FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 has amended its timeline for its strategic-planning process, Superintendent Chris Elkington told the Board of Directors at the Tuesday, Aug. 9, meeting.

The plan, set to start in September 2023, entails 12 longterm goals with steps that will launch and run through September 2028. The original plan would have aimed to implement all of the goals through September 2025.

“Our original goals and timeline, we thought were a little too quick,” Elkington said. “We felt like if we were going to be able to show regular engagement, we needed to put more time in some of the other goals before we could say that would happen.”

RSU 9 began the process to create a new strategic plan at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. With the help of facilitator Mary Jane McCalmon, the district spent the school year conducting surveys, holding committee meetings and generating ideas. This work has culminated in a longterm strategic plan for RSU 9’s future.

That work also resulted in new mission and vision statements approved by the board in March that foster an environment of “working together to provide high-quality educational opportunities for all” through “community,” “culture,” and “curriculum.”

Elkington told the board Tuesday that RSU 9’s central office amended the timeline in order to ease the stress of having to implement all of the goals in such a short period of time.


Additionally, the amendments will redirect focus from being an administration-led initiative to being led by involvement from staff, students, families and the community.

“We are concerned about throwing a lot of things at staff at one time and not have them start to become committed to the plan,” Elkington said. “We’ve spread those goals out and there will be multiple groups working on action steps for each goal.”

He added that the central office “thought very diligently in looking at ‘how do we build more momentum?'”

He said it was especially important to the RSU 9 administration that implementing the strategic plan is “driven by community, the staff and student involvement.”

The amended longterm goals include “basic adjustments” to the evaluation process, monitoring and oversight, and methods to engage in “meaningful student-centered learning.”

Additionally, Elkington told the Board there are plans to create various committees with “strategic objectives” to oversee the work of the strategic plan. The committees will also serve as a “model for some of the staff,” he said.

Elkington said it’s important to him that implementing the district’s new strategic plan is not led by a superintendent. He said this could foster an attitude that the strategic plan will simply “become a part of the superintendent’s goals of how you rate and assess a superintendent’s effectiveness.”

RSU 9 Board of Directors Chair Carol Coles said she agreed with the amendments. Rather than the goals becoming “work on top of work,” she said she hopes this new plan can be “integrated [as] a better way of doing what we’re already doing … with a look to the future and future impact.”

The final version of the strategic plan will come before the board at the Tuesday, Aug. 23, meeting for approval.

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