Schools Adopt New Mission Statement and Strategic Directions

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(Andrea Madison, Photographer)
The Orinda Union School District Board of Trustees adopted their new Mission Statement and Strategic Plan this past May. The review and revision process took place during the 2021- ’22 school year and saw staff and Board members taking such actions as participating in workshops and conducting surveys.

    The Orinda Union School District (OUSD) adopted its new Mission Statement and Strategic Directions in May, updating the district’s former statement and directions from 2017.
    The school district strives for “a learning community that inspires, engages and supports ALL students,” as reflected in its updated Mission Statement, reviewed every six to eight years, according to a May 9 presentation at a Board of Trustees meeting.
    OUSD Superintendent Aida Glimme presented the update June 15, alongside the Orinda Network for Education (ONE) and the Rotary Club of Orinda. The Zoom meeting was open to the public. ONE, formed in 2020 from the Parents’ Clubs of Orinda public schools, aims to “strengthen, streamline and amplify” fundraising efforts in the city to support school staff and programs.
    The new Mission Statement and Strategic Directions, as stated by OUSD, are “built on current strengths and accomplishments, will grow existing effective practices and initiatives and will provide direction on how to improve our services to our students, families and staff members.”
    Creating OUSD’s latest statement and directions involved gathering feedback from various stakeholders, including parent groups, staff groups, student and alumni surveys and community member presentations. The review and revision process began in Aug. 2021 with stakeholder input meetings.
    “[Superintendent Glimme] interviewed representatives from teacher groups, and other employee groups. It was impressive, the wide group of stakeholders she interviewed,” OUSD Board of Trustees President Carol Brown said on July 11. Brown said that the “main impetus” for the update was the retirement of the former superintendent, Dr. Carolyn Seaton, who served the district for five years.
    A preliminary priority and needs assessment was completed in Nov. 2021, as OUSD’s timeline of the review and revision process illustrates. Staff, student, parent and community feedback was collected through surveys and forums in early 2022. Data analysis of factors such as student enrollment, student achievement and staff and mental health data helped the district build “shared knowledge” to contribute to stakeholder feedback.
    OUSD’s Strategic Directions include four main points that address student learning, a strong sense of community, a dedicated staff and district financial stability.
    The new statement and plan will be supported by OUSD’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), which was also updated this past June. The district’s original 2021-‘24 LCAP, informed by the 2017 Strategic Plan, underwent review and revision to address challenges in the original LCAP and also address the continuous changes, challenges and uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, as highlighted by the latest LCAP.
    During the input gathering process for the plan, which began last fall, staff, parents, recent alums and current students attending grades four through eight were surveyed. A synthesis of the input sessions revealed mental health and student wellness “becoming a significant priority.”
    The LCAP notes an increase in services helping foster youth, English-learning students and low-income students is expected, with the “targeted supports” including an English Language Development (ELD) teacher, English Learner Family Engagement and Summer Support for Students.
    The three goals behind the revamped LCAP include a focus on universal student access to quality education and appropriate supports, the providing for students’ emotional, physical and social needs, as well as an inclusive learning environment and qualified school staff.
    According to the LCAP, Orinda Union School District is considered one of the highest performing districts in California. OUSD, which employs over 300 teachers, support staff and administrators, has 2,486 enrolled students. Despite a slight decline in student enrollment in the last two years, an increase in district enrollment is projected in the coming years.
    OUSD’s Strategic Directions also includes the Board of Trustee’s annual goals and priorities and the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). The SPSA is an annual plan that includes data and actions to achieve a school’s goals. The priority areas of the Strategic Directions are reviewed every three to five years, according to OUSD’s May presentation, and targets and timelines are also reviewed annually.
    “[The new Mission Statement is] really going to guide us,” Board of Trustees President Brown said. “We are going to provide the very best education for all students at their appropriate levels.”

Andrea Madison can be reached at drea.madison.05@gmail.com.

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