One School’s Responsive Strategic Plan – Case Study

Immediately following their three-year recommendation, this 5-12 charter school had to quickly regroup from not getting the longer term they hoped for.  With no time to waste, the leadership and board gathered for a thoughtful strategic planning session.  They had never actually operated using a strategic plan as their road map.  Driven mainly by the ticking clock until their next renewal, their planning had to be organized by vision and priorities.  Initiatives that were once appropriate for a full five-year term might have to wait.

Vision – All stakeholders held a belief that they never wanted another short term again.  Everyone had a vision to do what was needed to be an obvious full term candidate in September 2020 when they submitted another renewal.

Priorities – They had a solid culture, had established an effective ELA program for all students, and actually slightly exceeded the local district’s three sub-groups.  It was clearly their middle and high school Math scores that held them back from being a five-year renewal candidate.

Action Steps – The leadership team was asked by the board, “Where do we find 15-20 more points in Math in the next three testing cycles?” The leadership team knew there were deep, systemic fixes like better Math teacher recruiting and retention, but those were sometimes slow and had longer term potential dividends.  It was decided that the immediate need was to address the issue of the vast majority of entering students with Math grade levels often several years behind.  The master schedule was therefore reconfigured to make room for a 110 minute daily Math block , and the developing budget added five new remedial Math hires for the start of the 2018-19 school year.

Measurable Metrics – Since it was already February 2018, the leadership told the Board not to expect movement in Math scores in 2017-18, but 8 points per year in the following two years was a reasonable expectation.