For the first time ever, residents of Oshkosh came together in 2013 to create a shared vision for our community’s children, for the value of education, for investment into our economy and for growing as a community. Oshkosh4Education provided the vehicle to collect our individual viewpoints and to build consensus about our schools, and, ultimately a better quality of life to be had by all who work, live and play in the city of Oshkosh.
With a Community Agreement in hand, Oshkosh4Education formed the Education Commission. This 27-member volunteer panel of business, community and OASD representatives monitors and analyzes progress made on educational goals.
A new story is unfolding in Oshkosh and its public schools. Through community partnerships and communications, Oshkosh4Education is working to advance excellence in our public schools and demonstrate why Oshkosh is a district of choice.
Oshkosh4Education is modeled after Mobile, Ala.’s highly successful school visioning project called Yes We Can. Carolyn Akers, Chief Executive Officer of the Mobile Area Education Foundation, has served as a consultant through our visioning process.
Oshkosh4Education is a continuation of the 2009 Visioning and Branding, directed by a committee that includes representatives of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, Oshkosh Area School District, Chamber of Commerce, City of Oshkosh, Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fox Valley Technical College, the Oshkosh Northwestern, Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh, and Propel.
This is the largest community engagement project in support of the public education undertaken in Oshkosh. Oshkosh4Education is supported by the Oshkosh Community Education Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.
In January and February of 2013, more than 50 small-group listening sessions were held with nearly 600 community participants.
From these sessions, five major themes emerged and from those themes a community survey was created.
An online community survey was conducted with help from 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 participants resulted in the Community Agreement, which was released in May 2013.
Members of the Oshkosh Area School District and the community began work in April 2013 with strategic planning firm Big River LLC to incorporate this information into a roadmap for the future — the Strategic Plan.
Throughout the summer of 2013, an Education Commission was formed to monitor progress made on the strategic plan to be sure it is fresh and moving forward. This Commission meets quarterly and annually reports to the community on the status of our schools and movement toward goals outlined in the strategic plan.
In September 2013, the O4E Education Commission held its first annual report to the community. Superintendent implemented the strategic plan within all schools along with visible and understandable dashboards, and ongoing will utilize a communication strategy to keep the public informed, engaged and active.