Strategic planning is a collaborative process designed to initiate change in a district by aligning and prioritizing key targets and clarifying for administration the vision and goals of its stakeholders. Visionary districts that embrace continuous improvement utilize strategic planning as a means for establishing a shared direction for guiding the district’s priorities for the next 3 to 5 years.
In October 2021, Lake Worth ISD initiated its visioning work with various stakeholders representing teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members, and business partners. Prior to the initial meeting, the Strategic Planning Design Team responded to a questionnaire as a means for capturing the perspective and voice of each individual stakeholder. The responses collected from the survey were utilized throughout the strategic planning retreat to encourage discussion and support consensus-building. Consensus was used as the approach for decision-making over majority-rule to ensure unity by the membership.
Over three days, the Strategic Planning Design Team worked together to understand and address the following questions:
1. Where and who are we as a district?
2. Where do we want to be as a district in the next 3 to 5 years?
3. What must we focus on to get to where we want to be?
4. How will we know when we have achieved our goals?
The Strategic Planning Design Team began the planning process by evaluating the current state of the district through a comprehensive review of current data. The data reviewed included student performance data, stakeholder perceptions, financial influences, and demographic/enrollment trends. The committee members also reviewed the SWOT analysis collected from the prerequisite survey to discuss what was identified as the district’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Through the review of data and SWOT analysis, the committee members were able to begin developing the core statements for the district termed the “MMVV” or Mission, Motto, Vision and Values. The core statements provide the framework for the strategic plan and clarify the heart and hope of the district. In alignment with the core statements, a Graduate Profile was designed to define the competencies each graduate should demonstrate at the conclusion of their K-12 academic journey. The committee was intentional about each word in the MMVV and Graduate Profile to ensure an accurate and clear reflection of the district.
With the initial two questions answered, the committee worked to identify what would need to be prioritized to carry the district towards its intended vision in the next 3 to 5 years. There were 5 strategic priorities established as key areas of focus for the district: Academic Excellence and Instructional Relevance, Life-Ready Students, Community Cultures and Partnerships, Engaged and Committed Personnel, Innovative Learning Environments, and Responsible Stewardship.
In alignment with the priorities, the Strategic Design Team set the goals under each priority; and the measures to determine achievement of these goals. The goals were designed utilizing a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound) goal framework for the purpose of moving the vision from motive to action. The goals must be approved by the Board in accordance with AE (Legal).
In November 2021, various members from the design team along with additional stakeholders came together to further the work of the design team through the creation of action plans. The Strategic Action Teams included members from the Strategic Design Team to ensure alignment and intention was carried forward. Each person on the Strategic Action Team was assigned to one of the six district priorities based on their interest, expertise, or experience. The committee members worked to create annual action steps to ensure the long-range goals were achieved.
The action plans are living documents and should be consistently reviewed, revised, and updated to ensure the district’s strategic goals are fully achieved. Progress and revisions to the action plans should be reported to the Board of Trustees each year as a means of accountability and ongoing focus.
For the strategic plan to become embedded in the culture of the district, the plan must be deployed in a manner that fosters support and commitment from all stakeholders. Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees and the Superintendent, the strategic plan for Lake Worth ISD provides the framework for transforming the district and making the vision a reality for LWISD students today and in the future.