Administrator's Perceptions of Student Success and its Impact on School and School Board Strategic Plans
Strategic planning is a contentious term that is used by many but understood by few. The words ‘strategic planning’ can mean a variety of differing purposes, processes, and outcomes. This study will draw upon literature in the field of educational strategic planning to propose a framework that can be used to analyze and sort strategic plans based on the underlying purposes, processes, and outcomes. The preliminary Mitchell Educational Strategic Planning Framework identifies educational strategic plans as either a rational plan or a futures plan, while accounting for the political climate in which the plan is created and carried out. This research study focuses on the creation and use of School Improvement Plans (SIPs) by one non-practicing elementary school principal in a southern-Ontario school board. The data is collected through a semi-structured interview, where the participant discusses his philosophy of education, how he uses SIPs to achieve his goals, and how his beliefs about student success and strategic planning differ from those of his supervisory officer. The data reveals a gap in the preliminary Framework. The participant was able to successfully use elements of both rational and futures planning when creating his SIPs. He identified that doing so was difficult, and requires a skill that few principals have. This ‘skill’, informed by data from this research and supplementary literature, has been defined as “the skill of alignment of school and non- school factors”. To incorporate this new information, the Mitchell Educational Strategic Planning Framework has been modified and updated. Future research will apply the Mitchell Educational Strategic Planning Framework to existing educational strategic plans. The skill of alignment will also be further investigated.