I’ve gotten into strength training recently. I never thought this would be the path for me, a cardio lover, but after a recent foot injury, I needed to step away from running and try something new. I explored apps and training plans, trying to find the right fit for my schedule and preferences. As a consultant who has helped dozens of districts design and implement strategic plans, I also knew I could apply some of the principles we use when supporting districts to my weightlifting journey. In our work, we’ve found that the successful implementation of a strategic plan comes down to three key areas:
It’s hard to believe, but we’re approaching the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown in our schools. We’ve all been through a great deal of disturbance over these past three years. One of my coworkers recently shared this article on the hidden toll of “microstress” and it resonated with me. In my work with community members across the country (teachers, staff, families, school and district leaders), I’m finding that people are tired. I have a 2 year old y’all -- I’m really tired. On any given day, change is hard. Right now, it’s really hard.
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While I was teaching 9th grade English Language Arts, one of my mentor teachers shared the concept of the “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” (BHAG) with me. Beyond a SMART goal, it’s a goal that you might collaboratively set – that is big, important, and maybe even a little bit of a stretch. That terminology clearly stuck with me (I think it was the hairy part – sorry, it’s now stuck with you as well).
In February, my husband and I bought our first home in Pasadena, Maryland, right on a creek that leads into the Chesapeake Bay. What we’ve learned since moving in is that a good number of our neighbors are sailing fanatics, which has led to my husband trying to convince me to buy a small sailboat (a 40-50-year-old Sunfish to be exact). My response was that we needed to build up at least a few skills and knowledge about sailing before making a purchase because the few classes I had taken in the past on a small lake were not going to cut it in the Chesapeake Bay.
I was on a phone call with two principals earlier this week who shared a concern I hear often in working with school districts through large change management initiatives. Three years into their personalized learning journey, there are still at least a few teachers in their building who are resistant to the instructional shifts necessary to make learning personalized for each child. If you are a leader facing a similar situation, here are four key strategies for moving forward.
How do we design the schools of the future, today? Designing innovative structures and systems takes a similarly innovative approach, otherwise, we’d design the same systems we already have all over again. In a series of blog posts, we have described the steps to creating a responsive strategic plan. We’ve taught you how to assemble a superhero team and how to identify and collect data from your stakeholders. Now, what do you actually DO to design a responsive strategic plan that won’t collect dust on your office shelf? Even if you are not going through a strategic plan redesign but are working towards implementing your current plan or designing the rollout of a new initiative within your plan, we want to show you how to plan for change and not perfection.