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Success Favors the Prepared: First 90 Days Plan

Posted by Scott Barron on May 16, 2014 7:59:47 AM
Scott Barron

First 90 DaysDo you have Laser Focus on the best strategies and results for this upcoming year? Shared vision with crystal clear priorities?

Intentional planning for the first 90-days of the school year will help your leaders be better organized, with clear direction and accountability for everyone and a contagious culture for achievement. Your goal is focused strategy that allocates resources according to your priorities and builds unifying vision throughout the school community.

If your school's fiscal year begins July 1, below are some suggestions for your First 90-Day Plan.


On-Boarding is strategically accelerating the learning curve so that new people in your school are fully productive faster. How can you design the initial experience for new employees, students, and parents to help them build relationships, understand the culture and processes, and achieve early wins? When done well you will deepen engagement, increase retention, and lay the foundation for a great year.

Expectations are clearly expressed within the most successful schools. What are the quantitative and qualitative results that you need and want from each administrator, teacher and staff member? How will you communicate these expectations, provide coaching for maximum performance, collect accurate data, and deliver effective evaluations?

Processes & Systems are where school designers can make significant improvements for the upcoming year. Your key processes include enrollment, instructional design and delivery, resource planning and acquisition, financial planning and management, innovation cycle, talent recruiting, coaching and development, and communications. What adjustments can be made this year to enhance the experience for your faculty, students, and parents?


First Impressions are valuable for many reasons, so what will you do to craft the initial experience for students and parents? Every new encounter with a prospective student means new eyes are evaluating your school, and that initial experience is very difficult to undo. The facilities, grounds, classrooms, etc.--that "curb appeal" is important and communicates the core values of your leadership and organization.

Assess Innovation Progress for your team that is pursuing new initiatives. They started back in early July working through a process of evaluating the opportunities to improve the value proposition of the school, and are now halfway through the research and development effort. They will be prepared to share with the administration and faculty what has been accomplished, what was learned, and how the results advance the mission.

Launch with Momentum, using the energy from the narrative of your vision for the year, the innovative progress being made, and the excitement of the new faculty and staff. Faculty culture remains a top priority, providing the resources, supports, and paths to achieve at an unusually high level.


Increase Responsiveness by continuing to improve your team's capacity to anticipate the needs of your teachers and students. Eliminate leadership bottlenecks and measure the effectiveness of the organizations ability to provide answers in a timely manner. Cultivate a humility that accepts opportunities for improvement and listens to the community.

Wrap-up Initiatives under development by your innovation team as they approach the end of the 90-day cycle. Schedule time and make plans to celebrate the accomplishments from this quarter, along with ways to share the lessons learned. You've given this team autonomy and accountability to refine the design, and the other employees of your school can benefit from their experiences.

Prepare a New Plan for innovation by using your list of growth opportunities to determine what the priorities are for the next cycle October-December. Your list has been expanding with ideas from board members, administrators, parents, teachers, coaches, staff, and students. Evaluate the options and then launch the team that will be responsible for implementing these purpose-driven initiatives.

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