To local school officials, taxpayers in a community share much in common with stakeholders in a publicly traded company. The proof is that superintendents and boards of education spend months and even years designing strategic plans for education that serve almost the same functions as a company's annual financial reports. These educational road maps portray officials' vision for the schools' future while presenting strategies to improve results, objectives to realise goals and key indicators to measure performance.
- Skill level:
Brainstorm a list of goals for improving student achievement. Arrange goals in order of importance to the district at large. For example, the first goal might be to boost the high school graduation rate. The last goal might be to revamp language arts instruction at one of the elementary schools.
Write an introduction summarising those goals and expressing the district's educational vision. Refer to successes and shortcomings of prior strategic plans. Point out how the current plan differs and how those differences will improve results. For example, a report might conclude the prior strategic plan's goal of improving standardised test scores barely met expectations because it depended on an outdated teaching model. Explain how advances in test preparation models that are worked into the current plan will elevate scores.
Move on to a section called "Declarations." Prepare a list of statements reflecting the district's beliefs about what conditions are necessary for learning. For example, a declaration might be, "Students learn best when actively engaged in the learning process."
Call the next section "Key Strategies." Write one goal at the top of the page. Underneath it, write objectives for achieving the goal. For example, an objective for a goal to intensify academic challenges might be to have 90 per cent of students pass standardised literacy tests. Write objectives for all goals identified in the report's introduction. Provide details for accomplishing each objective. In this section, a strategy might be to design new reading programs that enhance scores on reading comprehension tests.
Start a new section called "Measuring Progress." List daily assessment tools teachers use to gauge student progress and explain how often assessments are given. For example, a measurement of success in sixth-grade English classes might be that all students scored in the top percentile on weekly comprehension tests administered from October through November.
Conclude the strategic plan with a page of "Credits." List the names of teachers, staff and parents who helped prepare the report. Identify the office that produced the final version and tell readers whom they should contact for more information.
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