Random Acts Of Improvement

Directions are instructions given to explain how. Direction is a vision offered to explain why.
~Simon Sinek

In Pleasantdale schools, we have a clear focus on doing what is best for students, families, and staff, and to that end, we have created a roadmap to that provides us with the direction we need to build a better school district.  This plan, which we call our Strategic Blueprint, focuses on three main areas for improvement: Building Learning Capacity, Building Learning Environments, and Building Human Capital.  It is within these three categories that we create action steps to help us achieve our district’s mission: To create a community of inspired learners.  Our plan lays out a vision of a better district and also the steps that we will take to make this vision a reality.  It allows us to focus our work and maintain a high level of return on our improvement efforts.

Having worked in education for nearly 20 years, I have found that this type of organized improvement effort is rare.  Schools are often “please all of the people all of the time” organizations, and teachers and administrators want to make their constituents happy.  This approach often results in district taking on so many initiatives that staff have a hard time keeping up. These districts often go “a mile wide and an inch deep” when it comes to improvement efforts, or initiatives simply fall by the wayside.  These random acts of improvement are often not sustainable and do not move the organization forward.  This is why having a thoughtful and well-designed plan is of the greatest benefit to a school district.  Our Strategic Blueprint does many things, but one of the most important, is to allow us to focus our efforts on a few high-value outcomes.    

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, I reviewed the progress we have made toward making our mission a reality and provided the Board with our recommendations for the next set of Action Steps  which were developed by teachers and administrators collaboratively.  The action steps presented last night build upon the success we created this school year and allow us to maintain the momentum needed to take our schools from great to greater.  All of our action steps fall into the same three goal areas, so there is predictability for staff and each action step can be linked to our community-created belief statements. The plan is thoughtful and does not leave our improvement efforts to chance.  Our Strategic Blueprint offers us deliberate acts of improvement as opposed to random acts of improvement.

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