Developing a Strategic Plan that outlines your mission, vision and high-level goals for the next three to five years is an important task. But developing plans to ensure those goals are achieved, is where the rubber meets the road. No high-level goal will be realized until each department, school, and person, is clear on what they need to do in support of it. Using a solid process can provide better thinking producing better results.
Without a detailed roadmap, departments often have diverse approaches to their planning, or even worse, they have no structured plan and end up misfiring on achievement of district goals. Tuscaloosa City Schools under the leadership of Dr. Michael Daria, was determined to avoid this fate by ensuring individual departments used specific steps to drive the planning process. Although departments differed in their goals and objectives, a common language and step by step process ensured that each collaboratively devised a realistic and actionable plan which will help the district achieve its goals.
Recently, Tuscaloosa’s Special Education Department completed its planning to ensure optimal outcomes for students receiving specialized services. Staff members at the middle school and high school worked to create and sustain more effective advisory programs. And those involved in the Career-Tech program developed a comprehensive 3-year plan for continuous improvement. Each department/program now has specific, actionable goals – and a plan for achieving them!
The planning process helped each department go beyond goal setting. They each:
- Developed an understanding of district goals as they relate to their department/program to get a clear picture of the current situation
- Set departmental and program goals and objectives that support both district priorities and the needs of the department.
- Determined indicators of success by asking: “What will success look like? What are the ideal outcomes?”
- Developed a specific action plan for each objective, that specifies action steps, what group or individual is responsible and a due date.
TregoED’s departmental planning model allowed each area to develop comprehensive action plans that will help guide them over the course of the next few years and will serve as a GPS to help ensure continuous improvement. Even the best of district Strategic Planning is only a dream without a well thought out plan at the department level. You can achieve “Better Schools through Better Thinking” with the right processes in place.