Looking at data is an essential piece to any plan you make. Data is not the only piece of information you need when making decisions. Maybe it is a lesson, a unit of instruction, an improvement plan, an approach to hire new staff or a rollout plan for products. If you live in a large household, you need a strategic plan to tackle the bathroom use; if there is only one. So the human factor is also needed when making decisions.
Leaders provide a guided planning system (GPS) of support for staff to use to map details. GPS is needed to accomplish a strategic plan addressing targeted areas with action items. However, there is more to every plan than words on paper and creatively crafted presentations. The GPS gives direction.
Before you begin this process, I recommend reading Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn’s work. Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts and Systems and Taking Action Guide: Building Coherence in School Districts and Systems. In addition, familiarize yourself with the work of John Hattie. I have additional individuals I believe will help your work, but these are the foundational pieces as we begin.
“First, we should clarify what coherence is and is not. It is not simply align- ment of goals, resources and structures, although that may help. Our definition of coherence is the shared depth of understanding about the nature of the work. In other words, it is fully and only subjective.
It does not serve much purpose for education leaders to “explain” coherence or rely on slick strategic plans. Because coherence exists in the minds of people, it must be developed across given groups.
So how do leaders achieve shared understanding about the work given the turmoil and the comings and goings of policies and people? There is only one way to do this — through purposeful interaction among members of the organization working on a common agenda, identifying and consolidating what works and making meaning over time.”
(Coherence Making-School Administration, 2016)-Fullan & Quinn
A collective purpose supports the foundation of our focused direction. We know that having a solid foundation is best for all of us to stand on in order to move forward with best results. The GPS provides us with a guide for our direction, but it is our purpose where our passion brings our collaborative culture together as we build capacity.
What is the purpose of your strategic plan?
The work we continue to do will deepen the learning for all children as we continue to strive for improvements, acceleration, innovation, and accountability.
That sentence is a mouthful but it contains many of the components of the framework for coherence. We need to include our stakeholders in our planning process and one group that is always left out I believe is the key to the success to any improvement plan in education-students
One of my famous quotes- “Education is something we do with children, not to them.” Why not include them in the process of developing the plan? After all the process affects them more than anyone else.
I am passionate about what we do as leaders, teachers, families, community members, and lawmakers. In my many years of education, community, and politics, I have seen many different programs, leaders, and laws. It seems to me these years before us will be the most critical. We experienced a global pandemic. We are now facing racism against all races, violence, curriculum changes, shifts in law and order, and many other social issues which always find their way to the classrooms. Leaders will have to find solutions; not all will like them but need to be made. Time is something you cannot give back to another. We are seeing many moments taken away that can never be returned; let’s not take any more.
Start your GPS with completing a needs assessment. What are the needs in your school, district or organization? Please do this together as a top-down approach never works but an inside-out will. Vision is clouded if not everyone can see clearly.
Needs Assessment will help to find gaps in the areas identified as desired outcomes to your current position. An example could be 5th-grade reading levels and math levels. If you are a business leader, it could be looking at production lines or employment diversity.
Once you have decided what areas you will be measuring, make sure to get data from several areas to precisely evaluate the situation. Then you can begin to place all of the needs in a priority ranking before designing your approach to implementation of strategies, practices and evidence-based interventions. Your priority ranking also helps in allocating resources to address the needs.
I just brushed the surface but am happy to help further. Just send me a message, and I am so glad to help with any questions you have. Happy to be part of the solution daily.