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I'm Dr. Jeannie Gudith, Founder and CEO of JAG Consulting. We help you develop, improve, buy or sell your private school.
A crucial factor that sets good private schools apart from bad ones is strategic planning. When school leaders strategically plan, they can see the future and identify where their school is going. This allows them to plan for things like facilities, staffing, and even curriculum in advance.
Having a strategic plan is not optional anymore. It’s almost a given for schools to have one in place. And this article will briefly explain how it works.
But before we get into the meat of the matter, let’s get some basics out of the way.
Strategic planning is a process that helps schools identify the goals they want to achieve and then figure out the steps they need to take to achieve those goals. Strategic planning involves:
This process helps chart out the “Strategic Plan”. A strategic plan lays down the foundation for the school’s operations and provides a roadmap for its future.
A strategic plan is a document that outlines the school’s vision, mission, and goals. It also includes the resources required to achieve those goals. It should be a living document that can be updated periodically to reflect changes in the environment or in the school’s objectives.
The six key components of a school’s strategic plan are:
Developing a strategic plan may appear to be simple at first glance, but it’s anything but. A strategic plan bridges the gap between where a school is and where it wants to be by setting the best course of action. Which is why it requires careful planning and forethought.
While the process of developing a strategic plan may vary, the steps involved remain more or less the same.
The first step in strategic planning is to create an organizational chart that includes all stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, and administrators. This will help you understand how your school functions as a whole and who you should be working with when making decisions about your school’s direction.
A vision statement is a long-term goal or aspiration, while a mission statement is the organization’s purpose. The vision and mission statements should align with one another to form the school’s goals. You can also identify the goals and objectives of your school in this step.
This step entails reviewing all of your school’s data, including data that may be hard to measure, such as teacher satisfaction levels and student involvement rates. This will help you understand what strengths your school has and how best to capitalize on them. For instance, if you find that one of your strengths is recruiting students from outside the school for internships, consider whether there are ways in which you could improve these programs to attract more students from different backgrounds or different regions.
Following the above assessment, the next step is to develop goals for your school based on input from stakeholders and analyzing data points such as enrollment, demographics, budgeting projections, etc. Once these goals are established, then it’s important to create strategies for achieving these goals and assign responsibilities among stakeholders who will work on them together.
A policy outline is a guideline for creating your school’s policy. This outlines policies in categories such as admissions and enrollment, assessment, curriculum and instruction, classroom management and student activities, club policies, financial reporting, and fundraising accountability. A sound policy outline aims at aligning your vision and your mission statement. This means that your policies should be easy to find, easy to understand, and in line with your mission statement.
The district of the school must approve the outline before it can be used. The district will look over the outline and see if there are any cultural references or language-based issues that may not have been covered in the first draft of your policy. This should take place before creating a final version of the draft policy.
The concluding step of strategic planning involves creating a plan for implementing your school’s policy. This involves creating a timeline for each phase of the implementation. Creating an implementation plan helps break down the big task into smaller next steps that can be consumed by day-to-day tasks that need to get done to progress through the process.
Strategic planning is essential for private schools. A school without one ends up floundering in the dark and failing to live up to its potential. Strategic plans need to be practical, implementable, and easy to follow.
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