The GPPSS Strategic Plan: What is it?

Anamaria Garberding '23, Staff Writer

The Strategic Plan is a goal-oriented mission for the Grosse Pointe Public School district. The objective is to cultivate educational excellence by empowering students, valuing diversity, inspiring curiosity and pushing possibilities by including multiple focus areas.

According to the Strategic Plan, GPPSS will cultivate a robust and equitable educational community where all learners are empowered to reach their unique potential. Superintendent Dr. Michael Jon Dean was a part of this process.

“The Strategic Plan has three areas of focus,” Dean said. “One is ensuring educational excellence, (the second) is the ability to be functional and successful when they leave school, whether that’s the university or trade school, life, (or the) military, so they have those skills. The third goal is focused around engaging with our families and communities so that we can all be together.”

According to teacher and GPEA co-president Taryn Loughlin, the committee met and included a broad range of people in the district, including teachers, employees, parents and students.

“Typically, the GPEA President is always involved in district committees because you want to make sure that the teachers are represented to make sure that there is some advocacy for teachers,” Loughlin said.

According to a recent GP News editorial called, “GPPSS strategic plan passes 5-1” published on December 22, 2022, there was a spark in controversy over the term “diversity” being used when it is argued that most of the school district is predominantly caucasian. The article questioned why the focus was on race.

“It is important to note that the REI’s (Race, Equity and Inclusion Council) work is not simply about race,” Dean said. “Gender, religion, sexual orientation and race were all a focus of this presentation.”

Loughlin, who worked on the committee, said she valued a teacher’s perspective in the process since diversity has been a focus for the past few years in the district.

“From the students who attend the schools (to) the staff, assistants (and) custodians, they are all part of the system,” Loughlin said. “I think it was important to include (the perspective of teachers) because that has become a focus for Grosse Pointe especially in the last few years and (the district) has been building upon that, so it made sense for that to be a part of the plan.”

Grosse Pointe North student Shannon Kane ‘22 said she was recommended by a teacher in the district and was invited to be a part of the strategic plan writing process. Kane said she felt that her opinion was valued during each meeting and wanted to contribute, especially being a current student in the district and emphasizing the importance of a student’s perspective during the process.

“Especially if they are working on the curriculum for the future they should have someone that’s recently gone through the curriculum, so it adds a different perspective,” Kane said.

The plan provides a number of things, one including how the committee will achieve these possibilities. According to Dr. Dean, creating a sense of belonging within the staff and students is a value emphasized in the plan.

“Allowing all stakeholders a voice in our processes where they can be heard and valued will help foster a sense of belonging,” the Strategic Plan Q&A said. “We will monitor our performance and progress through our community and staff surveys, focus groups and listening sessions.”

By providing effective feedback, developing systems and protocols to recruit and advance high-quality staff, collaborating with stakeholders to develop learner-centered classrooms through utilization of various funding sources, creating meaningful connections among the GPPSS community and more, the committee strives to reach the goals provided in the plan.

“I would hope that if anybody is interested in it that they look through the whole thing and find positives because there are some great things in there that would be great for our district,” Loughlin said.

Readers can find the full strategic plan on the front page of the Grosse Pointe Public School System website.

“I’m very excited that the collective work of this group created a better plan than if any one person created something on their own, so it’s a collective document and I think that’s what makes it powerful,” Dean said.