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Planning for long-term educational success

Hewlett-Woodmere 2015 initiative nearing implementation

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What are the most important skills students will need to succeed in the future? What are the top challenges, issues or needs the district needs to address over the next several years? What should be the top financial priorities?

These were some of the questions that the Hewlett-Woodmere School District posed to the parents of students, their staff, middle and high school students and members of the community at large, as a part of its Hewlett-Woodmere 2025 initiative.

According to Scott McInnes, president of the Board of Education, the goal of the program is to, “provide a platform for a collaborative effort between staff, students, parents and the community to ensure the continued success of the district.” McInnes said the planning process is just beginning.

The process began last year when the Stakeholder Planning Team created the survey and the Board of Education had a demographic study done by Ross Haber and Associates of Milltown, New Jersey. The team has 19 members: one middle school student, two high school students, two non-instructional staff members, a general education teacher, a special education teacher, a general education teacher’s assistant, a special education teacher’s assistant, two parents of students, two community members, two private school representatives, one building-level administrator, one district-level administrator, one district-level director and one Board of Education trustee.

This year the Board of Education approved a new planning team this year and plans to regularly rotate members. “We want to get more people involved in the process,” Superintendent Dr. Ralph Marino said.

Linda Kreisman served as PTA president for 12 years, while her children attended Hewlett-Woodmere schools. After serving as an alternate on last year’s team she is one of the two community members, because of her involvement with the Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association.

She said that after receiving the survey data it’s now the team’s job to select the organization to work with them on developing their seven-year strategic plan using the data as a guide.

Although Kreisman’s children are now in college, she remains dedicated to helping the district better serve the entire community. “We want to dig in and make it the best place for students, staff and the community,” she said. “We hope that Hewlett-Woodmere will continue to be one of the best districts in New York state.”

Niche.com, a website that grades districts on several factors including: academics, diversity, health and safety, clubs and sports, ranked Hewlett-Woodmere as the 15th best district in New York. Their previous efforts have paid off, producing two grand prize winning teams in the prestigious Siemens Math, Science and Technology Competition, in 2012 and 2013. Two teams of three students won $100,000 grand prize in the nationwide contest.

Marino hopes that this process will lead to more long-term success for the district, and the community. “We’re doing a lot of planning,” he said. “I think that’s what people want from us making sure we’re taking a long term view of our district.”

Have an opinion about the Hewlett-Woodmere 2025 initiative? Send your letter to the editor to jbessen@liherald.com.