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RCDSB discovers it is at the leading edge of strategic planning

STEPHEN UHLER

suhler@thedailyobserver.ca

Every time members of the Renfrew County District School Board head to Toronto for mandatory conferences, they are reminded of how far ahead of the curve their board is compared to others.

Roger Clarke, the board's education director, said when he, board chairman Dave Shields and superintendent Debra Rantz attended a strategic leadership conference hosted in Toronto by the Ministry of Education on Jan. 19, they were encouraged by the status of their strategic plan in comparison to the expectations shared by the ministry at the conference.

"All 72 boards of education were represented at the conference where participants included board chairs, vice-chairs, directors of education and superintendents responsible for strategic planning," Mr. Clarke said. They all received copies of a 'Strategic Planner's Guidebook' as a resource, and within it the Renfrew County board members found its contents covered everything they had already completed.

"Its contents affirmed that our current strategic plan is meeting the ministry's expectations," Mr. Clarke said. "In particular, our plan is clear and concise and has defined guiding principles, goals and an action plan that indicates how each goal is being achieved."

As an example, one board's plan ran more than 150 pages, compared to the Renfrew County's one, which had distilled its plan onto one page.

"We came away feeling really good about where we are as a board," he said.

Dave Shields, board chairman, said he felt very proud of the board and its ongoing accomplishments, especially when they had a chance to compare directly how they are doing compared to everyone else.

"At this conference we found there was nothing much for us to learn, as we are already doing all of those things they were teaching at it," he said.

This year marks the third and final year of the implementation of the board's current strategic plan, which will wrap up as they add the finishing touches to the next one, which should be presented to the board this year. The plan outlines the long term direction the board intends to take the school system over the next few years.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist