Rhinelander School District looks for public input for future goals
What should be the main goals for the next five years for the School District of Rhinelander? That is the question school officials are asking the public in a series of public meetings and an online survey.
The district is putting together its strategic plan for the next five years and wants the public to help direct the district in what matters to them.
“The old plan was an interim plan put in place two years ago,” superintendent Kelli Jacobi said. “This will be a five year plan that will guide the district.”
Jacobi said the new strategic plan will be a “working document” that will tackle big picture issues in terms of which way the district will focus its energies in the upcoming years.
“What we are really asking people is what do you want the district to look like in five years,” Jacobi said. “People are always talking about the school district and we want to take those ideas and build around them.”
Some of the meetings have already been held and Jacobi said a few themes are already appearing. The main concern of those attending the meetings has been if the district is preparing students enough for life after high school.
“Right now most of the comments are focused on having students ready after they are done with school,” Jacobi said. “Using their interests and passions to guide them into the future.”
Jacobi said the district already does a lot to help prepare students life after school.
“We work closely with Nicolet College and their certification programs,” Jacobi said. “We have students who have started a certification program before they leave high school.”
Jacobi said those programs are not just for students who will work after high school but even those going to college.
“Some of the students in the certification programs know they need to work their way through college so they get their certificate and then can do something they love and are passionate about as they continue to get their degree.” she said.
While the district does have some programs to help students prepare for after graduation, Jacobi said looking into increasing those options is important.
Another area of concern for many of those attending the meetings has been programs being reduced or cut do to budget constraints.
Technology, technology education, special education and advanced placement were all areas of concern.
“People are concerned about these programs going away and they don’t want to see that happen,” Jacobi said.
Those interested in giving their opinions can stop by one of the four remaining meetings scheduled in June. Two meetings will be held June 4 with one from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Rhinelander District Library and the other from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rhinelander High School Learning Media Center. Two additional meetings will be held June 5 with a meeting held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the YMCA and a second held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Professional Development Center.
For those that cannot attend the meetings in person, Jacobi said the district has set up an online survey to gather input. That survey can be found at www.rhinelander.k12.wi.us/strategicplanning.cfm.
“We know that people are busy and work during the day and might have kids in sports so they can’t get there at night,” Jacobi said. “That is why we made up this easy online survey to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.”
After all the meetings are held, Jacobi will meet with staff and administrators to go through all the data.
“We will get together for a retreat June 23 and do a data reduction looking at all the information gathered,” Jacobi said. “That night we will present the information to the board and they will direct me to put an action plan together on the goals they decided on.”
Jacobi said she expects this will not happen all in one night.
“I think it will take a while,” she said. “We want to take our time. The final plan will be shared with the community before being approved. We don’t want to rush. We want to make sure people are buying into the plan before we implement it.”