Strategic plans are a big deal, right? Take a look at the latest from 3 districts

The work of amplifying—and actually adhering to—these plans is what drives most K-12 leaders.

A milestone in many administrators’ careers is steering their district through the creation of a strategic plan. Consequently, the work of adhering to and amplifying the goals of that plan can become a major source of pride.

Each leader is, of course, well-versed in their own missions and goals but may not get the chance to see the visions their fellow administrators are setting for their students, staff and communities. Here’s a look at three recently approved strategic plans.

Collecting community insights in Virginia

Empowered students, exemplary staff, an enriched district, and an engaged community are the four pillars anchoring the new strategic plan approved at Loudon County Public Schools in Virginia this summer.

Educators there distributed a survey that allowed more than 13,000 stakeholders to share their priorities. After those responses were compiled into the draft plan, the district held community town hall meetings that helped leaders zero in on academic rigor, a diverse curriculum and communication as priorities. It also revealed that equity is “a polarizing topic that is top of mind.”

Here are a few details on the plan’s four priorities:

  1. Empowered students: Provide rigorous instruction for all students, expand and diversify programming and create regular opportunities for student voice.
  2. Exemplary staff: Offer high-quality professional development, facilitate educator collaboration across schools, and commit to recruiting, developing, and supporting diverse talent.
  3. Enriched district: Develop a culture where all students feel they belong, practice straightforward communication to improve data sharing and strengthen trust, and establish safe and productive learning environments.
  4. Engaged community: Offer inclusive opportunities for families to join conversations across the districts, strengthen and create new business and community partnerships and expand opportunities for trust-building dialogue and data sharing in decision-making.

Flint’s performance indicators

Leaders in Flint Community Schools have set five priorities for their schools, acknowledging that the challenges identified in the urban Michigan district’s last strategic plan have “evolved and, in some cases, become more urgent.” Here are the district’s performance indicators for its five priorities:

  • Whole child development: 5% increase in graduation rate and 40% of students participating in extracurricular activities.
  • Teaching and learning: Teachers, administrators, staff and other stakeholders participate in curriculum reviews in five- to seven-year cycles. Teachers and central office staff take learning walks to identify strengths and areas of improvement.
  • Staffing: Develop a dashboard to show real-time recruitment and retention data; ongoing monitoring and evaluation of all teachers and staff; and regularly scheduled leadership academies.
  • Culture and climate: 5% of parents at each school will participate in a parent activity and the collection of parent feedback will grow by 10%. Promotional materials will be targeted to demographic subgroups that show drops in enrollment.
  • Finance: Completing the budget process at least twice a year to ensure all expenses and revenues are incorporated. The superintendent will also attend monthly meetings with state officials to discuss challenges.

These five priorities also signal the district’s efforts to reimagine inclusive and modernized school experiences with upgraded technology options, redesigned classrooms, and expanded co-curricular programs, among other initiatives, administrators say.

Burke County puts people first

Burke County Public Schools’ strategic plan for 2023-2028 will focus on three goals: academic opportunities for all, all-around well-being and connecting all schools to the community. “We heard loud and clear that we should shift our focus to our people—students, parents, faculty, staff and community members,” Superintendent Mike Swan said in a message to the community introducing the strategic plan.

Here are some of the North Carolina district’s objectives for each goal:

Academic opportunities for all:

  • Provide multiple avenues for meeting the individual learning needs of all students
  • Offer extracurricular learning opportunities
  • Connect 3- and 4-year-olds to early learning programs
  • Link students to post-secondary opportunities
  • Personalize professional development opportunities for staff
  • Ensure parent engagement opportunities at all levels

All-around well-being:

  • Maintain a safe school environment
  • Maximize student instructional time
  • Promote student awareness of personal responsibility
  • Teachers and staff model restorative classroom practices
  • Make mental and physical health services available for all staff
  • Educate and empower parents on social issues students are facing

Connecting all schools to the community:

  • Develop partnerships within our community to recognize student achievements
  • Connect students to service and workforce opportunities
  • Encourage community representatives from diverse backgrounds and careers to mentor students
  • Ensure fiscal responsibility in managing school and district resources
  • Create opportunities for parents and schools to collaborate
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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