(Seguin) -- Suggesting a way to improve or celebrate the Seguin ISD no longer has to be a letter to the editor or a lone post on social media. District officials say they want individuals to go straight to the source for change during one of two community forums scheduled this week with Seguin ISD Superintendent Matthew Gutierrez. The pair of community forums for public input will be held today and Thursday in the Seguin ISD Administrative Offices in Oak Park Mall.
Dr. Gutierrez says he hopes individuals will stop in for a few minutes to provide whatever thoughts are on their minds. He says the forums are designed to support praise, questions and concerns related to Seguin ISD schools.
"There will certainly be opportunity for group dialog and the primary purpose of the community forums is to make sure that our community understands the journey that we are about to embark on which is building the strategic plan that's really going to guide the future of the district for the next five years. First and foremost, we want the community to understand that process. What does the strategic plan involve? What is the purpose of it? Secondly, we want our community to bring their ideas or their hopes and dreams for the Seguin ISD. They will also have an opportunity to share some of their concerns with the district so that we can as a district and administration can gather that data -- as far as concerns that people have in the community and hopes and dreams for the future of Seguin ISD," said Gutierrez.
Dr. Gutierrez says his goal is to use the feedback to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of the local school system. He says hearing from the public is the first step toward making a change.
"With all of that data that we gather through these community forums, in addition to data that was gathered last week from key communicators and more data that will be gathered through teacher focus groups, we are going to work as a strategic planning committee to build that five year strategic plan. So for those people who have just some burning ideas for the direction of the district, this would be a great opportunity to come and collaborate with other parents and community members and share so that we can utilize that data when we meet with the strategic planning committee in December," said Gutierrez.
Dr. Gutierrez says since he arrived in the Seguin ISD, he has already heard from many but wants to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to chime in. He says the district is also launching an online survey in conjunction with the forum to ensure that everyone gets to be a part of the solution and planning of the district's future.
"In addition to the forums for individuals who are busy, we understand it's a busy time of year -- it's a busy week -- we also have another avenue in which feedback can be shared and that's through a survey that is already available online for members of the community to provide additional feedback to us. In addition to all of the feedback that we're going to gather though the electronic means, the community forums -- I've also been gathering feedback as I've met with various community members since my arrival so I've received a lot of valuable insight from people over the course of the last few months, to really also be able to add to," said Gutierrez.
Dr. Gutierrez says the district doesn't want anyone to feel intimidated or feel as they have zero to contribute. He says the forums are open to Seguin ISD parents, students, individuals, families, business owners -- anyone who has a thought or an idea to share.
"We are going to listen to you. There have been concerns raised and I think anywhere and you see it happen where a community comes together to build a strategic plan and then nothing is really done with it after. Well, we are going to make sure that we are living and breathing by that strategic plan for the next five years. What I want the community to know is that we are going to take the feedback seriously. All decisions moving forward that are made by the administration, by the school board are going to be centered around that strategic plan so that we're all moving in the same direction. Right now, we're going in very many directions because we don't have that as a guide. Right now, really the only guide that we have is our document, the 90 day entry plan which I believe we're making great progress on, but I do want the community to know that we do value their feedback and this is going to be a document that we're really going to live and breathe by," said Gutierrez.
Other strategic planning initiatives in the district are also underway, including the formation of the Superintendent's Student Advisory Committee and a Facilities Committee, four Task Forces comprised of educators and community applicants and an Oct. 23 meeting of more than 40 Key Communicators tasked to serve as ambassadors for Seguin ISD.
Again, individuals unable to attend a community forum are encouraged to complete an online survey available through Friday at www.surveymonkey.com/r/seguinunited
The community forums will be held today and Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Seguin ISD administrative office located in Oak Park Mall.