Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Community planning process on the agenda for 2010-11.

I'm sorry to be brief and infrequent in my posts lately, but I'm really under water on some work projects, with many deadlines crashing down at the same time. (Wow, such violent -- yet accurate! -- imagery!)

Anyway, one thing I wanted to tell you about was the discussion at the Board table Monday night regarding one of our goals for 2010-11. Originally Dr. Fishbein had suggested a "strategic planning" process, to create a five year plan. That sounded pretty good to me, especially when we talked at our August 30 meeting about involving the community in the process. Over the past couple of weeks and at our meeting last Monday, the goal has evolved into a "Community Planning" process. This is also a good thing.

Mind you, I think an in-depth strategic planning exercise would be good, but I do understand some Board members' and Dr. Fishbein's concern that a traditional strategic planning project can take many months, require substantial resources of time and energy (and money), and often results in a giant binder that sits on a shelf gathering dust for a few years, until the next strategic plan update. That's not something we need.

What evolved during Monday's meeting was a Community Planning process. In a nutshell, it means inviting 50 or so members of the community -- parents, Village leaders, business owners, non-parent taxpayers, students, teachers -- to come together and brainstorm goals for school district and action plans for achieving some of those goals. It's not an in-depth analysis of what we do and what we can do differently or better -- although those conversations are certainly part of the activity. But I do think it will be a positive and productive experience for our schools and for the Village.

More detail will be forthcoming on this, but I wanted to let you know it's on the horizon. You can watch the recorded webcast of last Monday's discussion by clicking here. (Click on Board of Ed Webcasts down toward the bottom, then click on 9/27/10 -- it's not posted yet, as of today.)

I need to get back to work. I hope to have some time in the next day or so to reflect on some of the reforms and changes which were proposed by Governor Christie yesterday. Lots of talk and not much substance, that's all I can say for now...

I also wanted to write about developments or conversations I've had and heard following last week's Federated HSA meeting regarding Valley Hospital. For now, I'll just say that Patch.com's article shows the problems of reporting a news story based on a transcript alone, without follow-up interviews with the participants. The description of certain elements does not match my recollection of what I saw or heard.

Have a great day!

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