As the old adage commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin goes, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This nugget of wisdom especially rings true in education. This is why after the last bell rings and children file out of the halls in retreat for the summer, educators begin prepping lesson plans and district leaders begin searching for innovative technology to improve student success for the upcoming year. School districts that successfully execute their plans see improved student outcomes and empowered teachers that boost the district’s reputation.
To use another idiom, “The devil is in the details.” Indeed, it is the details and execution that bring a great plan to fruition. Strategic planning is not just setting goals, but road mapping how the goals will be achieved and what resources are needed to move forward. So as the spring semester winds down, district leaders everywhere will be asking themselves one important question; what are the goals and implementation needed for a successful, student-centered 2019-2020 school year?
The goals will vary from district to district, but creating a strategic plan can be broken down into four fundamental steps that everyone can use to reach their desired outcomes:
What are your schools’ strengths and weakness? In the business world, this type of examination would be called a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Pinpointing areas of success and areas of failures will help you begin to formulate a strategy while identifying opportunities and obstacles will help with execution.
Assessing and analyzing helps lay the ground work for formulating a strategy. Once you’ve identified your SWOT, you can create an action plan that details how your objective will be achieved. You should also set metrics that will help track progress once you are ready to implement your plan.
You’ve assessed your previous school year and formulated the perfect strategy, now its time to execute. This is the fun part, but it’s also where many organizations and school districts struggle. As with most things, it’s easy to come up with the “what”. The “how” can be fairly evasive because we tend to conceptualize while losing focus on implemental things that come into play such as time, budget, technology capabilities, and other constraints.
What good is a strategic plan if you don’t evaluate its success? A great strategy isn’t a one and done experiment, it requires continual monitoring and constant re-evaluation. Your strategy shouldn’t be an inflexible blueprint, but a guide that helps you make strategic, intentional decisions shifting towards a defined outcome.
These four basic tenants of strategic planning lay out a basic outline for creating a great strategy. However, it is investing in deep collaborative analyses that can set school districts apart from those who have outstanding wins and those who don’t. Virtucom’s Professional Services solution helps school districts create a sustainable framework for strategizing and implementing plans that accomplish and manage goals by offering knowledgeable expertise on helping schools not only strategize, but succeed. Learn more about Virtucom’s Professional Services solution.