Administration launches Strategic Planning Committee, InspireLT

Aims to establish consistent values, goals for future students, staff, community


Superintendent Brian Waterman poses in front of Strategic Planning Commmitee banner in NC admin office (Morales/LION)

Morgan Fry, Editor in Chief

In an effort to create a clear and representative plan of District 204’s goals and values, LT has launched a Strategic Planning Committee, where selected stakeholder members are meeting together once a month from January through May of 2022 to create a shared vision for the future of LT, Superintendent Brian Waterman said. 

This is the first time Waterman recalls LT holding a committee where students, staff, parents, alumni, business leaders and community members are able to come together to establish a plan reflective of the District 204 community. 

“I think it’s important for organizations and especially school districts like LT, where we are fortunate to have this dynamic culture, to take time together to identify what we are about and what we want to become,” Waterman said. “I see this as an opportunity [for community members] to all get around the table and come to an agreement on what our priorities and values are, and then work really hard to accomplish them.”

On Thursday, Jan. 13, an invitation was presented to community members to fill out a “Plan Team Interest Form,” where individuals could demonstrate their desire to participate in the committee. Within less than 24 hours of opening the interest form, 75 members had already completed it. After the form closed on Jan. 28, committee leaders reviewed over 200 people who expressed interest, and selected roughly 80 individuals they felt would be representative of the entire school, Waterman said.  

“Getting diverse backgrounds around the table and working through this collaboratively is the only way to create a sustainable plan,” Waterman said. “We ultimately want to make sure that everyone feels that this is our plan, working together [as a community].” 

In addition to the interest form, stakeholder surveys were open for all parents, students, staff, and community or alumni members from Jan. 13 to 28. The data collected from these surveys will be reviewed and analyzed by the committee at their Data Retreat on Feb.17, in order to gain an understanding of what goals they should set to improve all district members’ experiences. 

I want to make sure that there is an emphasis on diversity in [LT’s] hiring practices and an emphasis on mental health in our students and teachers,” committee member Aamina Qureshi ‘22 said. “Everyone has different ideas of what their ideal school is, [but] by working together, [LT] can be something that makes almost everyone happy.” 

The committee had its preliminary kickoff meeting on Jan. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. on Zoom, and will have its closing meeting at the same time on Zoom on May 11. However, the committee will also host full-day, in-person retreats in the SC Corral from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; this will include the Data, Vision, and Setting Direction Retreat on Feb. 17, March 17, and April 19, respectively. 

“I think the Zoom kickoff was a good way to meet other members of this committee and get a good sense of the goals of the Strategic Planning Committee,” Qureshi said. 

Throughout the strategic planning process, LT will work with the Consortium for Educational Change (CEC), an agency that guides schools and districts toward establishing strong leadership and collaboration in order to make improvements in their community. Waterman noted that Director of Programs for the CEC, Arlana Bedard, has been an integral part of facilitating the Strategic Planning process at LT. 

In addition, throughout the spring, the LT community will be able to follow along by visiting the strategic planning website. The site will include meeting minutes, data which is reviewed by the Plan Team, and documents that detail the outcomes of the process. After the Data Retreat, information will be released to the LT community stating what areas of focus the Strategic Planning Committee has deemed of the highest priority to address. From there, the Plan Team will continue working toward crafting a draft strategic plan in the form of a one page document that clearly outlines District 204’s priorities, beliefs, and vision, which will be reviewed and considered by the Board of Education in either May or June of 2022, Waterman said.

The hope is that by the end of the fall semester of 2022, the leadership team will have an action plan created, which will address how the goals highlighted in the strategic plan will be achieved. Waterman also added that this is just the beginning of a roughly five year process of creating a comprehensive plan that will clearly list LT’s values and future goals for the success of the community. 

“Ultimately this is the students’ school and we want to make this the best environment that we can for them,” Waterman said. “If going through this process has one objective, it’s to honor all the amazing traditions and history of LT, and really focus on what we can do to innovate together to inspire the school community for the next generation.”