"This is not the kind of thing where you sit and listen," Price told the 50 officials, educators and members of the public attending the strategic planning session for Scotland County Schools.
Price, superintendent of the Wilson County School System and facilitator for the two-day affair, said that a vision is the most important piece of a strategic plan and lays the foundation for what should guide the school system.
"A strategic plan drives an organization."
Participants took this seriously, first discussing a vision in small groups, then hashing out a single statement in a two-hour long ordeal.
Darryl Todd, a Wagram pastor participating in the event, said the statement must have unequivocal purpose.
"We cannot accept mediocrity in our vision; we can not even leave room for it."
People debated how realistic different visions were and scrutinized the connotations of individual words, slowly shaping a unifying statement.
The statement, which can later be amended, is as follows: "Scotland County Schools will graduate all students college and career ready."
After defining a vision, they looked at missions and values, ending the discussion with a harsh look at Scotland's numbers.
Price accused Scotland teachers of padding grades by giving scores for participation, or completion of tasks other than school work. He gave bringing a box of tissues to school, or getting a parents to sign an interim report card, as examples.
"I think it's measuring the wrong thing," he said. "Their grades should reflect their performance."
This gap in grading has caused a disparity between report cards and test scores, he said. People who do well in class should also do well on end-of-course testing, but that isn't the case.
School board member Calvin Newton praised the facilitator for keeping those in attendance focused.
"We are seeing it in a different light than our last strategic planning," Newton said. "I think we will get a little different outcome out of this."
The school board member said definitely showed that "there is plenty of work to be done."
Scotland Superintendent Rick Stout was happy with the turnout of community members.
"We are all working together as stake holders to make a difference," he said.
Stout also felt the group learned a lot from the process and was making strong contributions to the plan.
"I think it has opened some eyes up from the community in terms of where we are at as a school system and where we need to go in five years,"
During the session, Price criticized the used of benchmark counties, which was set in place by former superintendent Shirley Prince. He felt that it sets a lower standard for the school system.
Stout agreed, saying he prefers to compare to state averages.
"You can make anything look good with benchmarks," he said.
The planning session continues Friday at the A.B. Gibson Center at 8:30 a.m. and runs through 4 p.m.