Strategic plans: 5 topics that have risen to the top of the priority list

Mental health and academic and behavioral interventions have been getting a lot more attention in strategic plans in 2023.

Strategic plans are the pride and joy of many a superintendent, but do you know what your fellow district leaders are prioritizing in their visions for their students and staff? And do you know which K12 topics are becoming more important in your colleagues’ strategic plans?

For instance, social-emotional learning was covered in about 25% of the 2018-19 strategic plans and local control and accountability plans scanned by the school data tracking firm, Burbio. SEL became more prominent in the early years of the pandemic, peaking in 2021 at 42% and declining gradually since then and is now a key term in about 30% of 2,200 of the plans that Burbio analyzed.

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On the other hand, “bilingual” seems to be on a more cyclical schedule. While is it far more prominent than it was pre-COVID, the focus on it ebbs and flows. It was included in 10% of plans in 2020 fell to 8.9% the next, peaks at 17% in 2022 and is now at 12%.

The most common topic was attendance, which appeared in just more than half of the plans tracked by Burbio.

How strategic plans are changing

Here are the five topics that have seen the largest growth as strategic plan priorities. The first figure is how many more plans include these topics in 2023 compared to 2018-19. The second number is how many plans the term appears in:

  1. Multitiered system of supports (MTSS): 14% increase (in 32% of plans)
  2. Mental health: 9.8% (40%)
  3. Inclusion: 7.7% (31%)
  4. Community engagement: 7% (34%)
  5. Excellence: 7% (52%)
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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