A model of strategic planning for public schools

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Speth, Gerald L.
Ballou, Philip E. (Philip Edwin), 1925-
Issue Date
Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Educational Administration and Supervision
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The purpose of the study was to develop a model of strategic planning which was fitted to the specifics of the planning need of public schools. In order to develop such a model certain questions were addressed:1. What administrative procedures are suggested prior to the initiation of a formal strategic process in a public school district?2. What school district organizational structure facilitates a strategic planning process?3. What are the mayor variables that should be included in a strategic planning process for public schools?4. What information is included in a strategic planning document and what format is suggested for such a plan?5. What procedural methods can be used in the public school district to transfer a strategic plan into strategic action?6. What factors tend to restrict the use of a strategic planning process?Significance of the StudyThe significance of the study was based on the the factor of accelerating change in today`s environment with the resulting impacts on the realm of public education. While the public school systems are not competitive in the same essence as are businesses, school districts are in constant competition for resources and the maintenance of educational goals which will assist the United States in maintaining a competitive status in the global environment.The above cited challenges require tools for planning that go beyond the traditional introspection of long-range planning or the programming, planning and budgeting system (PPBS). The required tools must embrace the total environment and those forces therein that impact on the pursuit of elementary and secondary schooling by the U. S. populace.Shirley (1981, p. 1) concluded that most planning guides stop short of full paradigm development. That author also indicated that the non-profit sector represents a new and virtually untapped area for research and writing in strategic planning. The absence of published articles and only one book on strategic planning for public schools sustains Shirley's position.If public school superintendents and district school boards were to be influential in meeting the opportunities and threats of the future environment, the need for tools to assess and plan for those enterprises was imperative. The development of a strategic planning model for public schools could provide such a tool.Limitations of the StudyThe limitations of this study were:1. The analysis and recommendations were based on limited research related to strategic planning for public school administration.2. The study was limited to analysis of selected strategic planning models used in private profit and non-profit environments with a resulting new model tailored for the public school situation.3. The new model was developed using the concepts of strategic planning in the private and non-profit sectors. Components were refined to consider the public school environment with a new archetype. A panel of experts in the fields of strategic planning and public school administration were used to verify the appropriateness of the new model and its various components.4. The model's usefulness was restricted to use in planning for public educational institutions.5. A field test of this model was beyond the scope of this research.Definition of TermsThe following terms were applied and used throughout this study to insure clarity and consistency (Lewis, 1983).Problem-solving planning. This type of planning is of short duration (one to two months) and is used to restore performance back to a routine level. (p. 9)Operational planning. This type of planning is of a duration of up to one year and is used to improve on routine performance or to reach an aspirational performance level. (p. 9)Long-range planning. This type of planning is of a longer duration of three to five years and is used to determine performance gaps and resources needed to remedy these gaps. A prime characteristic of this type of planning is its focus on the internal or microenvironment. (p. 11)Strategic planning. This type of planning is of longer duration usually three to ten years and is used to improve performance in order to reach the mission and educational goals of the school district. A prime characteristic of this type planning is the recognition of both the internal or microenvironment and the external or macroenvironment in the planning process. (p. 10)Critical analysis. The role of the critical analysis is to identify, analyze, and evaluate the key trends, factors, forces, and phenomena having a potential impact on the formulation and implementation of the long-range goals and strategies. (p. 35)MethodThe model was developed using the following procedures:1. A comprehensive review of selected literature in the field of strategic management was conducted. Findings from this review were analyzed to provide a basis for the development of an initial strategic planning model for specific application to public school systems.2. The initial model was developed and presented to the doctoral committee of the researcher for review and recommendations.3. A working draft of the revised model was presented individually to a panel of public school experts. Interviews were conducted to seek opinions on the completeness of the model and its application to the public school environment.4. A review was made of the information and opinions received from the experts. Such information provided the basis for refining the model.5. Upon completion of the refinement process, the model was again presented to the doctoral committee of the author for a final review of the findings.Organization of the StudyThe study was developed into five chapters and a selected bibliography. Chapter I includes the introduction, purpose of the study, significance of the study, definition of terms, methodology, and organization of the study.Chapter II contains a review of the literature related to strategic planning in the private and non-profit sectors of the environment and planning in public school administration.Chapter III contains the presentation of the methods and procedures used in this study.Chapter IV contains the report of the results of the study and the findings regarding the research model.Chapter V contains a summary, conclusions and recommendations which resulted from the study.A selected bibliography is attached as the concluding section.