The ONE THING that a School Strategic Plan Must Prioritize
Do you have a strategic plan or school improvement plan? Have you prioritized the ONE THING that has the biggest impact on student growth and overall school growth?
We recently began designing a strategic plan (or Growth Plan--because that's the ultimate goal) for a few select U.S. schools.
A review of school strategic plans available online illustrates the confusion about the ONE THING that a school strategic plan must prioritize. The initiatives/goals typically include:
- Rigorous instruction
- Data-Driven instructional planning
- Improved communications and marketing
- Curriculum review & improvement
- Instructional & technology strategies
- Social-emotional learning
- Ensuring all students have opportunities and resources necessary to realize potential
- Academic coaching to encompass all students
- Expanded offerings and opportunities for students
- More diversity and inclusion
That ONE THING doesn't even make the list!
One school administrator in our network was given over 35 goals to accomplish this year by the school board--and not one item in that exhaustive (and exhausting) list made the ONE THING the most important thing.
(By the way, a "strategic plan" that includes that many goals for the head is a classic illustration of dangerous deficits in School Health and Leadership Capacity!)
What is the ONE THING? It's the People. Your people. Your faculty--including teachers, staff, coaches, and every other employee of the school.
When about 80% of your budget is the investment your making in people and 80% of the educational value is delivered through faculty quality and engagement, doesn't it make that this should be the ONE THING that is the top priority in your organizational assessment and strategic planning?
School leadership is a human endeavor that requires expertise in talent first and foremost. When you put "Who First," you're most likely to achieve your other goals.