Superintendent provides update on districts strategic planning effort

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

A few more responses trickled in. But the overarching message stayed the same.

This was the theme Superintendent Ed Brzinski shared with the Waterford Graded School Board as he provided an update on a strategic survey at a meeting Dec. 20. A cross-section of people — including parents, community members and staff — were invited to take the survey in recent months.

In his most recent update to the board, Brzinski reported WGSD has procured 72 responses, up from the 59 reported responses at the board’s prior meeting in November.

“It didn’t change a whole lot,” Brzinski said of the month-over-month comparison of responses to the questions, which included perceptions of challenges or issues in the next five years, important skills required in the road ahead and the makings of a quality education within the district.

Brzinski provided the board with a full compilation of the written responses to the questions.

Teacher retention was a resounding theme in the survey, as evidenced by the written comments.

“Retaining teachers!” one respondent wrote. “We have some of the best and we cannot afford to lose them.”

Another respondent wrote, “Pay the teachers wages they deserve. Hire competent nursing staff and qualified foreign language teachers with an education background. Retain special education staff.”

In a sign of the times, COVID-19 and mitigation measures this school year also cropped up within the written comments.

“The impact of forcing our children into masks and social distances,” one respondent wrote of a concern. “This will have an everlasting mark on our children.”

Brzinski said next steps will include a series of administrative-level recommendations based out of the responses and comments gleaned from the survey.

“We’ll take this out for public comment and see how the public feels about those recommendations and maybe doing a listening session sometime in late January with the community,” Brzinski said. “We’ll see what dates are open.”