FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 directors Tuesday evening heard from representatives of two organizations offering strategic planning services.

Earlier this year, the board identified strategic planning for the district as a priority.

In August, the district’s Educational Policy Committee began the process of creating a long-term strategic plan.

The planning facilitator chosen by the board will be responsible for gathering and analyzing input from education “stakeholders” — community members, faculty and students. From there, the board will determine the district’s long-term vision and objectives.

“The board felt we wanted to have a strategic plan so we could have specific goals to work toward,” Chairwoman Cherieann Harrison of Wilton said Tuesday.

Craig Freshley, owner of Good Group Decisions of Brunswick, said his company has helped many municipalities, nonprofit organizations, education boards and others develop strategic plans.

The associate facilitator with the company, Markos Miller, asked board members what goals they hoped to achieve during the strategic planning process.

Harrison said directors identified several planning topics, including dropout prevention, food insecurity, programs and facilities.

Freshley said the first step in the process would be to gain a better understanding of what directors wanted and then a proposal would be made. If the scope of work was finalized by the end of January, he said the plan could be completed by June.

John Kennedy, consultant with New England School Development Council of Marlborough, Massachusetts, said his company assists districts in preparing strategic plans geared toward maintaining and enhancing high-quality educational services.

“Strategic planning is a forward-thinking project,” Kennedy said. “This district should be complimented on making sure they have a plan in place.”

The council could offer a two-phase project, he said. The first phase would identify the mission, vision and key goals. The second phase would be implementation of goals and objectives.

Typically, school districts build a five-year plan, he said.

The first phase would take four to six months to finalize and would cost an estimated $14,460, he added.

Kennedy estimated the second phase to be either a fixed fee of between $2,000 and $4,000, or $195 per hour, plus expenses.

Some districts chose to implement the plan without a consultant, he added.

Freshley and Kennedy said community involvement was imperative to the process.

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