Northwest Colorado BOCES considers pooling equipment under new strategic plan
Steamboat Springs — The Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Education Services is considering pooling assistive technology equipment for students in an effort to save district costs.
The idea could mean that expensive, seldom-used equipment for some students could be shared among districts when needed, or even with other BOCES across the state.
This and other ideas were discussed as part of Northwest Colorado BOCES’ 2015 to 2018 strategic plan, a document that more than 20 district and BOCES staff members worked on during an open session last week.
Examples of the equipment could include a Hoyer Lift for moving a wheelchair-bound student or expensive electronics, according to Northwest Colorado BOCES Executive Director Amy Bollinger.
“It could be cost-effective to have a pool of BOCES equipment to share; that’s the whole idea of the BOCES,” Bollinger said.
Bollinger said another strategic planning focus was to calculate the best use of grant funding, as it applies to further costs or burden to member districts.
This might mean assessing the cost and inconvenience of releasing staff to participate in teacher development that is happening because of a grant, as an example, Bollinger said.
“We’re really trying to have the least financial impacts on districts as we work through grants,” Bollinger said.
Bollinger is working on systems mapping through each district, assessing best practices and seeking consistency in various BOCES-related processes.
“We want to see if we’re being efficient with costs and time,” she said. “It’s a way to assess what’s working well.”
Bollinger said that staff members within each district were surveyed about what is and isn’t working well for them and what the employees think are the benefits of their work.
She said employees were clear about wanting compliance, communication, collaboration and consistency when it comes to their work.
“There’s not consistency,” Bollinger said. “There are areas of need that may not be getting addressed.”
As part of strategic planning, BOCES and district representatives reviewed end goals from the previous 2012 to 2015 strategic planning, revising some of the sub-categories but keeping the same targets for the new 2015 to 2018 plan.
The broad goals include enhancing student achievement by increasing effectiveness of district and BOCES staff members, addressing the needs of all student populations, utilizing economies of scale by cooperative program development and purchases and to support staff and member districts through effective leadership, efficient operations and accountability.
“These four end results were really overarching,” Bollinger said. “And I think they still ring true.”
Bollinger said BOCES has undergone other changes during the past year and a half, and an overhaul of the ideas in the strategic plan didn’t seem like a good idea.
“I didn’t feel as if they were off-target,” she said.
Comments were collected from strategic planning participants that Bollinger now is working through.
A final draft of the plan should be ready to present to the Northwest Colorado BOCES board and the superintendent’s advisory council by the board’s Jan. 14 meeting.
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