Moorestown school district to give stakeholders a chance to create ‘Moorestown history’

The district is currently circulating a survey soliciting feedback from their stakeholders.

Moorestown Township Public Schools is in the process of crafting its next strategic plan that will lay the groundwork for the district’s next three to five years. But before they begin charting the district’s trajectory, the district is giving parents, students, staff and administrators a say in the process.

The district is circulating a survey soliciting feedback from stakeholders. This school year marks the end of the district’s three-year strategic plan. The goal is to get valuable community insight as it sets a direction for the future.

“It gives all stakeholders a chance to be a part of creating the next chapters in Moorestown history,” said Superintendent Scott McCartney.

McCartney said as a school district, they want to sustain the excellence that Moorestown has come to be known for, but also want to be relevant for today and the future. He said speaking with students and the larger community helps provide that perspective.

For the past several weeks, the district’s strategic planners have met with individuals and focus groups of stakeholders in the community. McCartney said they crafted questions around various common themes based on feedback from those meetings and an open forum held on Oct. 25.

Board of Education President Sandra Alberti said the more responses they receive, the better the data will reflect the community. She said they are encouraging people to think about the reality of education in the next five years and the demands students will face after they graduate.

The 11-question survey asks stakeholders to consider where some of the district’s strengths lie and what challenges the district needs to tackle. It also asks survey takers to define concepts, such as students’ success and the “world class learner.”

“When we have a clear idea of what success looks like [and] how we as a community define success, we will be better able to develop goals and actions that lead us to those community-defined successes,” Alberti said.

Alberti said as a board and as a district, they have had numerous conversations over the last year about expanding their view of success. She said this means going beyond the traditional measures of grades, athletic recognition and extra-curricular activities and requires them to think differently about Moorestown’s definition of a learner.

“We are also concerned that a focus on success is creating some unhealthy stressors, and we want to find balance and support an understanding that much learning comes from the process not just the outcome,” McCartney said.

Last year, a group of staff and administration worked collaboratively with experts in the field of innovation to come to the concept of “the world class learner.” McCartney said they hope to unpack this term and use it to drive programs and services. He said they want to ensure students are competitive leaders in the global marketplace.

Once all of the survey data is collected, the district will work with its strategic planners, W.H. Adams & Associates, LLC, to determine high-level priorities. From there, they will engage with a committee of approximately 25 members to examine the data and determine specific goals and actions steps.

According to Alberti, this work will have through the early months of 2019. Once they formally adopt their new strategic plan, they will use the goals and action steps to shape priorities and how they evaluate themselves for the next three to five years.

“We hope to receive responses from students, teachers, administrators, parents, grandparents, community leaders, people of all ages — whether or not they have children in our schools,” Alberti said. “We know that education is one of the most attractive, highly regarded features of our community. Influencing the forward direction of our district has value to all of us.”

To take the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MTPSCommunity. The survey is open until Nov. 21.