Develop a Strategic Plan?
Strategic Planning is a
continuous and systematic process where people make decisions about intended
future outcomes, how outcomes are to be accomplished and how success is
measured and evaluated.
Key words in this definition
- continuous -
Strategic planning is ongoing; it does not end with the publication of a
plan; its success depends on it purposefully becoming an uninterrupted,
and never-ending cycle.
- systematic -
Any effective strategic planning process has a deliberate and specific
methodology and a sequence of events; it is never haphazard.
- process -
The value of strategic planning lies more in the journey than the
destination. While strategic planning must indeed produce a product, a
strategic plan document, the primary value comes from the teamwork,
vision, commitment to and ownership of organizational success the planners
gain through the process of making the decisions the document contains.
- people -
A strategic planning process must involve all the right people, and those
people must be ready and willing to contribute to the process.
- decisions -
Strategic planning is a decision-making process. Organizations that are
ready to plan strategically have leaders who are ready to make decisions.
- outcomes -
Strategic planning addresses external results, or the organization's
effects on the outside world, particularly how it affects its customers.
An old adage states: "If you don't know where you're going, any road
will take you there." Strategic planning is primarily about defining
where "there" is, a type of roadmap outlining the outcomes and
results designed to be achieved throughout the journey.
2007-2010 Strategic Plan
Mitchell County Schools recently
completed its 2007-2010 strategic plan.
The school district realized many important achievements during this
number of National Board Certified Teachers increased from 15 in 2007 to 42 in
County Schools had 100% of its faculty to met highly qualified status for
teacher retention rate for Mitchell County Schools for 2009-10 was 98.5%.
2010, 7 of 9 schools made high growth status.
2010, 8 of 9 schools made at least expected growth.
High School achieved an 82.4% Performance Composite in 2009-2010 up from 67.4%.
Early College had a 96.7 % Performance Composite in 2010.
scores in grades 3-8 increased from 67.4% at or above grade level, in 2007-2008
to 86.2% at or above grade level in 2009-2010. *Reading scores in grades
3-8 increased from 57% at or above grade level, in 2007-2008, to 74.9% at or
above grade level in 2009-2010.
scores in 5th grade increased from 42.7% at or above grade level, in
2007-2008, to 80.5% at or above grade level in 2009-2010.
scores in 8th grade increased from 50.6% at or above grade level, in
2007-2008, to 78% at or above grade level in 2009-2010.
2010 SAT score was 1013
graduation rate increased from 61.9% in 2005-2006 to 73.1% in 2009-2010
Drop Out Rate decreased from 7.08% in 2007-2008 to 3.9% in 2009-2010
County Schools had the state’s 3rd lowest Teacher Turnover Rate
Working Conditions were reported to have significantly improved from 2008 to
2010. Ninety-six percent (96%) of school personnel indicated that there is an
atmosphere of trust and respect with their school and their school was a good
place to work and learn.
percentage of students suspended for ten days or less (3.64/100) in 2009-2010
was the fourth lowest in North Carolina.
communication documents are distributed at the school and district level.
Above the North Carolina Average
Mitchell County School is a
public school system nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western
North Carolina. Nine schools, including
one high school, one early college, two middle schools, four elementary schools
and one primary school serve 2200 students in grades Kindergarten through
12. Mitchell County Schools is fully
accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Significant budget reductions for the 2011-12 school year place
Mitchell County Schools is at an important point in its history. Strategic
planning positions the school district to align its resources with its
mission. This strategic plan is the
result of months of work by our community and the educators of Mitchell County.
It provides the direction for strategic activities for the next five years.
Why do we need a long-term strategic plan? With our limited
resources, we need to be focused on the goals and strategies that will best
prepare all our students for college, career and life in a globally competitive
environment. That means being fully transparent in the decisions we make to
guide this school district, setting priorities and sticking to them, and
concentrating our resources on the programs, practices and staffing that will
best serve our students in achieving academic success.
These ambitious goals have been set to challenge us to move our
school districts to the highest performance levels possible. We have to aim
high because we are preparing students for success in a world in which many of
the jobs they will be holding have not even been created. The actions steps in
this plan are designed to help us reach those goals.
This plan requires a compact with the Mitchell County community
and the families of our students. It is
our responsibility to have highly effective teachers in every classroom. If Mitchell
County families get their children to school on time with no unexcused absences,
make sure they do their homework, and the students exhibit proper behavior,
then we will be responsible for making sure the students perform at or above
grade level. If they stay with us through graduation, they will graduate ready
for college, career and life.
The plan’s success also calls for a commitment from the greater Mitchell
County community to work with us to provide those services and supports some of
our students need to overcome the challenges in their lives that may affect
their readiness to learn.
If we work together and implement
the work in this plan, we can close achievement gaps, prevent students from
dropping out, and raise the level of achievement for all our students so that
every student graduates ready for college, career and life in a continually
changing, highly competitive and very exciting world.
Mitchell County Schools is
dedicated to continuous improvement.
Having recently completed the 2007-2010 strategic plan, the Board of
Education approved the superintendent’s recommendation to commission the
development of a new strategic plan. The
superintendent secured a consultant to lead the process, which began with a
meeting of the consultant and central level administrators on November 1, 2010. A two- day strategic planning session was
held on January 24-25, 2011. The
planning team developed a vision, mission, core values and beliefs, and
conducted an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
facing the school district. The analysis
revealed strategic priorities, goals, strategies and how the progress of the
execution of the strategic plan will be measured.
County Schools will be a school district in which every student will graduate,
locally and globally competitive and college/career ready.
Vision: Defines the desired or intended future
state of an organization or enterprise in terms of its fundamental objective
and/or strategic direction. Vision is a long-term view, describing how the
organization would like the world to be in which it operates.
A vision statement outlines what the organization wants to be,
or how it wants the world in which it operates to be. It concentrates on the
future. It is a source of inspiration. It provides clear decision-making
criteria. The vision
statement is the commitment to create a reality that currently does not exist. An
organizational “To-Be” three to five years out.
mission is to collaborate with families and community partners to provide a
safe, caring, and engaging learning environment that prepares graduates to
become responsible citizens in a diverse, global society.
Mission: Defines the fundamental
purpose of an organization or an enterprise, succinctly describing why it
exists and what it does to achieve its vision. It is sometimes used to
set out a "picture" of the organization in the future.
A mission statement provides details of
what is done and answers the question: "What do we do?" The mission statement describes what the school
district will do to realize its vision and provides the fundamental
purpose of the organization. It
identifies the desired level of performance.
Values and Beliefs
Students have distinct needs and goals and deserves unique relationships
Collaboration/Accountability – We
hold ourselves accountable for building relationships that expand opportunities
High Expectations/Hard work – The
highest level of personal responsibility and a high work ethic produce positive
Producing successful 21st century learners requires creatively
approaching challenges and opportunities
Respect and honesty in everything, by everyone, is the core of ethical practice
Empathy and kindness build strong school communities.
Core Values and Beliefs: Beliefs that are shared among the stakeholders
of an organization. Values drive an organization's culture and priorities and
provide a framework in which decisions are made. The core values and beliefs are the principles that guide the school district.
The Strategic Planning Task Force
conducted a SWOT analysis of the environment within which Mitchell County
Schools exists. The task force found
that numerous strengths and opportunities exist that will serve the school
system well. They also found weaknesses
and threats that must be addressed for the school system to perform at its
highest performance level.
size school system
of parent involvement
with the business community
diversity and pride
on successful current education practices, ie, 1:1 laptop initiative
visibility/presence in home and community
of value/understanding education (public perception)
issues (substance abuse, domestic violence, loss of core family, poverty)
mental, behavioral issues
The SWOT is an analysis of the environment within which the
strategic plan was developed and is to be implemented. It includes strengths to be maximized, weaknesses
to overcome, opportunities to take advantage of and threats to be
Strategic Priorities are
the major areas of institutional focus that were derived from the SWOT
analysis. The strategic priorities
identified by the strategic planning team were:
High Student Performance
purpose of school is student performance and every school system must keep its
focus on student performance.
Relations and Effective Communication
Mitchell County Schools is a very
good school system and is serving its students very well. The strategic planning team determined that
the message of how well the school system was doing was not being properly
communicated and was having a negative impact on the perception of the school
system within the Mitchell County community.
The school system seeks a better relationship with the community and
increased support for its mission to prepare its graduates to become
responsible citizens in a diverse, global society.
both inside and outside the school system was determined to be an area that
required focus from the school system in order to promote efficiency and
generate support. The school system will
devote time, energy and support to the cause of collaborating with all of its
the milestones the organization aims to achieve that evolve from the strategic priorities.
They transform strategic issues into specific performance targets that impact
the entire organization.
Strategic Plan at a Glance
Strategic Priority – High Student Performance
1 -Teach all students to highest performance level
1.1 Establish curricula in every academic
discipline that prepares all students to be college and career ready.
1.1.1 Review the NC Standard Course of Study for
every course and determine the essential
skills to be taught.
1.1.2 Evaluate, revise or develop pacing guides and
curriculum maps for every course to facilitate instruction of essential skills.
1.1.3 Prepare all students to be able to achieve
high performance (Level 4) on state assessment measures.
1.2 All staff will utilize research-based best
1.2.1 Identify and evaluate the current
instructional practices being used by teachers within the district.
1.2.2 Determine the existing best practices that
will continue to be utilized and those that will be implemented at applicable
grade levels and departments.
1.2.3 Evaluate the degree to which these research-based
strategies are being used and the existing level of competency on the use of these
2 – Grading Practices
2.1 Design and
deliver a consistent K-12 system for gathering, reviewing, using, and reporting
student achievement data
2.1.1 Revise grading
practices so one can distinguish between work habits and attainment of skills,
strategies, and content so that a grade reflects the student’s ability to demonstrate
what he/she has learned.
3 - Benchmark Assessments
3.1 Develop a data analysis system that will
enable effective monitoring and benchmarking of student performance.
3.1.1 Establish and implement a process for
analyzing student performance data.
3.1.2 Develop and implement a systematic plan to
utilize the data in instructional planning.
4 - Strengthen Instruction to Vulnerable Students
and implement Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in all schools and the
4.1.1 School level administrators and all teachers in each building and
program are trained in PLCs.
4.1.2 All central office administrators are trained
schedule regular and ongoing time for building level PLCs to meet within each
building and across the district to review student work and achievement results
in order to make instructional decisions.
4.2 Improve LEP/ESL Resources
4.2.1 Assess the
current LEP/ESL program and available resources and revise to make the program
more robust and provide appropriate resources.
4.3 Target students who perform in the lowest
third of each performance level.
4.3.1 Identify these
students in the summer and determine the instructional practices and support
needed to strengthen their performance.
4.3.2 Through PLCs,
develop a personalized education plan (PEP) for each student.
Priority - Public Relations and Effective Communication
5 - Public Relations and Communication Evaluation
5.1 Evaluate the Mitchell County Schools public
relations and communication systems.
5.1.1 Appoint a public relations and communication
task force that includes internal and external members.
5.1.2 Secure a consultant to complete an external audit of
the school district’s public relations and communication program and make
recommendations for improvement.
and launch a proactive public relations campaign focused on consistent
messaging about achievements, performance and improvements and within the district.
5.2.1 Consistently communicate to internal and
external publics the significance of the following attributes:
benefits of the small size of the school district.
presence of highly qualified faculties in the schools.
strong data earned by student performance on state assessments.
very successful instructional practices and programs that already exist within
technology resources that exist in all schools.
6 - Improve the delivery of news and information
6.1 Evaluate existing and develop necessary new district-wide
communications policies and procedures
6.1.1 Conduct an analysis of existing policies
6.1.2 Propose necessary revisions to existing
policies and additional policies needed to enhance the communication efforts of
the school district.
6.2 Build capacity among schools and central
office to improve communication
6.2.1 Provide professional development to schools and central office
leaders in marketing, public and media relations,
customer service and other communications skills.
6.2.2 Generate more
news about the schools and the district.
6.3 Establish the structure and culture for
continuous, accurate, relevant and consistent internal communication.
6.3.1 Develop and
implement a centralized, communication system to provide and distribute
continuous, accurate, relevant and consistent information across the district.
6.3.2 Employees and
school board members utilize the centralized communication system to share
positive news related to the district's mission.
6.3.3 Improve the delivery of news and positive
messages about MCS among the staff.
6.4 Establish the structure and culture
for continuous, accurate, relevant and consistent external
6.4.1 Determine through surveys, etc. what members
of the community what they want to know about the schools.
6.4.2 Train faculty
and staff in various methods to enhance communication between home, school and
6.4.3 Improve delivery of news and positive
messages to families, staff and the community
6.4.4 Improve access to
district information utilizing existing district and community resources and
exploring new avenues.
7 - Elevate the value of education
7.1 Design effective forms of
home/school communications about school programs, student progress and the
value of education
7.1.1 Each school will conduct a communication
audit to assess the strengths and weaknesses during the fourth quarter of each
7.1.2 Each school will develop a communications
plan for implementation at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year.
7.1.3 Develop a campaign to educate parents and the
community on the importance and value of education.
Priority - Collaboration
8 - Increase internal collaboration
8.1 Develop and
implement a plan to increase the collaboration between faculty and students in
instructional and interpersonal matters
8.1.1 Train faculty
and staff in various methods to enhance collaboration between students and
professional learning communities as a tool and process to determine individual
student needs and how to address those needs.
opportunities for students to share information and receive feedback on
collaboration as an instructional strategy in classrooms.
8.2 Develop and
implement a plan to increase the collaboration between and among faculty within
each school and among the schools.
8.2.1 Create new or expand existing processes to
create collaborative efforts and strategies.
9 - Increase external collaboration
9.1 Develop new and
expand current parent/family involvement programs to help all families
establish environments to support children as students
9.1.1 Train faculty
and staff in various methods to enhance collaboration between home and school.
9.1.2 Develop and implement plans to deliver
information (workshops, websites, courses, open houses, etc.) to parents
opportunities for external stakeholders to share information and receive
9.1.4 Ensure active
participation in existing community partnerships to provide face-to-face
opportunities for collaboration and understanding.
community and business partnerships
9.2.1 Develop a plan
to strengthen the existing community partnerships
9.2.2 Invite all
businesses in the county to develop a business/education partnership to provide
increased business support for education in the county.
the current volunteer program and insure implementation of a comprehensive
volunteer program for the district
9.3.1 The district
will provide policy, procedures and guidance for volunteer programming.
9.3.2 Schools will
establish school and classroom volunteer programs and widely solicit