New Fayette County schools superintendent Tom Shelton unveiled an "entry plan" Thursday that outlines what he hopes to accomplish during his first 100 days.
As a centerpiece of the plan, Shelton said he would seek advice, ideas, comments, criticism and other input from parents, students, teachers, taxpayers, community leaders and other stakeholders in the school system.
"I want to learn from everyone in the community," he said.
The resulting information will be essential in helping him "hit the ground running," Shelton said in announcing the plan at Commerce Lexington's Good Morning Bluegrass Breakfast at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort & Spa.
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Shelton is planning a series of meetings and informational interviews to hear from elected officials, business and religious leaders, media representatives and others. The sessions are to focus on a variety of topics, including what the school district should change or keep the same, what the superintendent should or should not do, and general advice for the superintendent.
"This formal entry plan will provide me with the time and opportunity to gather critical information quickly about the needs of children, staff, the school system and community," said Shelton, who took over as superintendent on Sept. 1. "I will immerse myself in learning about the Fayette County Public Schools and accelerate my learning curve in order to effectively lead the school district."
To foster the process, the school district has created a place on its Web site where residents may post ideas or comments for Shelton to review. To post a comment, go to FCPS.net/telltom.
Printed comment forms will be available soon in all Fayette County schools for those who lack computer access. Residents may pick up a form, fill it out and mail it. They soon will be able to call the school district's central office to have forms mailed to them.
People don't have to sign their comments, but they will be asked to list what stakeholder group they represent, such as student or parent.
Entry plans for new superintendents are becoming common in many public school districts across the country, but this is the first time Fayette County has used one.
The plan is divided into three phases. The first, which ended Aug. 31, was a summerlong "pre-work" phase that focused on getting to know the district and the community. The familiarization process will intensify in Phase II, which will run through Shelton's first 100 days, ending Feb. 13.
Phase III, continuing into May, calls for Shelton to complete a summary report on what he has done and list future steps for the school district.
Shelton pledged to keep the public informed of what the schools are doing to improve student achievement.
"I'm going to be very transparent with this community," he said.
"Every decision we make must be based on what's best for students. All students, and I want emphasize that word all, deserve an excellent and equitable education."