The Cobb County Board of Education announced an updated strategic plan proposal for 2023-2028 at its Thursday work session.

The new plan is currently under review and is intended to replace the previous 2020-2025 plan. Board members are scheduled to vote on the final strategic plan during their Feb. 16 meeting.

The strategic plan is intended to be the district’s roadmap for the next five years and includes benchmarks for both the board and the student body to reach during that time. The plan was developed over the course of a year through weekly meetings with principals across the district and parent responses to online surveys.

“This presentation has been a long time coming,” Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said. “The pandemic hit and other issues came up.  We thought it best to wait for the new board members to come on board and be at the front end of the strategic planning process and approval.”

Under the new plan, high school students are expected to master nine skills in order to graduate and receive their diplomas. These are broken up into three categories: Scholar, Leader, and Citizen. The Scholar category covers math, science, language arts, social studies, and personal finance knowledge, the Leader category encompasses communication, entrepreneurship, self-direction, and personal responsibility and the Citizen category fosters critical thinking, collaboration, and community awareness. 

The Board of Education’s goals for the 2023-2028 plan remain unchanged from its 2020-2025 iteration. They are as follows:

  • “Vary learning experiences to increase success in college and career pathways.”
  • “Differentiate resources for students based on needs.”
  • “Develop stakeholder involvement to promote student success.”
  • “Recruit, hire, support, and retain employees for the highest level of excellence.”

Ragsdale and Chief Strategy and Accountability Officer John Floresta stressed that the strategic plan is not an accountability tool. Instead, Floresta said, accountability is already measured by state benchmarks including Georgia Milestones, End of Grade and End of Course measures, and the College and Career Ready Performance Index. 

Though it isn’t clear how each point of the road map connects with these metrics, board member Nichelle Davis was eager to find ways to make those connections available to parents before the February vote.

Ragsdale said he did not want anyone to walk away with the idea that the board isn’t measuring progress “That could not be farther from the truth,” Ragsdale said. “We have so many measures of the progress we’re required to do. That’s why the strategic plan is to put specific targets because we’re targeting an improvement on a continuous basis.”

“Why should a parent watching this presentation care about a strategic plan?” Board member Randy Scamihorn asked. “If I am a teacher or a principal, why should I care about a strategic plan?”

“So [parents] have an understanding of why their principal is doing what they’re doing in the building, so their kid can walk across the stage with those nine competencies,” Floresta answered. “It allows our staff to know they’re making decisions in line with what you all want…this is a representation of the board’s goals put into action.” 

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