The Learning Collective has partnered with Academy of the City on a number of projects over the past four years from charter renewal application assistance to school quality reviews. It is the strategic planning process we developed and facilitated, as well as the final product, of which we are the most proud.
Academy of the City, a Queens NY charter elementary school, is incredibly diverse with over 30 languages spoken and a board with diverse perspectives. The school asked The Learning Collective to help bring together these perspectives and backgrounds into a common vision and plan.
The customized strategic planning process included three stages.
STAGE 1: WHERE AOC IS
School leaders worked with Adam of TLC to create a Working Group, comprised of various school stakeholders, to help lead the strategic planning process during the 2015-16 school year. Members of the Working Group included the principal; three board members including the board chair, the parent coordinator and a teacher.
The school community then conducted a self-assessment of AoC’s current educational outcomes and inputs. The Working Group conducted a Collaborative Community Review (CCR) facilitated by Adam. The CCR examined all facets of the school including the current educational program and model, board governance, parent involvement, organizational capacity, student demographics, etc. The CCR resembled an educational audit conducted by the school’s authorizer; however, the CCR was conducted by the school’s own Working Group, used a CCR-specific rubric, and included possible implications for the strategic planning process.
STAGE 2: WHERE AOC WANTS TO BE
In this phase, the Planning Group and entire school community defined the school’s preferred state. Again facilitated by Adam and informed by the CCR, the Working Group developed AoC’s updated vision and mission statements. The Working Group received input from all adult stakeholder groups – trustees, school leaders, teachers and parents – before updating the vision and mission statements.
STAGE 3: HOW AOC WILL GET THERE
Facilitated by Adam, the Working Group determined the desired outcomes and related actions to meet AoC’s revised mission statement. Specifically, in-person with a subsequent conference call, the Planning Group determined SMART Goals and supporting Action Steps for the subsequent 3 academic years. The Working Group again received input from all adult stakeholder groups: trustees, school leaders, teachers and parents.
Adam coalesced the Planning Group’s recommendations into a draft strategic plan that the trustees studied and updated at the retreat. The final version of the strategic plan was completed shortly after the June retreat.
As a bit of self-promotion, here’s a quote from AoC’s Board Chair about partnering with us on the strategic planning:
We highly recommend The Learning Collective as a consultant/facilitator for any charter school that is undertaking a long term strategic plan … The process that Adam developed in close consultation with the administration and board resulted in an excellent plan … Adam was a careful, intelligent, responsive and thoughtful guide throughout the process … His vast knowledge of charter schools and pedagogy was invaluable, as were his organizational skills which kept everyone on track and the plan on time.