INTERVIEW: Richmond wants input on 5-year plan

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The Richmond Public School System is preparing for the future, and in order to do that, they need your help. The district is set to put into place a 5 year strategic plan, where anything having to do with the school system will be on the table.

Joining us to discuss the process is Maurice Henderson a member of the Richmond School Board.

Ryan Nobles: Thank you for being here, sir.

Maurice Henderson: Glad to be here.

Ryan Nobles: What is it that you hope to accomplish by putting this plan together?

Maurice Henderson: First, we've made significant progress; there is 100% accreditation of our schools, improving graduation rates. What we now want to do is moving to a higher level of performance, and we think being able to develop a strategic plan with input from the community, we will be able to begin to develop specific plans that look at the best ways to use the limited resources for the things that are most important to our various stakeholders in the community.

Ryan Nobles: Let's talk a little bit specifically about these community ideas. You're holding four different summits where you really want people to come in and give their opinions about just about anything, correct?

Maurice Henderson: Yes. We actually will extensively probe the community's ideas and things they want to do and develop strategic themes from those discussions. There are four of them scheduled around the city, so we look forward to having the community come out and participate with us in each of these summits.

Ryan Nobles: Explain why it is important for people to come and give their input. People in your position often hear people complain about the stuff after the fact. This is really the opportunity to come in and give your two cents now.

Maurice Henderson: This is really a long-term process that we hope to be in for many, many years. We expect to develop plans today that sometimes take three or four years to implement, and we want people to be able to have their say about the things that we should put at the top of the list, and if it we do that, we can also come back to them and ask for their engagement, because we know that an engaged community and parents and business partners makes for a successful school system.

Ryan Nobles: I know you haven't been on the school board for very long. As best you can, explain to the folks at home how difficult it is with a school district like Richmond that has so many great challenges but then on the other end of the coin doesn't have a tremendous source of resources to get everything that needs to be done for you will at kids in the district.

Maurice Henderson: We have many people who are engaged with us and want to do things, and we have to sort through those, what are the things that are going to move the Richmond school system forward the fastest and in the best and surest way. That's one of the things that the school system wrestles with, is the policy that allows us to guide the administration in picking those items, using the budget in the best way that we possibly can.

Ryan Nobles: We want to show you exactly when one of these community ideas summit is going to take place, two of them actually. Tuesday at the Science Museum from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Southside Social Services Center. Thank you for being here.

Maurice Henderson: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

See the video at right for the full interview.

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