Author: Christopher Szecsey , Harmony Union School Board
Harmony Union School District
Annotation: This report describes the process taken by the Harmony School District and is, in essence, a case study of their initiative.
Harmony School District initiated a strategic planning process in the fall of 2000. The School District had completed the previous General Plan from the previous administration and Board and the current Board requested the administration to undertake a new planning process to produce a plan that would be, for the first time, a real “Strategic Plan.” The process for completing the plan, again for the first time, would be as participatory and inclusive of the different stakeholders (students, teachers, parents/community and administration/board) as possible.
Strategic Planning can be defined as the process of determining WHAT an organization wants to be/desires to achieve and most importantly, HOW it intends to reach its goals. The process makes use of many peoples’ contributions and produces a plan, a road map to navigate the School District’s future. Given the rapidly changing nature of education in California, it was decided that it was critical to develop a collective plan that provides some focus on what the school should continue, where the district wants to be in three years, and how it will get there.
The direction and intention of the efforts were guided by an approach known as Appreciative Inquiry (AI). The process was designed to gather cross constituency support for the plan and invited individuals inside and outside the district to reflect together, research together, and agree on specific results to accomplish the strategic intent. The result is this document describing a vision for the Harmony Union School District’s educational focus and how we, as staff, parents, students and community intend to achieve it. It represents the District’s and the community’s commitment to a shared vision, core beliefs, and priority areas of focus designed to create systematic change, strategically align resources and foster collaboration between teachers, staff, parents and students to maximize the delivery of the best education for all our children.
Further examples of this kind can be accessed at https://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/