Getting 2020 Vision

Published 2:54 pm Tuesday, December 2, 2014

BUCKINGHAM — School board members in Buckingham—along with the school division, as a whole—are in the process of getting their conceptual glasses checked so they can see down the road with 2020 vision.

That’s the year 2020, and a vision in the form of a division-wide comprehensive plan that touches on every aspect of the division, from technology to instruction, and from transportation to athletics.

The draft 32-page document, which was presented to school board members in mid-November, was the first reading of the plan, says Division Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead, who says Virginia’s Standards of Quality require that each school board adopt a unified, long-range plan.

Email newsletter signup

“In so doing, we wanted not only to meet the requirements of the Standards of Quality…we also wanted to make it a usable document for the community or those who may want to move inside the community…We strongly believe, as the planning committee, that we should include historical information to give a context of who we are in Buckingham,” Snead told The Herald recently.

The goals in the document are categorized between purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems, and using results for continuous improvement.

“A vision, mission, and motto [were] established and utilized as the cornerstone for all thought prior to the development of the goals,” the plan’s forward states.

Just a sampling of the goal strategies include administering surveys to stakeholders, reinstating middle school athletics, installing a district-wide classroom communications system, having a 1:1 device to student ratio at the middle and high schools, creating a long-term major and short-term minor capital upgrade priority lists, establishing an annual four school bus rotation with the County, and increasing student Standards of Learning (SOL) scores.

Many of the goals and strategies in the plan are already in place or ongoing, while some could begin and become implemented in the years ahead, according to the draft plan, which Snead emphasizes is a living document.

“What is every element of Buckingham County Public Schools, and how are we thinking and planning to move forward? That’s also a powerful piece for us…” the school chief added. “Since we really took on the meaning of comprehensive, literally,” he laughed, “we realized that the other plans that we do, like the technology plan…all of those need to be referenced in here, but due to the voluminous amount…of work, we did not want to fold every bit of those elements and those plans [into it].”

Snead says he’s hoping that the plan will dovetail with the division’s school improvement efforts, “…and with an outside accreditation agency, such as AdvancED,” he noted.

A large portion of the plan addresses using results for continuous improvement, addressing SOL accreditation and benchmarks, and meeting federal annual measureable objectives. For instance, one goal outlined is “to increase SAT scores to meet and ultimately exceed the state average of 515 for reading, 512 for math, and 493 for writing…” and has a timeline status of ongoing.

The document, says Snead, represents organization and thoughtfulness, adding that the bottom line is, “We want to make sure we’re doing the best we can do and we want to think and work smarter, not harder…I think it’s really coming together.”

“That’s very budget-sensitive,” Snead said of reinstating middle school athletics. “And, that’s why the timeline is there. Again, it’s a plan that looks out into the future. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt, through input from the community, through input from my school board, through input from my kids and parents, we know that we want to reinstate middle school athletics.”

“…Remember that this is a living document. I think that’s important…We will have a protocol for how we add to the comprehensive plan,” Snead related. “But the bottom line is this, it’s got to be said that it’s a living document.”

The draft plan can be accessed on the division’s website at, and Snead says he welcomes public input on the plan by contacting his office.

The plan, which is subject to approval by the school board, will be revisited annually “in a thoughtful manner,” he added.