What’s the goal for Chatham Schools’ focus group sessions?

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Chatham County Schools (CCS) is hosting a series of four focus group meetings in February to help create “One Chatham” — the district’s new five-year strategic plan.

The plan focuses on five areas: Curriculum and Innovation, Faculty/Staff, Facilities and Infrastructure, Student Health and Safety, and Communications and Information Sharing.

Two sessions have already been held, and two remain: from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at St. Julia Catholic Church (210 Harold Hart Road, Siler City), and 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center (1192 U.S. Hwy. 64 West Business, Pittsboro).

When asked was the goals and objectives of the focus groups were, Dr. Anthony Jackson said it was to create a roadmap for CCS for the next five years.

“And so this is your opportunity to be and to lend your voice to the direction that we take,” he told the News + Record. “We’re going to hear from our community, we’re going to talk about specific areas and get feedback around just the same questions you’ve asked me — Where are we going? How should we get there? And what will success look will look like when we arrived?”

The beauty of a good strategic plan, he said, is that if everyone is at the table when you design it, “then everybody can be at the party when you celebrate it.”

“And so that’s our goal, to make sure that we include those voices,” he said. “And so it’s going to be very specific in terms of conversations. And then we come up with what will success look like.”

There will two pieces to the plan, Jackson said.

“One is our theory of action,” he said. “That’s our ‘If / Then’ statement. So we want the community to recognize here are those important things that if we do this, then we can expect this.”

The second piece, Jackson said, is to develop a profile of a Chatham County Schools graduate. That will come from parents sharing during the sessions what their hopes and dreams for their children are after 13 years of investment in the school system.

“Human investment, capital investment, financial investment, relationship investment — what should that product look like at the end of the day?” he asked. “What should and what will your child be able to do?”

At the end of the day, he said, that work will help determine exactly how a child benefits from having graduated from a Chatham County high school.

“That’s our brand promise,” Jackson said. “That’s what we’re hoping to develop.”

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