Implementing Strategic Planning in K-12 by Carmelita Thompson and William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Program in Educational Leadership, PV, Texas A&M System

Implementing Strategic Planning in K-12 by Carmelita Thompson and William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Program in Educational Leadership, PV, Texas A&M System

Implementing Strategic Planning in K-12 by Carmelita Thompson and William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Program in Educational Leadership, PV, Texas A&M System

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Home Page > Education > College and University > Implementing Strategic Planning in K-12 by Carmelita Thompson and William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Program in Educational Leadership, PV, Texas A&M System

Implementing Strategic Planning in K-12 by Carmelita Thompson and William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Program in Educational Leadership, PV, Texas A&M System

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Posted: Oct 29, 2009 |

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Carmelita Thompson and William Allan Kritsonis, PhD 

 

Introduction

 The Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) offers a pragmatic framework to strategic planning that will move educational organizations in innovative directions.  In developing a strategic plan, an educational organization must implement Dr. Kritsonis’ (2007) six fundamental patterns of meaning designated respectively as symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics, and synoptics.  Strategic planning is the process in which an educational organization determines its current status, envisions its long-term goals, makes projections for the future, and develops strategies to achieve those future aspirations.  Strategic planning must be flexible and practical and yet serve as a guide to implement programs to evaluate the educational organizations progress.  A strategic plan intertwining the six fundamental patterns of the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) constructs innovative analytical and critical thinking that will improve and enhance the performance of educational organizations.

  Purpose of the Article

             The purpose of this article is to discuss ways in which strategic planning implemented by utilizing the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) creates a high performing educational organization.  Skilled strategic planning makes a current assessment of needs, develops the educational organization’s future thinking, builds commitment, and serves as the guiding document for the educational organization.  Effective strategic planning includes articulating the educational organization’s vision, mission, and values to set a course for future aspirations.

 

The First Realm:  Symbolics

The first realm of meaning is symbolics.  Dr. Kritsonis (2007) states that ordinary language such as gestures, rituals, and rhythmic patterns allow people to communicate on a personal level.  Effective leadership is the cornerstone of an educational environment.  Eaker and Gonzalez write about learning leaders.

They create systems and processes to engage collaborative teams of teachers in 1) clarifying the essential knowledge and skills students are to acquire for every course, grade level and unit of every instruction 2) developing frequent common assessments to monitor each student’s learning on a timely basis, and 3) implementing a school-wide plan of intervention to guarantee students receive additional time and support for learning as soon as they experience difficulty. (Eaker & Gonzalez, 2007, p. 6)

The leader’s ability to articulate the educational organization’s vision, mission, and values to propel the organization into its preferred future is essential.  A vision statement is a description upon which the organization aspires.  It emphasizes where the educational organization will be at a specific time in the future. The organizational mission  supports  the  vision and  it  describes the  purpose of  the  organization.  The organizational values  state the organization’s  intentions and  the organization’s  core priorities in the organization’s culture. 

Implementing the strategic plan requires the use of symbolics. The vision must be clearly communicated within the educational organization.  The vision needs to capture the present status of the educational organization, and serve to guide the direction of the organization. As a means of setting a central goal that the educational organization will aspire to reach, the vision helps to provide a focus for the mission of the organization.  The vision should resonate with every member of the educational organization. The educational organization must clearly communicate its expectations so that members are able to perform effectively.  The strategic planning is effective when it energizes and engages the educational organization. 

 The Second Realm:  Empirics

The second realm of meaning is empirics.  Empirics encompass facts and discovering the truth.  Dr. Kritsonis says, “These sciences provide factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations that are based upon observation and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind, and society” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12).  According to Dr. Kritsonis (2007), science is concerned with matters of fact and facts refer to data of observation.  Educational data collection is vital for strategic planning in educational organizations.

Strategic planning, with an emphasis on empirics, provides an understanding of the design of the educational organization’s assessment of needs, finances, and it allows the organization to set specific data-driven priorities.  The educational organization is obligated to be data driven to aide accountability within the organization.  It is essential to the strategic planning of an educational organization to conduct a continuum of critical analysis of the system, policy formulation and appraisal, management and monitoring, and evaluation.  Gathering data and analysis of the current situation of the organization and the critical issues pertaining to the organization’s status and functioning is required in an educational organization. The  strategic planning process requires a multi-method approach in gathering comprehensive data. These multi-method approaches include standardized testing,  observation, surveys, interviews, document collection, and other formal and informal measures of organizational status. Findings and remedial options are formulated to provide policy orientations.  As the system is analyzed, future direction can be established.  Specific programs may be developed or resources may be mobilized based upon the information obtained through the data analysis.  A continuum of monitoring, review, and analysis takes places.  The learning leadership understands that the organization must continually change (Eaker & Gonzalez, 2007).  The more data educational organizations collect, the more effectively the organization can improve.  Assessment is required to constantly improve the strategic planning and ensure the execution of the educational organization’s vision. 

 

The Third Realm:  Esthetics

Dr. Kritsonis says that health means wholeness which may be regarded as personal wholeness (2007).

  The educational organization needs to include the arts in its strategic plan.  It is imperative that educational organizations make meaningful connections across academic disciplines and everyday life.  The arts can reinforce skills that connect learning to the real world.  The additional positive effects of art education on student learning include attendance, communication, and critical thinking.  Art education also requires discipline and skill which carries over into the community.  A study conducted by Allen, Edmonson, and Fisher (2009) revealed art to benefit students’ verbal and linguistic skills.  Allen, Edmonson, and Fisher’s findings were that he nature of fine arts classes was to help students better demonstrate ideas, feelings, and emotions through expressive use of their body and creative skills.  This training could be beneficial to students in the form of written expression through TAKS writing and also help students in the reading portion of the TAKS. (Allen, Edmonson, & Fisher, 2009, p. 47)

  The Fourth Realm:  Synnoetic

Dr. Kritsonis describes synnoetics as “…meanings in which a person has direct insight into other beings (or oneself) as concrete wholes existing in relation”  (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 393).   Synnoetics can easily be ascribed to strategic

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