Results from Oshkosh4Education forums, survey are in - March 28 2013

Community education project enters strategy phase with school district

OSHKOSH, WI -- The community-wide education visioning project Oshkosh4Education has reached a milestone in its progress. Community input from listening sessions and an online survey have been gathered and delivered to the Oshkosh Area School District for use in long-term strategic planning.

"Nothing has been clearer to me over the past year than the fact that Oshkosh loves its schools," says Beth Wyman, Board Chair for the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. "Thank you to everyone who participated in our listening sessions and survey and also to the many volunteers and partners who have helped make this possible."

Oshkosh4Education is a movement that aims to build a better bond between the community and public schools in Oshkosh. It is supported by the Community Education Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

The community input includes comments from more than 50 small-group listening sessions that were held in January and February. Nearly 600 community members participated, including those representing business, education, religious, municipal, ethnic and community groups, as well as many others.

Click here to see photo galleries from the Oshkosh4Education Community Listening Sessions.

It also includes results from an online community survey hosted by thenorthwestern.com in mid-March. The survey asked community members to rank priorities for public schools that emerged from the community listening sessions. Those priorities as ranked by nearly 1,100 survey participants are:
    Priority 1: Support and recognize value of our quality teachers by all community members.
    Create an environment in which teachers receive the support they need, (programming, budgetary, support staff) to offer appropriate educational experiences.

    Priority 2: Working together to achieve a common goal.
    The ability to get beyond the silos of "differing agendas and sides" to make decisions and move forward.

    Priority 3: Communication.
    Communicate at all levels within the school district to parents, students and outside stakeholders.

    Priority 4: Equality among schools.
    Create an environment at each school where students have access to the same technology, building resources and services.

    Priority 5: Team with groups within the community to develop educational experiences.
    Students need real world skills including "soft skills," critical thinking, social skills, global awareness, independence, and workplace skills to maximize their full potential. Develop partnerships and collaborations with businesses, higher education, college, city government, schools, neighborhoods, parents, youth and citizens to maintain/grow our quality of life, our public education system and economic development opportunities.

Oshkosh4Education will hand over all of the data collected from the community to the Oshkosh Area School District. The school district and community members will begin work in April with strategic planning firm Big River LLC to incorporate this data into a roadmap for the future.

"Together, the school district and the community will develop a plan for the future of our schools," Wyman said. "They will use what we have already learned and give guidance on how we can incorporate it into a plan of how we want to see our public school system reconnect with the community."

The strategic planning will result in a Community Agreement, to be released in May, and a long-term district strategy, to be released in September. These documents will convey the vision and goals for Oshkosh schools, and include details on how those goals will be achieved.

Oshkosh4Education will then take a watchdog position, monitoring the district's progress, and the progress at each school site. The initiative will provide regular communication with the public on this progress. For further information, or to sign up for Oshkosh4Education email news, please go to

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive. For more information, please call 920-426-3993.


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