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The chess pieces are now fully deployed on the board. Change is coming to the K-12 independent school sector in the US. It has already begun, one might proffer. It would be misleading to provide a range of years (e.g., three to five) during which this change will happen. Instead, we might consider the notion of an era, in the vein of ‘what is the nature of our era?’
When it comes to the business of transformation, educational institutions largely continue to adhere to the method of analyse, conceptualise, and execute. In other words, analyse ‘how we do school,’ conceptualise some new outcome for one or two parts of that model, then execute by imposing that new concept on the organisation. Everything lives within the locus of control of the organisation itself, which is why the method endures — it provides familiar comfort.
We think it’s misleading to insist that, when schools are rich in data, quality decision-making will follow. However, an abundance of data is no crystal ball. To make quality decisions, there are principles to be followed, starting by the first question: what is the decision to be made, and why must it be made? The second question deals with the nature of the decision (e.g., is it the only decision of its kind, ever? Highly unlikely.). How one responds to those questions determines the subsequent actions. Among the subsequent actions is likely analysing the data that the school has to-hand.
How is your school designed, when it comes to the practice of innovation? Is resilience (of your talent, of your leadership) also part of the design of your school? How might you design for that, if you’re just now contemplating the journey? How might you course-correct, if you believe your design to be out of balance?
In this way, the accrediting associations play an even more impactful role with their member schools–not just holding them accountable to a professional standards, but helping them to advance their missions and their impact in ways that will be beneficial to society as a whole–part of the public purpose argument for independent schools.
It has been my position for years that strategic plans are rarely strategic. They’re just plans for the school’s development (driven by the school, with everything in its locus of control), and have little to do with actual strategy. In fact, following a review of over 100 strategic plans that I did in 2010, I […]