The January 14th School Board meeting promises to be informative. To accommodate the special presentations and participation by the public, the School Board meeting will be held in the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center. It begins at 7:30 p.m.

Developed after several months of interviews with stakeholders, the Entry Plan outlines Dr. Dunlap’s short- and long-term goals for the Upper Darby School District.

An Entry Plan and information about the Comprehensive Plan will be presented. Created by new Superintendent Dr. Dunlap after he interviewed representatives from the many constituencies that comprise the Upper Darby School District, the Entry Plan is his method of detailing his short- and long-term goals. It will be made available on the District website. The Comprehensive Plan, created by administration and teachers, with regular comment by parent representatives, is an effort, in part, to detail the academic and climate and culture goals for the next few years. The public will have a 28-day period to comment on the Comprehensive Plan, which will be available in public libraries for review.

At the December School Board meeting, the District promised a budget update in advance of the Preliminary Budget Proposal, which the State requires districts to submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. A Preliminary Budget Proposal is usually presented by the end of January, because it must be adopted by the School Board by the end of February.

To speak at the end to any points made during the School Board meeting, arrive by 7:15 pm so that you can sign into the speakers’ log. It is also your right to question or comment after any report is presented, before a vote is taken by the Board to accept the given report.

Entry Plan Overview
An overview of Dr. Dunlap’s Entry Plan, which will be presented to the public at the January 14th School Board meeting, was listed in the first edition of the new Royal Scroll. The new e-publication, reporting news of note from each of the District’s 14 schools, noted:

“At its core, the highlights of the Entry Plan are as follows:

  • Assess the organization’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities: Learn about the key events, issues, and concerns that influence or have influenced Upper Darby
  • Establish relationships with internal and external stakeholders: Learn about the values, norms, expectations, and goals of the community
  • Establish a positive presence in the community
  • Establish a broad-based coalition of support for the development of a plan for accelerating the academic progress of the Upper Darby students: Lead us in a collective examination of the data results in defining priorities as a district (and)
  • Assist in developing objectives with specific timelines for accomplishing these priorities(.)”

Comprehensive Plan
The Entry Plan will be reflected to some degree in the District’s new Comprehensive Plan (CP). Information about the CP will also be presented at the January 14th School Board meeting. The CP is a district-level planning tool, required of districts by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. After the CP is presented to the Board, the document will be available to the public for review and comment. After 28 days, the Board must vote to approve the CP.

According to the PDE, “the following key principles form the basis for the Comprehensive Planning Process:

  • The superintendent/CEO must be at the helm of this process—without support and leadership of the superintendent/CEO the planning process lacks the leverage that is needed for change to occur in a learner environment.
  • Key members of the staff, and representatives of as many other stakeholder groups as possible, should participate and/or be aware of the planning process. The more of the community that is “in the loop,” the better the chances the district will achieve 100% “buy-in” by the entire community.
  • A representative group of stakeholders can do the bulk of the work if results and updates are reported back on a regular basis to the full planning team and other stakeholders; especially as critical decision points are reached.
  • Decisions about CP goals and solutions must be based on careful consideration of multiple sources of data and research.”
  • Comprehensive planning is a journey of continuous planning that demands ongoing monitoring and adjustment of programs and processes.
  • Comprehensive planning in student outcomes is directly related to what happens in the classroom. Teachers must be willing to be reflective about their practice and relentless in attempts to meet the needs of every student.
  • The written plan document is only as good as the quality of thought, effort, and the degree of “buy in” by staff.”

The purpose of the CP is explained by the PDE here.

Strategic Plans will gradually be replaced by Comprehensive Plans, as outlined in the Pennsylvania School Code. For anyone who has further interest, follow the link to the revised final form of Chapter 4, available here.

Note: The Comprehensive Plan is addressed under 4.13. The bold text is brand new, bold and underlined is modified new (as it went through review process) and the strikethrough text is for that which has been eliminated.

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