At just their second retreat in a series of many, leaders of the Maricopa Unified School District threw ideas at a PowerPoint slide and found two that stuck.
At a Sept. 19 leadership retreat consisting of district administrators and Governing Board members, MUSD’s top brass decided upon “Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders” as the vision for their district, choosing between a handful of previous suggestions and word-smithing combinations to come to a nearly unanimous decision.
The process wasn’t just as simple as kicking ideas around in a meeting, however, as the team of Santa Rosa Principal Rick Abel, Maricopa Elementary Assistant Principal Aaron Harris, Pima Butte Principal Matt Montoya and Assistant Principal Danielle Record, and Business Manager Mark Busch met in the two weeks between retreats to come up with ideas for both a vision and mission statement for the district.
“(I am) not Thomas Jefferson. We did not create the Declaration of Independence,” Abel said. “We found that a vision statement that is more than 15 to 20 words long is not very useful.”
Abel and his team weren’t finding language to declare independence from England, but neither were they constructing a cafeteria menu. The group came up with an idea, once tweaked that became the mission for the district, that will guide policy and goal-setting for the years to come.
“The board sets the tone for what’s going to happen in the district,” said board Vice President Tracy Davis, who emphasized the need for the board to work hand in hand with the leadership team in every aspect of the goal-setting process.
MUSD’s mission was decided upon as a “mission to provide exceptional learning opportunities for every student.” From there, however, said board member Shannon Amos, the district needed to create goals to back that aim.
Continuing in their vein of goal-setting for the board and district, the board will research the goals of other districts as background for their own discussions of board and strategic goals at a study session before the Sept. 26 school board meeting. Abel encouraged the board to have separate board and strategic goals to keep in the district moving forward in the face of political change.
“The board is going to change. You’d like to have something that has more continuity to it,” he said.