So here's the question for principals and leaders in schools.
If you randomly selected a member of your staff and asked them to name one objective or goal from your school's strategic or annual action plan off the top of their head, how confident are you that they could? Better yet, how confident are you that they can clearly articulate how their work aligns directly with any one of the objectives of your school's strategic or annual action plan? Go on..........be honest!
On a 1 to 5 scale, how would you rate your response to these two questions?
5 = supremely confident
4 = very confident
3 = fairly confident
2 = a little confident
1= not at all confident
If you're NOT a 4 or a 5 then the question is, why did you bother spending the time and money writing one?
If every member of your staff, both teaching and non-teaching, cannot clearly articulate how they are working towards achieving one or more of the objectives of your strategic or annual action plans, then what direction are you really heading in?
OK so let's say you accept that you should be at a 4 or a 5 and you're currently sitting on 1, 2 or 3. What are the questions you're thinking about? They may include some of these:
How do we get our staff to connect with and own the SP objectives?
How do we develop their understanding that this is not added work but rather this IS their work?
What is the actual process we employ to ensure our staff are working towards the SP objectives?
Then every bit as importantly, what are the evaluative measures they are using to provide evidence that they have met the objective?
The irony I have always found in schools is that we set objectives and evaluative measures for our students all the time. However we don't necessarily do it when it comes to strategic plans. We do objectives fabulously in educational strategic plans! We certainly ensure compliance targets are met on that score. Ask yourself though, how much time and energy are you spending at the other end of the journey - genuine, evidence based evaluation?
In my next posting I'll outline the process we've employed which is designed to do all of the above. In the meantime I would love to read your thoughts on this be you in a formal leadership role or not.