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Superintendent Shares Strategic Plan Updates



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With work on a new strategic plan for Newtown Public Schools underway, Superintendent of Schools Chris Melillo offered an update at the Board of Education’s Tuesday, December 6 meeting.

Melillo also shared a “public service announcement” during the Superintendent’s Update portion of the meeting, urging precaution during cold and flu season.

“We have a large uptick, especially at Newtown High School,” said Melillo.

He asked people who are sick to stay home, cover their mouth and nose, wash hands, and avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

While students are enjoying social interactions in schools, Melillo said, “We are having close contact and we have some virus uptick in our schools.”

“Let’s use the precautions that we have to stay healthy,” Melillo said.

The superintendent also highlighted the ongoing music performances underway in the district. Many are still upcoming and a list is available with the “Newtown Public Schools Winter Performance Dates” story online at newtownbee.com.

Strategic Plan Work

Melillo on Tuesday evening also shared that a Strategic Plan Committee, which is being facilitated by Richard Lemons of Partners For Educational Leadership, is “on track” and has a “very good team.”

“Our Strategic Plan Committee is working within the guidelines of the board to engage stakeholders, conduct a needs assessment of the district, refine or craft essential artifacts in telling the improvement story of Newtown Public Schools and identifying a small number of priorities for the coming years,” Melillo said.

The committee has reviewed results of an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats “that our committee felt Newtown had.

“We gathered perspectives and discussed plans for gathering additional information and evidence to inform and guide our needs assessment,” the superintendent shared. He later added, “We came away with [the sense that] Newtown possesses a vast number of resources to build on. We also understand that we need to solicit all of our voices and engage various stakeholders in the process.”

Including stakeholders in the process of drafting the strategic plan, he shared, is important to allow the development of a further picture of “our current reality” and allows the district “to develop a fuller plan.”

Melillo said the Strategic Plan Committee has decided to include different representatives of the community in the next information gathering stage of the process. The members of the community who will be sought for the next stage will include students, district family members, community members, board members, district staff, and others outside of Newtown Public Schools, according to meeting discussion. Different ways of including stakeholders will be used, such as in-person meetings and online forms. Results from the community involvement will help to create the plan.

With the next Strategic Plan Committee meeting set for January, Melillo said work on collecting information from the community should start around then.

“Overall we are on track. We have a very good team,” said Melillo.

Everyone working on the project is looking to put a plan together that will bring Newtown Public Schools to the “next level,” the superintendent reflected. The committee members also understand they are working to create a plan “that will meet the needs of our district.”

“We are very excited to do this work,” Melillo said.

Board of Education Chair Deborra Zukowski asked Melillo to share a presentation of the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats at the board’s next meeting, which is slated for December 20.

Education Editor Eliza Van can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

Superintendent of Schools Chris Melillo, left, speaks at the December 6 Board of Education meeting while Chair Deborra Zukowski and Secretary Don Ramsey listen.
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