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At last: Chesy schools finally show off strategic plan

CHESAPEAKE — Annie Galloway may only be 9, but already she understands the value of meeting a goal. That’s why she was among the more enthusiastic supporters at the Chesapeake schools’ community celebration Tuesday night when the district’s long-awaited strategic plan was presented.

Annie worked the crowd at the football field where the reception was held passing out purple wrist bands with the motto: “Chesapeake Schools: On A Mission.” It’s a mission she knows firsthand as she often accompanied her mother, Beth Galloway, to the many core team sessions out which the plan arose. Galloway, a nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center, was among the community members who played a role in the plan’s formation.

“I feel it is going to help the schools,” the young girl said. “It is amazing what they are accomplishing. They are going to inspire so many children to work hard. It is just going to be an inspiration.”

The plan took close to a year of serious teamwork among teachers, students, administrators and community members. It’s a plan rooted in nine core values on which its strategic objectives are built.

Those values are a desire for personal success; the need for lifelong learning; the potential and self worth of all people; the need for a sense of purpose; the understanding that progress needs risk and change and that partnership bring about excellence; high expectations and growth; and the responsibility of the individual for his choices.

Out of those values has come a mission statement that declares the school district’s purpose is “to inspire all students to become passionate life-long learners, innovative problem solvers, effective communicators and responsible global citizens who are empowered to pursue their purpose.”

Dr. Scott Howard, district superintendent, told the crowd this was the blueprint for the future saying the schools’ goal was “to prepare our children for life and work in the 21st Century.”

Creating the strategic plan started two years ago when Chesapeake staff worked with the Ohio Appalachian Educators Institute out of Ohio University where they were taught how to analyze data to pinpoint the district’s accomplishments and deficiencies.

Next came the formation of the Chesapeake Core Planning Team in late October of 2008. They were led by national school consultant Dr. Steven Barone of Transformation Systems Inc., who showed them the process of creating a strategic plan.

Tuesday night was part celebration and part official business as the core team presented the plan to the board of education.

As the politicians took center stage touting the district’s accomplishments, Annie sat quietly on the bleachers taking it all in.

It was almost as if she understood that come fall, it will be Annie and her classmates who can put the plan into action.