Stop drifting and grab your anchor! As school leaders, we are often stuck in the whirlwind of conflict between discontented naysayers and champions of innovation. In this space, we need to consider how we define our ground and how to lead forward while honoring tradition. Most importantly, we must plan thoughtfully around how to prepare young people for an unknown future.
A good mechanism for figuring out this path forward is creating a Strategic Plan. Through a facilitated process, stakeholders develop a framework for the future, which can unite your community and support students to reach their full potential. In this process, core beliefs, goals, and action plans become your anchor.
Why You Need a Strategic Plan to Anchor Your School District
A strategic plan becomes your guide, and your school district community can hold to its anchor framework when making tough decisions. The plan serves as a reference for aligning programs as it is a collective vision for measuring progress over the next five years. The plan empowers your vision, mission, and set of core beliefs to come to life through goals that are relevant and measurable. The step by-step action plans developed by staff as part of the strategic planning process are visible to all and monitored to ensure achievement. The strategic plan is your road map; a handy reference when asked where you are going, how you will get there, and when you will reach this destination.
What about the kite? When our strategic goals are met, our students soar. This is the bottom line. The anchor holds us to a firm foundation that is strong enough to hold the tug of the kite, wherever and however our students choose to fly.
Without a Strategic Plan, Competing Priorities Can Drift School Leaders Out to Sea
Without a strategic plan, we tend to drift with the latest initiatives, the loudest voices, or the strongest pressures. With a plan in place, we become anchored and grounded in our decision making. When it comes to education, everyone thinks they know how to improve our schools and it can be easy to shift directions without the anchor of a solid strategic plan. After all, almost all adults have attended school, so they think they know something about how to run them. This experience creates a sense of entitlement to express opinions at school board meetings, on social media, and wherever people are gathered. Yet, the public, although knowledgeable, are not experts on learning, nor do they have all the answers for improving the organizational functioning of schools. When educators engage in a collaborative process, seek evidence, and learn from our data, we are in a better position to create a framework that brings about student success and well-being, and to fight against the “latest and greatest innovations” and trends that may not serve our students.
The Right Drivers to Help Your Kite Soar
Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn, in their book Coherence; The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems (Corwin 2016), identify four “Right Drivers in Action.” These drivers include Focusing Direction, Cultivating Collaborative Cultures, Deepening Learning, and Securing Accountability. A strong strategic plan incorporates these four drivers.
A thoughtful strategic plan holds promise for the future. PLC Associates, a division of Scholarus Learning, is ready to guide you through this process and support you in setting your course. Our proven track record includes a side-by-side approach to setting up your team, gathering local data, sharing research on best practices, identifying critical issues and opportunities, and guiding the process that allows your district to realize its vision.
Now is the time to create your blueprint for the next five years. Set your anchor and send your kite skyward.
Accomplish Great Things in Your District
We work with you to close gaps, replicate best practices, and build high-impact, sustainable systems.
Let’s Chat About How We Can Help
Reach out to PLC Associates for a 15-minute solutions conversation.
Call us directly at 1-800-774-6801. We look forward to talking with you.