Grand Forks Public Schools will kick off efforts to update the district’s strategic plan with an initial meeting set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Mark Sanford Education Center.

The meeting will involve about 40 people, including teachers, school administrators, community members and two high school students, said Superintendent Terry Brenner.

School Board members Eric Lunn, Jacqueline Hoffarth and Bill Palmiscno also will serve on this committee.

The strategic planning initiative will coincide with neighborhood discussions on the future of Grand Forks schools that the School Board is planning to host this fall.

Five meetings of this group are scheduled through Nov. 4.

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Serving as a consultant, Jeffrey Schatz, retired superintendent of Fargo Public Schools and former principal of Grand Forks Central High School, will be guiding the District Strategic Planning Committee through the strategic planning process, Brenner said.

The focus of these meetings, along with input from another committee, the Community Leaders Group, will be to define “what do we value, so to determine what we prioritize as a school district and as a community,” Brenner said. “And then to align expenditures with those priorities.

“The budget will play a part, facilities will play a part,” said Brenner, adding that the strategic plan document will guide “all the decisions we will make.”

Members of the Community Leaders Group, which is scheduled to meet once, on Aug. 22, will respond to some questions that are similar to those posed to the District Strategic Planning Committee, but will also address issues that are specific to them as community leaders, he said. About 20 individuals have been invited to participate.

Committee members also will be invited to provide feedback on the overall direction of the school district.

“I’m looking forward to good conversations -- with different voices, not just school leadership -- that will provide input, value and relationship-building,” Brenner said. “What I’ve found in my one year and one month as superintendent is, all you have to do is ask people. Given a personal invitation, they’re willing to serve.”

The district’s current strategic plan was written nine years ago and is updated every three to five years, Brenner said.