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The Connect Now Initiative is designed to develop a process that would gather input to determine the community’s collective values and goals for education; create environments for productive conversations and to ultimately provide an opportunity for collaborative and organizational leadership in support of schools.
The initial stage of Connect Now was an 18-month process that listened to and elicited a clear statement from the community articulating shared goals for education. Citizens all across Collier County participated in 54 conversations (in English, Spanish and Creole) around what they wanted for their community and schools. A representative group of 46 individuals then came together in three working sessions to craft from all of the input gathered a Community Statement that would provide a platform on which to move forward. This Statement was published in the Naples Daily News April 5, 2009.
The School Board and district leadership have been very and made the commitment to build on what the community had articulated in Connect Now for its strategic planning work. They launched a long range strategic planning and community engagement process Fall 2009 with the purpose of producing a vision, clear goals, and associated operational plans for Collier County Schools.
The Education Foundation provides the volunteers and resources to continue to gather feedback to the District strategic planning process. In addition, the Foundation has utilized the Statement and the process to strengthen its existing work with students, teachers and principals and to identify new strategies to support a culture of productive interaction between schools and communities and to facilitate strategic collaboration to serve the community through education.