Craig Hockenberry Can Facilitate Strategic Planning
When Craig Hockenberry arrived at the Three Rivers School District in Southwest Ohio, he found a district with big dreams, active students and parents, and a proud history of academic and athletic achievements. He also found that some of the wealthier residents of the multiple villages that created the district together chose to send their children to private Catholic schools in nearby Cincinnati.
He was determined to make sure that the local public schools presented a compelling alternative to these families, in the hopes that more of them would choose to send their children to Three Rivers. More importantly, he wanted the district to offer the strongest possible education to students, preparing them for a rich and productive life.
So Craig Hockenberry started filling some gaps.
First, he went on his own listening tour of the district, where he learned of their pride in their past swimming glory - including an olympic swimmer. From this, the district partnered to create a new public indoor swimming pool, at no additional cost to the school system itself.
Then he partnered with a local parent and businessperson to create a Core Values statement that captured the community’s hopes and dreams for their children and their schools.
Then, with a values statement in place, he contracted with Dr. Bobby Moore and his company EPIC Impact Education Group to develop a strategic plan.
This strategic plan would help them better utilize their resources and take steps to live into their values over the following 3 to 5 years. It would bring accountability, clarity, and increased achievement if done correctly. And Craig was committed to doing it correctly.
CRAIG HOCEKNBERRY A strategic plan requires strategic meetings
As detailed in two previous articles, Dr. Moore met with every conceivable constituent group in the district, usually on multiple occasions and at times that were convenient for them. For employees and students, including the Board of Education, these meetings happened “on the clock” so that there was no barrier to their participation. For parents, meetings happened at multiple times, so parents with different daily routines and needs could find a convenient time to participate.
The rules for engaging the community were intentionally strict and cast a wide net. Building principals were tasked with communicating meeting dates and times and recruiting all parents - not just the most outspoken or supportive ones. Community meetings intentionally involved people in leadership positions, including the police and fire chiefs.
Further, these meetings were run by Dr. Moore in a systematic way. There was always an agenda published in advance, and a scribe was present to capture ideas in the moment instead of relegating them to memory.
The goal was clear: to hear from EVERYONE in the Three Rivers School District.