NN Board Seeks Volunteers to Help Plan Schools' Future

The Newport News School Board is looking for a few good volunteers to help plan the future of the 32,000-student district.

As part of the district's strategic planning process, which began in November, community members are being asked to serve on six teams that will develop ways to improve the schools. The plan was discussed at the board's meeting Wednesday night.

"We're not talking about just the parents in the school district," School Board member Effie Ashe said. "Everyone in the community is invited to participate."

Recently, a group of school administrators and community leaders met for two days to hammer out belief statements, goals and strategies.

Among the belief statements are: "Each person can and does learn," and "Higher expectations yield higher results."

They seem basic. But people who helped develop them say they are necessary.

"These are things that hit at the heart of education," said Lawrence Dillon-Townes, a senior staff engineer at Jefferson Labs. "We tend to think a little more complex as adults and lose sight of the simple solutions."

The strategic planning teams are broken into improving academic performance, ensuring the best use of time, acknowledging and using diversity as a tool to improve school culture, supporting and assessing employees, strengthening family and community involvement in education, and implementing the technology plan.

The School Board approved spending up to $30,000 on a strategic plan in October. Superintendent Wayne Lett recommended the move in an effort to develop a comprehensive long-range plan that will cover the entire district.

The district estimates that about 120 people will be needed for the initial six strategic planning teams, but there might be room for more as the plan develops.

People interested in volunteering should expect to attend two meetings a month through September. Under the current time line, a tentative strategic plan will be presented to the School Board in November.

For more information, call the school district at 591-4500.

Kimberly Miller can be reached at 247-4740.