Round Rock ISD is developing a strategic plan for the next five to 10 years, including providing direction for programs, facilities and initiatives.
To assist with the planning process the district partnered with learning system organization Engage! Learning, which will collect data from community forums, surveys and focus groups to develop a plan with RRISD. Superintendent Steve Flores said Engage! will serve as a liaison between residents and the district to keep the board of trustees informed throughout the process.
"This strategic plan is our opportunity to expand beyond what we think education should be," Flores said. "What should our schools focus on to be the destination district, not just for Central Texas, but all of Texas, and to be a blueprint for the rest of the United States?"
Flores said RRISD is open to innovative ideas but does not intend to change its initiatives without community support. For example, RRISD could decide to allocate land it owns in either northeast Round Rock or near Avery Ranch for an early-college education high school, should residents express an interest in such a facility, he said.
Middle schools dedicated to dual-language education or science, technology, engineering and math could also be ideas on ways to provide parents and students with more school choices, Flores said.
"School choice and parental choice is becoming more and more what is expected," Flores said. "What we're saying is 'Let's provide school choice within our public schools.'"
Timing is an important factor in discussing RRISD's future, Flores said, and because the district had trustee elections and a $299 million bond election in 2014, it was not the right time then to begin planning.
RRISD hosted four public meetings to engage the community Jan. 22 and 23 at locations throughout the district. Engage! sought opinions from attendees concerning technology in classrooms, the teacher's role and what purpose extracurricular activities have in a student's life.
Caldwell Heights Elementary School parent Alicia Reich, an electrical engineer, attended a public meeting and said she is interested in the future of science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM, in RRISD.
"I try to get [my children] very involved in STEM education so that they don't think that engineering or science is just math and boring, but more exciting," she said.
The strategic plan, once adopted by the board, will serve as a point of reference in future discussions about bonds, Flores said.
For more information about the strategic planning process, visit www.roundrockisd.org.