we were able to share those details. I think it is important for everyone to see how we prioritize our needs and use feedback from our parents, students, employees, and community to drive these decisions. You can see a summary of major highlights from the budget here. 

Our first strategic goal is to provide exemplary teaching and learning experiences. The proposed budget includes several items that will assist us in meeting this goal:

  • Expanding full-day kindergarten to three additional schools – Great Bridge Primary, Hickory Elementary, and Deep Creek Elementary
  • Implementing the Chesapeake Alternative High School Program
  • Enhancing our elementary fine arts program
  • A new Workforce Development Coordinator for the Chesapeake Career Center

Recruiting, retaining, and supporting our valued employees is the second goal of our strategic plan. To address this area, the proposed budget includes the following items:

  • Increasing tuition reimbursement to $250 per credit hour
  • $12.2 million for salary increases and salary study results implementation
  • $1.67 million to cover anticipated increases in health insurance for January 2020

The third goal is to provide a safe and supportive learning environment. To that end, the proposed budget would allow for the following:

  • Positions to support school security systems
  • Additional psychologist and clinic specialist positions
  • Additional data quality secretaries at the elementary level
  • Bus, vehicle, equipment, sound systems, and portable replacements

Engaging, informing, and collaborating with the community to support our mission is the fourth and final goal of the plan. Our proposed budget does not include specific line items to address this area; however, we are restructuring positions and reallocating existing funds to address this important initiative.

We are moving through the budget process now, and I would like to encourage you to take a look at both our strategic plan, Empower 2025, and the proposed budget. If you have any questions or comments, we have one more public hearing scheduled for March 11, 2019, at our next board meeting. Your feedback is very important to us.