Academic journal article Education

An Analysis of Prevailing K-12 Educational Strategic Planning Models

Academic journal article Education

An Analysis of Prevailing K-12 Educational Strategic Planning Models

Article excerpt

Recently, researchers noted that decision makers in K-12 education have not embraced strategic planning (McHenry & Achilles, 2002.) They assert that perhaps no specific planning process exists. A review of literature demonstrates that processes do exist but vary due to their institutional mission such as business or military.

Several of the educational strategic planning models explored mirrored the corporate planning models in respect to the initially undertaken processes. These steps constituted strategic positioning by the organization (Knight, 1997). The steps involved included: (1) planning to plan (pre-planning); (2) developing vision and/or mission statements; (3) determining guiding principles or core beliefs; (4) conducting environmental scans (external and internal); (5) identifying strategic issues; prioritizing (6) strategic issues; (7) developing strategic issue resolutions; and (8) authoring compelling guidelines.

Pre-Planning

Several studies listed pre-planning as a critical component of their educational strategic planning processes (Brown & Marshall, 1987; Cook, 1995; D'Amico, 1988; Rieger, 1996; Romney, 1996; Strategic Planning Roundtable, 1993; Valentine, 1991). Also known as "planning to plan," this preliminary phase sets up the strategic planning processes (D' Amico, 1988). The pre-planning phase includes the school district's superintendent educating the district's staff, the school board, and the community at-large concerning the status of public education and the future demands that the changing world will place on educational institutions (Brown & Marshall, 1987; Strategic Planning Roundtable, 1993). From feedback received from the district's internal and external stakeholders (i.e., faculty, staff, parents, community members, business people, etc.) regarding the relevant data, the superintendent can assess whether change is a perceived need for the district (Strategic Planning Roundtable, 1993; Valentine, 1991). If the prevailing mood favors a call for change, the superintendent then informs the same stakeholder audience about the educational strategic planning processes that facilitate a district's restructuring efforts (Cook, 1995; D'Amico, 1988).

The planning team, according to Cook (1995), is the most important element of the planning process other than determining the facilitator. Most educational strategic planning models (Basham & Lunenburg, 1989; Blum & Kneidek, 1991; Brown & Marshall, 1987; Bryson, 1995; Clay et al., 1989; Conley, 1992; Conley, 1993; Cook, 1995; Johnson, 1990; Kaufman et al., 1996; Knight, 1997; Martisko & Ammentorp, 1986; McCune, 1986; Mecca & Adams, 1991; Rieger, 1994; Romney, 1996; Stone, 1987; Strategic Planning Roundtable, 1993; Valentine, 1991) advocated utilizing a broad-based panel of the district's internal and external stakeholders for providing input toward the district's improvement plan. The training of the planning team is an additional attribute mentioned in various educational strategic planning models (Bryson, 1995; Clay et al., 1989; D'Amico, 1988; Mecca & Adams, 1991; Stone, 1987; Strategic Planning Roundtable, 1993; Valentine, 1991). Rieger (1994), in his review of the benefits, criticisms, and obstacles of strategic planning in the educational context, reported that "some of the most difficult hurdles facing change agents are related to stakeholders involved in the planning process" (p. 11). He further attributed educational leaders' frustrations with the planning processes stemmed from "a lack of awareness of group processes, organizational dynamics, and the cognitive requirements associated with planning" (p. 11).

Vision/Mission Statement(s)

Confusion abounds in the literature regarding the uses of the terms vision and mission in regard to their respective roles in an educational organization's strategic plan. Are the two terms synonymous, or are their characteristics distinctive enough to be classified as separate and essential parts of the strategic planning processes? …

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