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Superintendent details his vision for Lynn schools

New Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patrick Tutwiler shakes hands with Anthony Vasquez, 10, before he starts 5th grade at Hood Elementary School. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — Superintendent Dr. Patrick Tutwiler shared with the School Committee on Thursday night his intention to compile a multi-year district strategic plan for Lynn Public Schools.

Tutwiler said all school districts in the state are required to publish an annual improvement plan, but the last strategic plan for the Lynn Public Schools expired in 2017.

“It’s time to engage the work again and we would like to do so in a collaborative fashion,” he said.

Tutwiler said administrative officials are proceeding with the Planning for Success model, which is endorsed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and provides resources districts and schools can use to conduct an inclusive planning process.

Lori Likis, DESE’s Planning for Success consultant and an educational consultant to districts and schools, has been enlisted by Lynn Public Schools to facilitate the plan’s development.

The process is being paid for through a Title I grant. Planning will include six retreats for the district’s leadership team and four retreats for an inclusive planning team, comprised of students, parents, teachers, partner organizations and elected officials, according to Tutwiler.

“This parallel effort allows the two groups to delve deep in the areas of their knowledge and experience,” Tutwiler said.

Tutwiler, who started his new role as superintendent last month after serving for three years as deputy superintendent, said he was asked during his interview with the School Committee about his vision for the school district.

His vision, he said, is for the Lynn Public Schools to continuously evolve as a district wherein each and every student is known, supported and acknowledged for who he or she is and educators and community stakeholders engage in a partnered effort to maximize the potential for that district.

The problem with that vision, Tutwiler said, is that it’s his own and not that of the school district.

“I believe really deeply that sustainable visions are constructed, not imposed,” Tutwiler said. “What I propose to you this evening is a substantive, inclusive approach to developing a multi-year strategy driven by a collaboratively-driven vision.”

School Committee members voted unanimously to support the development of a district strategic plan and praised the superintendent’s efforts.

School Committee member Jared Nicholson called the proposal a “very well thought out plan to make a plan.”

“You’ve put your money where your mouth is, boss, and I appreciate you in so many ways because the teachers appreciate you, the kids are going to appreciate you because I think we all have a common goal of student achievement and I think if we collaborate together, we can make things happen,” said School Committee member Brian Castellanos. “I think a lot of us are ready for that change.”

School Committee member Michael Satterwhite said there needs to be a better vision for the school district.

“It definitely starts with what you believe the vision of Lynn Public Schools should be, and then we crafted how we’re going to be able to do that by meeting together with other leaders, other stakeholders, by reaching out to professionals who have done this over and over again,” he said.

“You have to first admit that you don’t know it all in order to learn and that’s a big step. I support this. It’s not going to be a burden on our budget and it’s only going to make the school district stronger, wiser.”

 

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