Dr. Quintin Shepherd

Dr. Quintin Shepherd

I have given you my word to keep you updated on our progress as we work on the strategic plan, and I want to deliver on that promise.

On Jan. 17 and 18, we will embark on days three and four of our strategic-planning efforts. The first two days, we went back to information gathered from the listening and learning tour, information gathered through task forces last year, information gathered through task forces this year, information gathered through various digital exchanges and information gathered from the one-on-one conversations we all have every day. We spent several hours reviewing these pieces of information and synthesizing these themes of information into meta-themes. The group is slowly making progress toward a document we will call “Findings and Directions.”

The work is both messy and stimulating. There are several things I like about strategic planning and one of the ways I have come to realize we are doing good work is when disciplinary boundaries and hierarchies fly out the window. If you were to walk in on our strategic planning groups at work, you wouldn’t know who is a county commissioner, who is a city council member, who are school board members or parents or teachers, but you would probably be able to pick out the students. Because when they talk, everybody listens. They have been amazing, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. It’s one thing when they show up Friday, because they are missing school, but when they come back on Saturday.

To watch the group at work, it is a combination of both digging deep and grazing shallow. They cover wide swaths of information and dig in when necessary.

Another way to describe it is a magical combination of research and search. Part of creativity is knowing when to take your skills and apply them to a new opportunity, the other part is to know when to take your opportunity and apply them to new skills. This group is doing both.

We have a few meta-themes yet to unpack Friday, Jan. 17, and I am excited to get after that work. I am especially excited for Saturday, Jan. 18, as we have a nationally renowned speaker, John Tanner, coming to help facilitate our work and commitments around local accountability. He is the author of countless articles, a book and a robust blog (testsense.com).

I’ll be back soon to let you know how it’s going and what’s up next.

Dr. Shepherd is the superintendent of the Victoria Independent School District.

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