Thursday, September 5, 2013

Strategic planning


This weekend marked the start of high school and college football season in earnest.  Teams from across our great state and nation lined up Friday night and all day Saturday to put their preparation and talents to the test. Friends came together to tailgate, dressed in their team colors, and discussed the possibilities for future successes and potential failures.  Yet, neither these teams nor their fans simply showed up expecting the desired result, which is to WIN!  Months and, often times, years of preparation guided the spectators, coaches, and players to this point on their journey.  Simply stated, they had a plan and worked the plan.  The measurable goals and desired outcomes were clearly defined far before kickoff arrived. 
How is this relevant to our schools?

We must have a plan for Oconee County Schools to achieve the desired outcome – success!  Jim Collins, in his book Great by Choice, writes “We cannot predict the future, but we can create it.”  On September 24, at 6:00 p.m., Oconee County Schools will begin the process of creating our future.  This process is known as strategic planning. 
What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is a process that seeks community input, opinions, and expertise prior to the development of a plan.  It begins with a community meeting that asks five basic questions:
1.      Who are we?

2.      Where are we now?

3.      Where do we want to go?

4.      How will we know when we have arrived?

5.      How do we plan to get there?
The answers to these questions will assist our system leaders in better understanding the desires of our community and, thus, streamline future planning to ensure that the goals of today lead to the outcomes of tomorrow. 

What is your role as a community member, parent, teacher, or student in strategic planning?

First and foremost, we need your presence at the community meeting – September 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the Oconee County Civic Center.  OCS is your system.  It does not belong to the superintendent, board of education, or others. Our schools belong to our community and our kids.  Your opinions and input matter and are valued.  Do you have an idea?  Have you always wished that our schools focused on a particular direction or path?  Do you want to share the great things you see our system doing, but also point out areas of improvement?  The community meeting is the perfect opportunity to be a part of this conversation, and share your ideas.

What can you do right now?
Share the date, time, and location of this meeting with a friend.  Make a plan to attend and begin thinking about what you want for your students and our schools.

This is just the start!  Over the next few weeks, you will hear and see much more about the strategic planning process for Oconee County Schools.  Yet, if you want to begin the conversation today, I am always eager to hear your thoughts.  Please share them with me at jbranch@oconeeschools.org.

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