When Charles City Public Schools in Virginia was looking for a consultant to assist with strategic planning, they contacted the Shaffer Evaluation Group. We're working closely with school district officials in the development of outcome-focused performance measures that will enable them to assess progress toward accomplishing their strategic goals and objectives. We look forward to continuing to work with them on collecting and/or analyzing performance data across the strategic plan period, and reporting results in a manner that is highly visible and easily accessible to school district staff, students, parents, and the Charles City community.
Strategic planning is more important than ever for school districts who are working to succeed in the face of multiple internal and external challenges. A well-crafted strategic plan clearly defines what an organization intends to achieve. Bryson (2011) defines strategic planning as a “deliberate, disciplined approach to producing fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it goes, and why.” Strategic planning is a process that requires stakeholders to engage with one another, consider where they are, where they want to be, and how to get there (Bryson & Alston, 2004). Evaluators are often asked to support school districts and organizations with their strategic planning process due to their expertise in data collection and performance measurement. Evaluator support may include: data collection from stakeholders and associated analyses during the planning stage; development of SMART performance measures used monitor progress of selected strategies or objectives; and creating data collection guides used by school district staff during implementation. A well-crafted strategic plan should effectively link the organization’s stakeholders to the overarching mission and vision of the school district with clear and measurable performance outcomes of the strategic plan.