The Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District (CRPUSD) held their first Board Study Session, a public event, on Jan 14, 2020 at 4 p.m. in the L1 school room located at 7165 Burton Avenue in Rohnert Park. These study sessions, a second board meeting each month, were requested by the trustees at their last regular meeting in 2019. The trustees agreed the special meeting, which was a study session about the budget process in early Dec. 2019, was beneficial and they wanted further study sessions to help them be more effective as a school board. The first requested session was on board goals for the future.
In attendance at this first 2020 session facilitated by Superintendent Watenpaugh were all five trustees and five other employees of the district. Although the public was invited, none attended, likely because the concept was new and only advertised on the district’s website. After the flag salute and approval of agenda, the session opened with a general discussion of what the board hoped to accomplish during this session. Board President Leffler Brown said “Our board goals are not worth anything…” if not aligned with administrative staff and district employees. Watenpaugh suggested the timing for this effort was good as the district would be giving guidance to a new superintendent this summer and reaching out to the community at large on the direction of the district.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Watenpaugh then walked the attendees through the study session agenda and process. He discussed that they were not “starting from scratch” as there are existing goals in the district’s LCAP covering 2017-2020. He reviewed those four previous goals but acknowledged they were very general and somewhat difficult to measure. They are also expiring, and new ones need to be created. He stated they should be “SMART” goals. The acronym was explained as (S) specific, (M) measurable, (A) attainable, (R) relevant and (T) timely. He also covered that district goals should be in alignment with “Areas of State Priority.”
Based on the need to update goals and create a new strategic plan for the district, he suggested a timeline for development. This month working on updating the Board Goal Areas. In Feb. and May updating the LCAP. Future steps would be creating a mission, vision and strategic plan by the end of the year to cover the district through 2024. He then divided the study session participants into small groups to discuss and draft some over-arching goals or what he called the “4” Buckets. These were: Student Learning, Highly Qualified Staff, Fiscal Solvency and Communications -Community Engagement. Animated and cooperative discussions occurred in all the small groups as they shared their thoughts and ideas about the goals, or bucket, they were assigned. Watenpaugh then called the groups back together and they presented their draft goals to the group at large. Some wordsmithing needs to be done, but it appeared all participants were satisfied with the first drafts. Watenpaugh will work on the wording and circulate to all participants for review what appears to be the four goals the board will set for themselves.