Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge ISD staff, community members developing strategic plan for district

Breckenridge ISD staff, community members developing strategic plan for district
May 24
08:04 2021

A little more than a year ago, when Bryan Allen was interviewing for the position of superintendent for Breckenridge Independent School District, one of the things he intended to accomplish as quickly as possible was the development of a strategic plan for the district.

The coronavirus pandemic, including school closures due to the potential spread of COVID-19, delayed his schedule for a few months. But, four months after Allen became superintendent, the local schools opened back up and soon afterwards he organized a committee of school personnel and community members to work on a strategic plan for the district.

BISD Superintendent Bryan Allen talks to the Community Advisory Committee about creating the district’s belief statements. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Part of his original goal was to create “a good plan…not something that we’re going to do this year and then it may look different next year,” Allen said. “This is a process where we’re looking four or five years down the road and trying to determine what’s really important to the community, to the staff, the administrators and the board…kind of all working together and coming up with what’s the most important things that we need to be working on. So that’s the gist of this process.”

Allen and the strategic planning committee have been working with Moak Casey and Associates. Ronnie Kinkaid and Dr. Greg Gibson have been to Breckenridge to facilitate the group and help them in the planning process. Gibson is a 1984 graduate of Breckenridge High School and started his education career working for BISD. In the past 33 years, he’s been a teacher, principal, and superintendent in several school districts, including Graham ISD.

“This whole year of COVID has just been reacting on a daily basis, you know, whack-a-mole, whatever pops up, that’s what you’re attacking,” Allen said. “And I think this strategic plan is going to focus us on everybody getting on the same page and getting some systems aligned.”

With Gibson’s guidance, Allen and the Board of Trustees put together a Community Advisory Committee that comprises about 36 people, including board members, administrators, teachers, staff members, parents and other community members. The committee has met several times to develop priorities, beliefs and goals for the school district.

“Now, even before we formed (the committee), I did some listening and learning tours,” Allen said. “What I did there is I went to each campus and had a faculty meeting with each of the campuses. But we also had two different community member meetings. So, we had a lot of community members and even staff members that attended those meetings that aren’t on the committee, but their voice was heard just as loud. And they were just as important to this process as anybody else. I guess that was the first step in this whole thing.”

Both the listening and learning tours and the committee meetings have involved a lot of brainstorming and sharing of ideas and concerns about the school district. For example, lists were made of strengths and weaknesses within the school district, as well as opportunities that are out there that BISD is not taking advantage of right now and threats that may be out there that would prevent the district from doing some of these things that will move it forward.

Community Advisory Committee team members work on their belief statements for BISD. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

“In listening to some of those ideas, it was interesting that some of our strengths are also some of our weaknesses,” Allen said. “One of those that kind of pops out most predominantly was our traditions here in Breckenridge. I think this place is rich in tradition and has a really proud history. But it was also brought up that sometimes those traditions kind of hold us back, because we get into the ‘It’s always been done this way’ or ‘We can’t do it any other way’  type of mentality. And that stood out to me as kind of an interesting point.

“We talk about this all the time with the administrative team,” he continued. “We want to honor our traditions. We want to honor where we’ve been, but we also want to be innovative and forward-thinking about where we want to go. So that’s a balance there.”

One point that some community members made was that, while the district’s athletic facilities are top-notch, the campuses aren’t necessarily on that level, yet, Allen said. “I don’t know that I heard anything that just flat out flabbergasted me … but there were some interesting things that were brought up in there,” he said.

There is a lot of truth to both sides to a topic like that, Allen said. “Me personally, I want all our facilities to be top notch. And at the same time, I know that part of my job is to be fiscally responsible and to make sure that this district is able to survive financially for a long time down the road,” he explained. “So there is, again, the balance that you’ve got to always consider.”

The BISD strategic plan has four stated priorities:

  1. Exceptional student performance
  2. High performing and engaged workforce (faculty and staff)
  3. Impactful family and community partnerships
  4. Effective and efficient financial stewardship

With those priorities in mind, the Community Advisory Committee established a set of seven belief statements about the district. The statements were drafted as such:

In Breckenridge ISD we believe…

  • students value citizenship, community pride and understand failure can also be an opportunity which ultimately leads to being open-minded and lifetime problem-solvers.
  • families are true partners who have built trust with the faculty and staff in a way that ensures the academic success and well-being of the children in our community.
  • faculty and staff are leaders who build a culture of students first, with a vision for the long-term success of the children in their care.
  • Campus Leaders hold themselves and others accountable and are empowered to do their work in a way that leads to collaborative conversation to ensure the overall well-being of students and staff.
  • the Superintendent and Central Office staff are collaborative communicators who work to build relationships and advocate for students, staff and families in a way that exhibits responsible financial stewardship.
  • the Board of Trustees are forward thinkers who adopt policies in a way that provide needed resources for faculty and staff and exhibit responsible financial stewardship.
  • in Buckaroo Pride!

Dr. Greg Gibson

When the strategic plan is finalized, it will be a two-page — one sheet of paper, printed on the front and back — “Balanced Scorecard” that includes the belief statements, priorities, goals, key performance indicators, strategic actions, a mission statement and a vision statement.

Gibson explained in his first conversations with the Board of Trustees that the final product will be a simple plan for the school district that anyone can carry around in their pocket. If anyone questions what the district is working on, they can pull out the Balanced Scorecard and show them exactly what is going on.

“There’s so much going on in a school district that it’s just easy to get lost in the shuffle, and when we can narrow our focus down to four priorities and inside of those four priorities maybe 15 focus items that we can focus on, I think that’s going to help us get to where we want to be faster,” Allen said. “I think, eventually, regardless of the path you take, I think you’re going to get to the point where you you want to be at. But in order to get there as quickly as possible, I think you’re going to have to have a focused route, and that’s what this thing is all about.

“I don’t want this to be the ‘superintendent’s plan,'” he continued, “I truly think this is a partnership, and we’ve got to all hold hands in this thing if we want to get our kids prepared for the future, whatever that may be, whether it’s continuing to college or going straight to work or going to trade school. Whatever their future holds, it’s our job to get them prepared for that, and nobody can do it by themselves. I think we’ve got to have those partnerships within the community, with the district, to get our kids where we want them to be.”

The school district is continuing to seek input from community members, including parents, students and other residents. Click here to participate in a Community Satisfaction Survey. On the school district website, Allen notes that the survey will only be online for a short period of time.

One of the Community Advisory Committee teams works on belief statements for the school district. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Dr. Greg Gibson, a 1984 Breckenridge High School graduate, talks to the Community Advisory Community about creating belief statements for the school district. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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