«DOCUMENT RESUME ED 278 089 EA 019 067 AUTHOR McCune, Shirley D. TITLE Guide to Strategic Planning for Educators. INSTITUTION Association for ...»
Excellent schools require effective district and building management systems and a strong linkage between these two levels. Administrators must understand the similarities and differences in the management of systems (central staff) and programs (building staff).
High TechHigh Touch Many changes in management systems are the result of technologies that make possible new forms of organization. The basic principle is that whenever new technology is introduced to an organization, there will be a counterbalancing human response. The impersonal use of technology creates the need for and makes possible a greater emphasis on high-touch activities. Large companies with thousands of employees are able to keep track of employees and develop individual work and benefit plans by using computers and other data processing technologies.
As technology is introduced to increase the productivity of classrooms, schools, or districts, there will be a need for compensating hightouch efforts. For example, classroom use of technology can free the teacher from the responsibility of delivering some of the content, thus making time for more interaction with and individualized attention to students.
The use of technology in management can reduce or eliminate data handling and processing time and free managers for more peopleoriented activities. The synthesis of technology with educational tasks opens new possibilities for more humanistic schools and educational systems. It isn't high tech or high touch, but high tech and high touch working together to improve productivity and the quality of work and learning.
Multiple Options The ever-increasing diversity of the U.S. population and the use of information technologies for marketing have spawned demands for a wide range of products and services. Today's successful businesses have to make decisions about the quality of the products they will sell
GUIDE TO STRATEGIC PLANNI G FOR EDUCATORS
Participation Worker involvement in structuring tasks and activities has long been recognized as a means of improving morale and productivity. If information workers are expected to carry out a broader range of tasks, they must be involved in meaningful waysto understand the larger context of their work, to participate in making decisions that affect them, and to help create a sense of culture for the total organization.
This requires a different balance of power and responsibility between manager and employee than the traditional manager/assembly-line worker relationship. Information workers must retain significant independence and responsibility for planning and implementing work.
Managers should provide the structure (sense of direction), resources, and oversight to ensure organizational accountability. Often work is carried out in small groups in a collegial fashion. This is a far cry from the older style of "get-go" management where workers got their orders and jumped to carry them out.
We are just beginning to find ways to make this happen in schools.
Participative management with strong contacts between the superintendent, central office staff, and principals builds a framework for the systems of the district. The principal must, in turn, make contact and build relationships with teachers to ensure successful program development and delivery. The best way to build strong educational programs and cultures is to increase worker participation at all levels.
THE CONTEXT FOR STRATEGIC PLANNINGTo extend this participation we must develop a common understanding and philosophy that pervades district activities. This is not simply a matter of handing out sheets of paper. The philosophy must be modeled by persons in the system, and it must be articulated and discussed_ The daily behavior of leaders, the style of supervisory acti vities, staff development programs, and rewards and reinforcements can help managers foster participation and develop positive learning cultures.
Challenges for Education Changes in organizational structures and characteristics are the third set of forces to which schools and educational institutions must
respond. Some implications of these organizational changes are:
The need for new structures in district and school organization and management. Decentralizing programs or moving to school-based management is likely to succeed to the degree that overall district systems (mission, goals, curriculum, instruction, staff development, facilities, budget, etc.) are in place and district and building goals can be coupled or coordinated. The basic function of the district is to identify what is to be done, and the basic task of the building is to decide how it is to be accomplished.
Developing these stnictures is a dynamic process usually requiring progressive stages of planning and implementation. We can use improvement planning, strategic planning, and organizational change programs to put effective and efficient structures and preedures in place.
New methods of work. The use of various technologies can lead ncreased productivity in terms of student learning, administrative ficiency, and classroom management. Finding resources to acquire the hardware and train the staff to incorporate them into their work activities are important management tasks.
Technologies can open up new types of programming. They can give rural schools access to courses and learning resources never before available. Students can carry out research, simulations, and other forms of analysis that enhance learning. Computers, videotapes, video discs, and other technologies may be used in nearly every subject area for any number of purposes.
Building a learning culture. A positive school climate with an open and caring staff is essential for quality education. Building and maintaining this culture is a primary management task. Participation and openness on the part of management is an essential component of positive learning cultures.
Skill at promoting participation requires knowing what to involve staff members in and how to do so. For example, asking teachers what
GUIDE TO STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR EDUCATORSfood they would like to have at the district picnic may help in planning the picnic, but it is no substitute for involving teachers in the core activities of curriculum and instruction. Staff members would participate in making decisions that will affect their work. Needless to say, staff involvement does not necessarily mean that all ideas will be adopted, but it does give people the opportunity to express their opinions.
The Direction of Change The three sets of forces outlined in the previous section place strong pressures on schools to not only improve what they are doing now, but also to restructure their goals, programs, delivery systems, staff roles, evaluation systems, outreach activities, and financing. Directions for this restructuring will vary from community to community, but each will face changes that require responses. (It is impossible to specify ail of the directions for restructuring schools, but some are outlined and discussed in Appendix A.) Restructuring calls for a fundamental examination of changes in the larger society and for a process for making decisions about the desired future of schools. Change creates opportunities at the same time as it poses threats to an organization. Schools must realize that it will be impossible to maintain the status quo when powerful forces are pushing for higher levels of education.
The Stages of School Evolution How can schools respond? Where should they begin? Today, as we observe districts across the nation, we see a process of evolution as schools begin to mobilize themselves to meet changed and changing conditions. Figure 1-8 outlines the pattern of evolution and change.
Stage 1 describes the industrial, smokestack school that was designed to meet the needs of an industrial age. The factory served as a model for schools during this period, and it is possible to see traces of teaching methods designed to prepare most students for dull, repetitive work. Schools at this stage are often unaware of world changes as they continue to prepare students for a lost society.
Stage 2 addresses schools that realize things are not quite right and are concerned about bringing themselves "up to snuff." Literature on effective schools and effective teaching frequently guides their improvement efforts. Questions confronted by these schools are: "What should we be doing?" and "How should we be doing it?" Such questions focus on the effectiveness of schools ("Are we doing the right things?") and their efficiency ("Are we doing things right?"). In a sense this 3a
THE CONTEXT FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING
approach is better than what was done in the past. The importance of this stage of learning for a district cannot be overemphasized. The vast majority of districts should undertake improvement efforts even when they may be engaged with efforts at another level.
Stage 3 is a continuation of efforts initiated in the previous stage.
Here the district is aware of changes in the broader society and begins to understand that the basic role and function of schools must br_l reexamined. The community's educational needs present the school with new opportunities, alternatives, and pressures. In this restructuring stage, schools frequently begin to envision a new role for themselves.
They tend to look beyond the comparatively narTow view of schooling 5- to 18-year-olds to the much broader view of human resource development, which responds to the needs of the larger community. In this stage of evolution, the school may begin to serve new clients, develop
GUIDE TO ST TEGIC PLANINO FOR EDUCATORSnew programs, extend outreach activities, adopt new mane.rnent practices, extend financial capabilities and so on. Here the school is moving away from past structures, programs, and methods of delivery.
Stage 4 completes the evolutionary process as the school becomes a center or hub of a larger learning community. The school becomes a place where all can be serveda place where the range of intellectual, physical, and effective needs of people are recognized. The school serves cross-generational needs, and its programming reflects an understanding of the relationship among physical, emotional, and intellectual factors in the learning process. The school collaborates and is closely aligned with other learning opportunities found in businesses, social agencies, museums, and community groups. At this stage, the school has moved beyond the narrow definition of its role to a broader definition as a developer of human beings and a center for the exchange and pi ocessing of information.
Forces likely to move schools in this direction include:
the increased for youth and adult learning and development prognsns, the realizatim of the need for support from larger segments of the community, the service delivery netvvork provided by neighborhood schools, the value to staff and clients of a more integrated service program, the cost efficiency of using an existing physical and organizational network, the needs for multiple options for learning, and the competition that public schools will experience from priva e schools and other parts of the public sector.
A New Role for Schools Movement or evolution through the four stages outlined above will not be linear or consistent. Rather, small changes are likely as schools experiment and gain the skills and knowledge necessary to move into uncharted areas. The speed with which schools move into their new role will vary according to the capacities of their current systems and staffs, available leadership, community opportunities, and community pressures. Some districts may move quickly to add new services that are similar to their current functions, such as early childhood education and latch-key care programs. Others will develop partnerships with businesses to create new programs for high school students, recognizing their potential applications for adults. Still others will merge with organizations such as community colleges, museums, and job training institutions to strengthen community and organizational resources.
THE CONT XT FOR STRATEGIC PLANNINGEducational improvement or restructuring does not happen as a result of national or state mandates. Change must be manifested at the local level and must be wantedpeople must view change as their own and feel that it will help them achieve the future they value and desire. Strategic planning provides the process that helps give organizations a perspective of what is needed through a scanning of the external environment, a better understanding of their internal capacities, and a mission or common sense or direction for future growth and development.
IN EDUCATIONThe origin of strategic planning ear-=-L be traced to the business community. General Electric has frequerrtly been given credit for pioneering its use during the 1960s. Other corporations, however, also the external envi-onment were beginning to realize that changes i were likely to have a greaterimpact on thir survival than the internal matters over which they had control. Wi-_-th the emergence of the information society, increased competition frc=z)m other countries, the rapid crease in oil prices, the environmental ra,_ovement, and other changes, nticipating change and recorporations began to see the need for sponding to it to ensure their survival.
Today some form of strategic planniag is practiced by most large corporations and an increasing number c:x4f smaller organizations. By ee its value and to adopt it the late 1970s public agencies began to to their own needs. A few farsighted sch_.L.00l superintendents experimented with strategic planning with varying levels of success. An estimated 500 school districts currently ez--ngage in some form of strategic planning.