Strategic Plan Process
Establishing Our Vision
In December 2019, Superintendent Talisa Dixon and the Columbus City Schools Board of Education began the process to create a new Strategic Plan to establish and define the district’s goals and direction for the next several years. The process began with Dr. Dixon and her team engaging the locally-based and nationally-respected education organization Battelle for Kids to establish the Portrait of a Graduate, which defines the six attributes that embody the community’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations for all students.
In partnership with Battelle for Kids, Columbus City Schools established a Portrait Design Team comprised of more than 150 internal and external stakeholders who represent the various groups of our community including families, students, teachers, administrators, staff, partners, policymakers, and business leaders. This Design Team enabled CCS to engage diverse perspectives to build a shared vision for our students.
Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, including virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portrait Design Team explored the questions:
- What are the hopes, dreams, and aspirations that our community has for our young people?
- What are the skills and mindsets that our children need for success in this rapidly changing and complex world?
- What are the implications for the design of the learning experiences—and equitable access to those experiences—we provide in our school systems?
What resulted was a final Portrait of a Graduate unique to Columbus that includes six attributes that we envision for every CCS student to embody: Adaptability, Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Global Empathy, and Technology.
The Portrait of a Graduate is our “North Star” that ensures we prepare students for success, now and in the future. As a result of the extensive stakeholder engagement, the Portrait is a collective vision that articulates our community’s aspirations for every student in Columbus City Schools.
Setting Our Priorities
With the Portrait of a Graduate established in the fall of 2020, Columbus City Schools set about to create new priorities and objectives that would focus the district on the work needed to realize this new student-centered vision.
Working with the Board of Education, and in partnership with Battelle for Kids, Dr. Dixon and her team developed four strategic priorities that detail specific actions the district will take to ensure that student achievement aligns with the Portrait of a Graduate.
Simultaneously, the board began working with the Council of the Great City Schools to establish three distinct and measurable goals for the district, as well as “guardrails,” which are the methods and practices that the district will follow to meet the goals.
Assembling this set of goals, priorities, and objectives and the planned path to achieve them was a process that required gathering input from all stakeholders once again. The superintendent and her team and the Board accessed the best research in the field on student achievement, met with hundreds of students and families, community partners, teachers, staff, principals, and administrators. Even during a global pandemic, CCS managed to engage a diverse group of stakeholders throughout the strategic planning process.
This years-long process to create the Portrait of a Graduate and accompanying priorities has resulted in an action-oriented plan that includes the best thinking and input from every group of stakeholders. It’s the strongest Strategic Plan Columbus City Schools has had and is a critical tool in the successful attainment of the district’s goals over the next five years.
Board Adopts Goals, Guardrails, and Portrait of a Graduate
In April 2021, the Board of Education voted to officially adopt the Portrait of a Graduate along with its Board Goals and Guardrails. This action by the Board of Education signified its commitment to supporting the ambitious work ahead, as Columbus City Schools focuses on producing positive outcomes for all students.
Students Leading the Way
At the heart of Columbus City Schools’ strategic planning work is the concept of “students leading the way.” Every decision we make and initiative we put forth will keep students at the center of our work -- as they were during the process to create the Portrait of a Graduate and strategic priorities. Students will continue to be engaged in the process and help shape the opportunities offered to them. Students must have a voice in our district and be active participants in determining the outcomes we strive to achieve. Our students will lead Columbus City Schools into the future.