When we think about schooling and the future, as school leaders we should be conducting “inward soul searching”. These actions help us to decide where we want our school to be in the future and how we are equipping our learners to be successful future citizens.
Many schools have a vision and mission, but it gets lost in the busyness of school life. Most school’s have a motto. Is the school’s motto which was created when the school was established still relevant today? How do the mission, vision and motto interlink into the life of the school? Conducting strategic planning sessions identifies how the school is going to reach the vision, mission and goals, as well as being sustainable moving forward.
Why is a school strategic plan most valuable?
The Strategic Plan assists the school to focus its energy. It is a long term plan, which formalises the school’s future. It begins with the school’s vision and mission. These lay the foundation for the goals and values. Formulating the plan, includes exploring the school’s present position, and agreeing on the future plan. All stakeholders, everyone, is on the same path. Exploring how the path will be achieved? What does achieving the vision mean to every person of the school community? What changes need to take place to achieve the goals?
The Strategic Plan sets out the clear goals and objectives. Everyone knows what is expected. Setting out the steps to address the sustainability of the school. In this way everyone knows how success will be measured. What is your school’s vision? Is it clearly visible in the school? Do the school leadership and staff know how the vision is being achieved? What processes have been put in place to achieve the mission? The implementation plan addresses how these goals will be achieved.
The Strategic Plan puts the whole staff on the same path. Incorporating staff into the
planning and decision making builds understanding and support. The implementation plan may include professional development goals for staff members to achieve the future vision of the school. Are the teaching strategies and methods being used in the classroom equating to the school’s vision and mission? Are the strategic plan goals impacting the lessons? Are learners and teachers assisting to achieve the school vision? Empowering and including the teachers in a “no-teacher-left-behind” scenario, builds the staff community.
The Strategic Plan focuses on the learner. The Strategic Plan incorporates learner input. The implementation plan addresses the impacts, benefits and learning scenarios and environment for each learner.
The Strategic Plan builds connections, increases engagement and communication due to the common focus. All the school members; leadership, staff, learners , governing body and parents; agree on the same priorities, and work towards the same goals. The implementation plan addresses how all stakeholders are going to be informed and included in the process. How input and feedback from the community is going to be incorporated? How is the school going to be perceived by the community in the future? How the whole school community is going to be involved in the process? To achieve success, ensure that all stakeholders in the school understand and participate in the process. “Get buy-in” from all stakeholders.
The Strategic Planning process creates an awareness of the school's resources. Audits are conducted to determine and confirm existing resources. Considerations and decisions can be made about which resources need to be acquired to achieve the long term goals. Having all staff members informed ensures that everyone in the school is working towards the same goals.
The Strategic Plan provides guidelines to assist in budgeting and capex decisions. These decisions, in the long term, could improve efficiency. Linking the strategic plan to the budget, reduces unnecessary expenditure. Careful and wise long term budget planning and capital expenditure, is beneficial to ensuring the sustainability of the school. Awareness of budget expenditure among all staff members creates a responsible financial environment. With an informed community, cost savings may be found.
The Strategic Plan may define a 3, 5 or 10 year implementation plan or even longer. Turn to the school’s vision! The Strategic Plan provides a common focus for success. The Strategic Plan should not be cast in stone, be adaptable, review the plan annually, adjust and tweak to remain relevant. Annual school strategic planning sessions should be built into the school planning calendar.
Strategic Planning is a process
by which we can envision the future
and develop the necessary procedures and operations to influence
and achieve that future.
The best way to do this is to conduct strategic planning sessions. These sessions may include the school leadership initially, with or without the governing body. Then extending into the wider community.
Contact me, Karen Walstra, for strategic planning workshops, professional development presentations and workshops.