ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — With an emphasis on students, employees, leadership, business and community, Escambia County Public Schools has presented a strategic plan that will shape its schools for the next five years. 

The 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, titled “We’re All In,” grew out of a research process completed in May 2021, dubbed Celebrating Our Past, Designing our Future, Together. The process engaged voices of parents, teachers, staff and community members to clarify the identity map, narrative, strengths and opportunities and aspirations for the future of Escambia County Public Schools. 

According to the plan, success of the five-year plan will be monitored and reported through a dashboard available to internal and external stakeholders. 

“We have titled this plan ‘We’re All In,’ to reflect our commitment to achieving the vision that emerged from our planning process, United For Every Student to Succeed,” Superintendent Dr. Timothy A. Smith said. “This vision provides a singular focus for our destination.” 

The school district put a focus on five areas that will serve as guideposts: 

Students – “Our students are at the center of all we do,” The plan says. “We will build on our successes while intensifying our emphasis on preparing all students to graduate ready to become productive citizens.” 

Culture – “We know learning is elevated when students are surrounded by people who can unleash their full potential,” The plan says. “Thus, establishing a healthy culture that supports high-performing teachers, leaders and staff is critical”

Leadership – “Our system is complex. We must work in unison to achieve shared goals,” The plan says. “Agreed upon planning and reporting structures will support a unified, results focused leadership team that advances the performance of the entire school system.”

Business – “Escambia County Public Schools must be a good steward of funding and other resources entrusted to our organization,” The plan says. “We will prioritize financial and operational resources in the best interest of all students and the community.”

Community Engagement – “Educating our students is bigger than what happens in the classroom. We need our entire community unified and “All In” to advance the success of our students,” The plan says. “Thus, we will be proactive in our resolve to build the excellence of Escambia County Public Schools on the foundation of support from our community of stakeholders.”

Smith said the five areas provide focus for their efforts and resource allocations through the next five years.

“Over the summer, our divisions, departments and schools will be adding additional details to this plan which will be tied to a dashboard for reporting our progress,” Smith said.

Looking individually at these five areas, there are several key performance indicators that will track the success of each area. When it comes to students, the KPI’s will be graduation rates and pre- and post-graduation activity planning. For employees, the KPI’s will be employee engagement assessments. Leadership KPI’s will be leadership alignment assessments. For business, KPI’s will be operational efficiency and effectiveness and financial efficiency and stability and prioritization of resources. Community KPI’s will be stakeholder perception and engagement assessment.

With each area, there are specific goals to meet in the plan. The student goals will be to close the academic gap throughout the school system, support the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of all students and deliver highly effective instruction and provide innovative, engaging and challenging curriculum and programs. The employee goals will be to unify employee commitment and ownership of the district’s mission, effectively recruit and retain employees committed to the district’s mission and support a positive organizational climate. The goals for leadership are to align school and department-based planning with the district-level strategic plan and key performance indicators, align systems to increase responsiveness, efficiency and results and communicate performance improvements proactively and with transparency. For the business are, goals are to align, develop and allocate resources as guided by the district vision, demonstrate financial efficiency and transparency, operate safe, secure and well-managed facilities and optimize operational support systems. The final area of strategic focus, community has the goals of positioning Escambia County Public Schools as the first choice for education and employment, promote community-wide advocacy and investment to support student success and build community pride in, and support for, Escambia County Public Schools.

Looking at the plan itself, the identity map defines the narrative of the organization. It provides clarity about how the organization defines itself and wants to be seen by others, answering the questions that are central to its healthy growth and development – “Who are we, where are we going, what impact do we want to make, and how do we want to present ourselves to the world.”

The approved key performance indicators will be programmed into a public dashboard showcasing progress and will serve as the basis for developing the action plans for each division. As the plan is implemented into operations, the process of continuous improvement will allow for monitoring of the performance drivers to improve progress toward the strategic aims of the organization.

University of West Florida President Dr. Martha Saunders said that a successful school system lifts the community directly.

“We are going to leave with a clear vision of what needs to happen to reach the goals that we all have,” Saunders said.

Looking at the data of the plan, President and CEO of Baptist Healthcare Mark Faulkner said there is a fresh wind blowing.

“There is sort of a fresh wind blowing when we think about where we are right now and looking at data – one source of truth, data – and understanding where the moving parts are, where the levers are, that move the needle,” Faulkner said.

A fifth-grade math and science teacher in the district, Rosalyn Rohling said they were looking at things that make them excited to come to their job.

“We’ve been looking at the things that make us excited to come to our job or make us feel like we are really invested in the school district and ways that we can help other people feel that same excitement about our district,” Rohling said.

The next step in the process will be a cascade plan for school-based planning between October – December 2022.

To view the full plan click here.

Stay ahead of the biggest stories, breaking news and weather in Mobile, Pensacola and across the Gulf Coast and Alabama. Download the WKRG News 5 news app and be sure to turn on push alerts.