Coakley Develops District Strategic Plan



Superintendent Dr. Paul Coakley.

Olivia Harms , Feature Editor and Staff Writer

Centennial School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Coakley is working on a District Strategic Plan that will set the direction for the next five years.  In addition, it will assess the strengths and weakness of the School District.

The District will be implementing the changes once the plan is complete.  Coakley has assembled a team to create a plan.  “Staff, students and community members are creating the plan, which has recently been titled ‘Destination 2023’.  All of our Board members are involved in the process through attending work sessions, providing guidance and feedback on the plan and participating in discussions with staff, students and our community,” said Coakley.

“I hope that the plan will highlight what we are doing well in Centennial and then it will show us where we can improve,” said Coakley.

Coakley said, “The goal is to create a plan that’s transparent, collaborative, provides guidance and support for students and staff and aligns our efforts as we work to create a high reliability school district which is a district where every single school is performing at their highest potential.”   

“It’s not so much a new plan, but what it is, is refining our old plan so our district goals are the same and I think those are the right goals,” he said.

The district goals include:   

  • Every child performs at their grade level in reading writing and math by the end of third grade
  • Every child leaves eighth grade academically ready to enter into ninth grade
  • Every student finishes ninth grade with the credits needed to graduate on time
  • Every student graduates college and or career ready

The School Board has hired a third party to assist in the creation of a new plan

“The process is being facilitated by a company that we hired called Education for the Future. They work with many school districts across the country on strategic planning. The way we found them was they were the company that was chosen by our two SIG schools last year, Parklane and Oliver.  They did really good work with Parklane and Oliver so we thought we’d continue with that company.  Their process engages all perspectives of our school community so the process with involve students, staff, parents, and community members,” said Coakley.  

Coakley later explains what a SIG school is, “Oliver and Parklane Elementary Schools have each received federal School Improvement Grants (SIG), over $1 million each awarded over the next three years.  The purpose of the grant is to raise student achievement by building capacity in school staff.”

One of the topics the team is discussing is an issue many high schoolers are passionate about; the possibility of a later start time.  It is not decided yet, but the district is making strides to see if later start times are a possibility for the high school.

“I think with the student sessions, one of the things we heard when I went to a pre meeting was Principal (Mairie) Scott-Aguirre and several students here at Centennial High School were looking at the high school’s start times. So that’s one of the discussions that we want to address this year and I think it will be a student-led process but what I’m trying to do now is make sure that the meetings and times work.  We are collaboratively working with the principal to work those out but I think that high school start times will be a focus for the student group as they enter into the process,” said Coakley.

Coakley looks forward to having a clear-cut plan for the next few years.

“I’m most excited to have a clear roadmap for the future that everyone worked on and everyone believes in that will help us achieve our district goal,” said Coakley. “I hope that the plan leads to increased student achievement and graduation rate across the district.  Although our graduation rate is good, at this point it is in the 80’s, we could make it great and we want every student to graduate from high school and be prepared for college or a career if they so choose.”

The  plan will be completed by the end of the school year  and shared with all of the district through the district website and also a community mailer.  The school board hopes to create a document that will outline the highlights of the plan, and share that with every Centennial resident.

“As we start to work through the process I’ve heard from principals that some schools are making adjustments right away just from the two day session.  The expectation for the Strategic Plan is that it will be implemented next school year,” explains Coakley.

Essentially the plan’s purpose is, “Creating a blueprint to help us reach our goals at 100 percent,” according to Coakley.