AUBURN | The Auburn Enlarged City School District Board of Education spent an hour Tuesday before its meeting brainstorming about what matters most to students, employees and taxpayers of the district.
The board participated in a strategic planning workshop led by Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES facilitator Jessica Docteur.
The purpose of the session was to help the board develop "shared value statements," or district priorities all board members can "cling to, defend, stand by and endorse," according to Docteur.
Docteur said the board will utilize the statements at all times and fight to protect agreed-on priorities, but added that the district is going into another tough budget year. Knowing which aspects of the district are most critical will help the board make decisions during the budget process, when it is possible that cuts will need to be made.
After Docteur explained the purpose of the session to board members and Superintendent Constance Evelyn, she asked them to each write down some key areas they want to preserve and protect.
For several minutes, only the sound of Sharpie markers scratching on paper could be heard as they jotted down their priorities.
The list of priorities included: fiscal responsibility, high expectations for all learners, commitment to pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educational programming, communication, use data-driven approach to promote equity, produce life-ready learners and have all students reading by third grade.
Although board member Eli Hernandez believed having all students reading by third grade could be placed under another of the bullet points, member Dia Carabajal said so many other measures of a child's success are determined by the ability to read by the third grade.
"I think it's an un-negotiable issue for us," she said. "Knowing what else hinges on that piece, that's how I'm feeling."
The board left the session with the seven-point list and the next step will be to craft written value statements that the whole board agrees to. The statements will be added to a working document that will eventually become the district's strategic plan.
"I think our big piece was tonight," said member Kathleen Rhodes later at the board meeting. "We need to use it and definitely get ourselves on the same page."