Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) will develop a strategic plan with help from the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) at a cost of about $18,000. 

The new strategic plan will include a mission, vision and core values for the district, Superintendent Annette Freiheit said in an interview. “It identifies what we’re going to focus on for our school district and how we’re going to know we’re successful in making those improvements,” Freiheit said.

The plan will help the district address the five areas of the state-mandated World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) annual plan, Freiheit said. Those areas are all children being prepared for school, every third grade student reading at grade level, all achievement gaps being eliminated, every student being ready for a career and college and all students completing high school. 

The plan will help WAPS manage students’ social and emotional learning, as well, Freiheit said. “We know when students are mentally healthy and socially and emotionally getting the support they need, they can do well academically,” she said. 

The district will also address how it supports staff members and moves toward a more inclusive workforce that reflects WAPS’ increasingly diverse student body through the plan, Freiheit said. 

School Board members unanimously approved the collaboration with MSBA at their September 2 meeting. They chose MSBA from three options. 

Developing a strategic plan was included in Freiheit’s performance goals in July.

WAPS last created a strategic plan in 2018 with TeamWorks International. 

Denzer said at the School Board’s September 2 meeting that she was excited that MSBA helps districts develop a strategic plan that fits on a page, as she feels it is something concise that people can reference often. “I struggle with things that are on paper and aren’t implemented in the classroom and in the district,” she said. 

School Board member Jim Schul also said he supported the district working with MSBA. “They’re pragmatic. Other schools have used them,” he said. “I just thought that they’re much more helpful in designing a plan that can be used by a school district.”

WAPS plans to seek input from staff members, students, and families as it creates the strategic plan, Freiheit said. Plan development is expected to begin in January 2022.