ACS Strategic Planning Process Underway

Strategic Planning Committee talks with AHS students.


Carly Bertling, Journalist

“ACS’s goal is to graduate students who are prepared for the next chapter of their lives. We do that already successfully, but to do it better means we are constantly reflecting and listening to the needs of our community.”

Diana Penny is the Vice Principal of Arlington High School. She plays a major role in Arlington Community Schools’ Strategic Plan Committee. Penny works with the other members of the AHS Strategic Planning Team to brainstorm ways to keep AHS graduates prepared for College and Career upon the end of their tenure in high school. Part of the ACS 5-year strategic planning process is the student listening sessions. These sessions are held with current Arlington High School students from all grades to hear their thoughts and concerns with offerings and opportunities.

The strategic plan helps set a long-term vision for the district and how ACS grows academically and as a school system. It also gives the community a chance to look at the strengths and weaknesses, to identify areas to improve. “The ‘Portrait of a Graduate’ is our vision for our students and what they will need to succeed in college, career, and life. To develop the ‘POG’, the district is seeking feedback from students, teachers, AHS alumni, parents, and the community.” With this listening, it has provided discussion within the community. “Since the listening sessions, we have identified areas that need review and some of our areas of strength. We have heard there are areas we can better prepare students for their life after AHS,” says Penny.

I really like we are hearing from many voices to guide the district’s work for the next 5 years”

— Diana Penny, Vice Principal

While the District is officially in the beginning stage of progress, the feedback is being compiled, and action steps are being created to address areas of immediate deficit. No decisions have been made yet, and the feedback has generated additional brainstorming sessions in the Strategic Plan Committee.

One thing has been certain from this opportunity, students selected for the listening session felt their voices were heard. “It gave us an opportunity to give feedback, when there hadn’t been an opportunity there before,” says Junior Maci Webb. AHS Junior Brooklyn Criswell reflects saying “They way they stressed our feedback was driving real change in our schools made us feel important and valued. I like how they listened to everyone’s concerns and ideas. It made me feel comfortable sharing my ideas.”

“I really like we are hearing from many voices to guide the district’s work for the next 5 years,” states Vice Principal Diana Penny.

Arlington Community Schools will prepare the findings and use it to drive future sessions for the Strategic Plan Committee.


For more information on Arlington Community Schools, visit