As we approach the planning phase for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year, we must ensure that every step we take is intentional, collaborative, and data-driven.  At the heart of our planning process lies the goal of providing the best possible educational experience for our students while maximizing the impact of federal funds received by our district.

If a district receives federal funds, the district must have a planning process for spending the funds, including stakeholder input.   The planning meeting is also a time to review and evaluate the current year’s plan.  I make sure the words “review” and “evaluate” are on my agenda.  In addition, the agenda and minutes reflect the evaluation of all Title programs (Title I, II, III, IV, etc.), and the results are a part of the planning for the upcoming year.  The planning team should be reflective of the school district and include a variety of stakeholders.  By bringing together stakeholders with different perspectives and expertise, we ensure that our planning process is holistic and reflects the needs of our entire educational community.  My team usually includes representatives from the following areas.

  • District:  representatives from departments such as the office of superintendent, business office, technology, special education, curriculum and instruction, CTE, and English Learners
  • School:  a representative group of principals, teachers, and paraprofessionals – being sure to have a variety of grade levels, personnel funded with federal funds, and special population representatives
  • Students: two or three students
  • Parents:  at least two or three parents who are not employed by the district and come from various schools across the district
  • Community: at least two or three community members.

The meeting should be a planning meeting.  Data should be presented to the group, and the group should review it, identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop priorities.  Data should come from various sources: student enrollment, comprehensive needs assessment survey, academic achievement/accountability data, discipline data, attendance data, EL data, etc.  I usually provide the data in chart and graph format, showing changes over several years.

This planning committee and its work will help meet several monitoring indicators.  If the planning agenda and minutes address the topics, this committee and the planning documents can provide documentation toward meeting the following Mississippi indicators:

  • J-2: input from the school during the budget preparation process and how that input is incorporated before submission to MDE
  • J-3: coordinate efforts and implement activities across programs featuring similar goals, objectives, or action steps
  • J-4: ensure that the development of programs with federal funds is seamless with the process used to develop programs with State and local funds.
  • BB-4:  process for engaging stakeholders in the planning of the LEA plan

In addition, the district Parent and Family Engagement Policy is shared with the committee.  The participants are asked to review the policy and provide any recommendations for changes.  The information provided by the committee is then discussed with a federal program leadership team, and decisions are made on how to budget the funds and revise the policy.  This collaborative approach ensures that our policies are not only compliant but also reflective of the needs and aspirations of the families we serve.  The process will provide documentation for monitoring indicator FF-2.

The schools should also follow the same process for planning for their schoolwide plan.  However, the schools must also include documentation for reviewing and revising the school parent and family engagement plan and compact.  If several parents are included on the planning team, this would be a good time to do that.

As you embark on this journey of planning for the 2024-2025 school year, I know you are committed to fostering a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and accountability.  Working with a great team, you will lay the groundwork for a year filled with growth, learning, and success for all members of our educational community.

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