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Community Participation Needed to Develop Onteora Central School District’s District-Wide Plan

The Onteora Central School District Board of Education’s Ad Hoc Long-Term Planning Committee is seeking volunteers to participate in three collaborative, structured discussions designed to gather stakeholder input to support the development of a long-term, District-wide Plan. Volunteers are asked to participate in three sessions–one in January, one in February, and one in March.

“There are important conversations needed regarding the challenges and opportunities faced by the District, and the Board and its Ad Hoc Long-Term Planning Committee are eager to hear the thoughts and ideas of community members from all of our various stakeholder groups,” explains Superintendent Victoria McLaren. 

Some areas that will be explored include addressing staff shortages, facilities needs, budgeting, student achievement, community impact, and the expansion of the Middle School to add Grade 6. Additional topics will likely emerge during the course of the process.

At each event, facilitators will lead teams of volunteers through “World Café-style” sessions, which are small group discussions that are designed to encourage and promote a focused conversation; value and honor the perspective that each participant brings to the conversation; allow for an exchange of thoughts and ideas through conversation; and promote thought and reflection as a result of the conversation.

The World Café discussions are planned for 6:30-8 PM on the following dates:

  • January 31, 2023 at the Middle/High School Cafeteria (snow date 2/2)
  • February 28, 2023 (to be held remotely: a Zoom link will be provided)
  • March 27, 2023 at the Middle/High School Cafeteria (snow date 3/29)

Those interested in volunteering for the discussions are asked to participate in all three sessions, review The Baughman Report prior to the first event, and be willing to engage with their representative stakeholder team between sessions. Interested individuals who can commit to these three criteria are asked to complete a brief online volunteer questionnaire by January 19. The questionnaire can be found at www.onteora.k12.ny.us/survey23

The goal is to have balanced representation from students, parents, faculty, staff, and various groups within the community (senior citizens/retirees, business owners, elected officials, realtors, non-profits, community groups, etc.). If there are more respondents than necessary from a particular group or groups, then participants will be chosen by lottery. 

“Hearing diverse viewpoints is an important step in the process of developing our long-term plan,” says McLaren. “We hope that many will choose to participate in this process and help in the shaping of the future of our District.”