Strategic planning forms the backbone of any successful change, improvement, or transformation effort. Yet, as most of the field knows, strategic planning typically lacks the power to influence district improvement. The Center works with schools, departments, districts, and other organizations to gather candid input: collect and analyze relevant information, and create a focused road map that includes implementation, communication, and measurement. Strategic planning can take a variety of forms including but not limited to:
- Direct coaching of leaders to help them design leadership actions to deliver on organizational strategy;
- Scenario planning with working groups charged with making recommendations for inclusion in a strategic plan;
- Backwards planning from outcome to strategy, and capturing that planning in a strategy map;
- Audits of current initiatives to help organizations become more focused and coherent;
- “Pre-mortem” of a plan to find the gaps, flaws, and weaknesses before the plan is put into place.
Given the depth and breadth of our work to improve student achievement and school climate while and close the achievement gap, we needed to pause and assess progress to date which the Center supported through an audit of culture in the district. Based on the results of that audit, it became apparent that we needed to identify and focus on the attributes of strong building based leadership and then redesign our central office to support that strong building based leadership. Staff from the Center for School Change led several sessions with building and district leaders where we were able to have open, honest conversations about our work together to improve outcomes and opportunities for students. These conversations, while difficult, were productive due to the skilled planning and facilitation of staff from the Center.