Where is Your School System Headed?
What does your organization seek to accomplish in the next five years? If this isn't known across your school system, you're probably on the road to wherever. Is that good enough for your students and your community? Many school systems lack focus and a long-term vision of success. School leaders may an idea of where the organization is headed, but the vision is individual; neither known or by supported by the stakeholders that must move the schools forward.
Strategic planning is a systematic process through which an organization agrees on - and builds commitment among key stakeholders to - priorities that are essential to its mission and are responsive to the environment. Strategic planning guides the acquisition and allocation of resources to achieve these priorities (Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations by Allison and Kaye, 2005).
Schools are complex organizations that don't operate in vacuums. Indeed, they are inextricably connected to the communities they serve, and they have an exceptionally wide range of stakeholders. Through Strategic Planning, your school system can engage stakeholders to determine core values, clarify the mission of the organization and set a vision for the future. Based on the vision, key stakeholders can collaboratively determine the priorities for the next five years. Using the Strategic Plan as an essential tool for long-term improvement, leaders can then communicate and reiterate the vision while devoting resources to those things that are most important for the success of the school system.
Don't underestimate the importance or power of collaborative Strategic Planning for your school system. If you're serious about continuous improvement, build consensus regarding where you are going and then choose the road your organization will take to get there.