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Strategic Planning in Westside Community Schools

An Overview

The mission of the Westside Community School District, as an innovative educational system, is to ensure academic excellence and to serve the unique needs of all learners.

Westside Community Schools believes in the value of regularly scanning the organization's internal and external environment for significant changes and trying to understand the implications of these changes for programs, organizational structures, staffing, etc. Strategic planning is the catalyst for
continuous improvement. It encourages thinking about our school District's "big picture"-- its broad goals and priorities, and how well they are being achieved. It further involves stepping back from our day-to-day operations and asking where our community and schools are headed and what our priorities should be.

In Spring 2009, the District Strategic Planning Committee met to review the strategic planning process that had been in place in Westside since 1985 and to examine other strategic planning models too. The committee decided to further explore a new strategic planning model known as the Simplified Strategic Planning Model. Developed at Michigan State University and widely used by a number of Fortune 500 corporations, the model was primarily designed for private enterprise; however, the planning committee felt it could be modified to serve as a comprehensive and innovative approach to strategic planning for the District. Dana Baldwin, an outside consultant, trained the District Strategic Planning Committee on the use of the model in Spring 2009.

After training with Mr. Baldwin, District administrators decided:

·      the strategic planning process would clarify the District's vision, its mission, its values, and its key success factors

·      the Capabilities Assessment tool, the SWOT (e.g. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) tool, and the Winner's
    Profile Tool would be used by various stakeholder groups (e.g. professional staff, support staff, parents and students) to  
    identify strategic plan goals

·      new strategic planning goals would integrate with previously identified goals-- such as Curriculum, Instruction, and
    Assessment goals, building goals, communication goals, and World Class Initiative goals -- to form the core of the District's
    new strategic plan

·      an action planning committee would identify the specific strategies district stakeholders would use to reach each goal.

 
The District began implementing the Westside Strategic Planning Goals in Spring 2010:

Goal 1: All students will be proficient in reading, writing and math and the achievement between subgroups will decrease annually.

Goal 2: All students will graduate, be globally competent citizens and possess the skills necessary to enter a meaningful career or career pathway.

Goal 3: We will recruit, hire, develop and train the highest quality teachers, support staff, and administrators.

Each goal is represented by an action planning committee composed of staff members from a variety of curricular areas and grade levels. The action plans they develop use research-based strategies to guide the District toward each goal. Action plans are developed and reviewed annually and shared with staff.

Strategic planning is an ongoing process of continuous improvement that allows Westside Community Schools to remain focused on its broad goals and priorities.

The Westside Community School District does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, creed, color, age, national origin or disability.
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