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David Palmer and William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

David Palmer and William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

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Published by: William Allan Kritsonis, PhD on Oct 02, 2009
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10/01/2009

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DAVID M. PALMER and WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONIS
Introduction
The
Ways of Knowing Through the
 
 Realms of Meaning 
(Kritsonis, 2007)
 
is a philosophy for selecting the curriculum for general education. The organizational coreof any school is its instruction. The curriculum and its broader objectives is a criticaltopic in every planning cycle or strategic performance system. Long term strategic plans, action plans, strategic thinking or 
SWOT
analysis must have issues of curriculum and instruction Planning is reflexive and implies that schools are morethan just inert pawns in the hands of socioeconomic forces (Holmes, Wootten,Motion, Zorn, & Roper, 2005). Strategic planning in education must have as its primary goal student achievements. If this is so the approach in any strategic plan will be a unitary philosophy of the curriculum with a strategy for reference to themeaningful relationships to the other components of the curriculum. When this is thecase, we right away have a postmodern understanding of what it means to givemeaning to the human experience through a solid foundation established by the six patterns in the realms of meaning namely symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics,ethics and synoptics (Kritsonis & Watkins, 2007).Since strategic planning in schools should command the attention of thecurriculum then the strategic planning of the curriculum requires strategic and tacticaldecision making. With regard to the ordering of content, the relevant teachingmaterials should simplify learners’ task. The thinking should make their modes of thought less transient while at the same time allowing them to actively assimilate pragmatically and constructively throughout their student centered adventure(Dolence, 2004).
Purpose of the Article
The purpose of this article is to show the linkage between the realms of meaning and strategic planning. The article will show how symbolics, empirics,esthetics, synnoetics, ethics, and synoptics has an under pinning value to the planningthat is required for successful schools.
What is Strategic Planning? 
Strategic planning is a management instrument. As with any executive tool, itis used to help an institution do an improved job - to concentrate its energy; ensurethat members of the organization are working toward the same goals; and to appraiseand direct the organization in a changing environment. Strategic planning is adisciplined effort to produce decisions and actions that shape and guide what a schoolis, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. Strategic planning hasits complexities in terms of what it requires. It is aimed at an overall focus of theorganization's resources on mutually preset planned quantifiable outcomes. Useful plans include an organization's entire resources and purpose so it must be developedcalculatingly and attentively (McNamara, 2008).Strategic planning begins with strategic thinking. The difference is one isanalysis and the other is synthesis. It is a constant, methodical thinking process thatidentifies a preferred future and strategies to bring it about by linking deliberate planswith medium and short term operating programs and budgeting controls. Planning is57
 
DAVID M. PALMER and WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONISgetting people involved in collecting high-quality information and using it to makeintelligent decisions about the future. It is the navigator and roadmap to guide a teamand board to make use of an assessable plan that will bring together the priorities andmaximize the performance of the school. Basically, a school undertakes
 
strategic planning
 
to reiterate or fine-tune its mission – why it exists, what is its rationale, whatit achieves now– and to concur on its vision – what it needs to be and achieve in thefuture. The reason is not to decide what ought to be done in the years ahead but todecide what must be done presently to make you the most excellent school.The real value of a strategic planning
 
 blueprint is more than just having anoutline that guides prospective decisions although that is extremely important on itsown. It is an effective all-inclusive approach to building harmony and inspiringsupport, laying out critical priorities for the board and school head who are chargedwith the execution of the plan, and channeling all your energies in one agreed path.Strategic planning is a continuous, organized practice that helps schools and districtsto foresee and chart their annual and multi-year goals and activities by analyzing their system-specific strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities, as well as those of their community (Anderson & Kumari, 2008).Strategic planning should be designed to enhance organizational and staff competences, capability and resources while facilitating results. Strategic planninginvolves ongoing activities whereby schools and districts: develop, implement, andevaluate programs and activities designed to meet their charge, goals, and student-related outcomes; track their needs, plans, and progress over time. Strategic planningshould analyzes what programs, curricula, or interventions to add, remove, replace, or add-on to existing programs, while shaping when and how to make the mid-coursechanges to take full advantage of these programs. It anticipates and reacts as needsarise.Strategic planning uses a systems approach to impact the educational processemphasizing valuable and efficient data-based forecast and decision-making, personnel and resource development and management, monetary and technologicalreliability, and school and community integration. Plainly put, strategic planningdetermines where an organization is going over the next year or more, how it's goingto get there and how it'll know if it got there or not. The hub of a strategic plan isusually on the whole organization, while the focal point of a business plan is moreoften than not on a particular service or program (Gregory, 2007).There are a diversity of perspectives, models and contemporary advancementsused in strategic planning. The way that a strategic plan is developed depends on thenature of the organization's leadership, culture of the organization, complexity of theorganization's climate, size of the organization, and proficiency of the planners. Casein point, there are a variety of strategic planning models. Goals-based planning ismaybe the most common and begins with focusing on the organization's mission (andvision and/or values), objectives to work toward the mission, strategies to achieve theobjectives or goals, and action planning who will do what and by when (McNamara,2008). Issues-based strategic planning begins by probing issues facing theorganization, strategies to address those concerns, and action plans. Organic strategic planning might start by articulating the organization's vision and ideals and thenaction plans to accomplish the vision while adhering to those values. Various plannershave a preference for a particular approach to planning, e.g., appreciative inquiry.Plans are scoped to a year, three years, or five to ten years into the future. Some plansinclude only executive information and no action plans. Lastly, strategic planning is a58
 
DAVID M. PALMER and WILLIAM ALLAN KRITSONISschool’s process of defining itsstrategy, or direction, and making decisions onallocating its resources to pursue its strategies, including its staff and students(McNamara, 2008).The best curriculum and the best staff development and campus safety programs is a must. Various business analysis techniques can be used in strategic planning, including SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, andThreats ) and in the wider educational business circle PEST analysis (Political,Economic, Social, and Technological analysis) or STEER analysis (Socio-cultural,Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors) and EPISTEL -Environment, Political, Informatics, Social, Technological, Economic and Legal( Ronco, 2007).
What are the Benefits of Strategic Planning
Strategic planning enables people to manipulate the future. A number of trends that already strongly affect schools include; an aging population, an increasing proportion of minority students, and growing numbers of special interest groupscompeting for scarce public resources (Wirth, 2009). School officials must plan for shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science, and bilingual education, and theymust prepare to accommodate rising numbers of Hispanic students, many of whomwill not speak English. More students of all types will keep on coming from low socioeconomic status. These profound demographic changes will continue to reshape thenation and its schools in the coming decades. They make strategic planning particularly important and show why it must be done in unison with a strategy, planand policy. Change is taking place at an extraordinary pace. Era and remotenesscontinue to be less and less significant due to fast growth of technological toolsincluding the Internet.With no strategic planning, schools just drift, and are alwaysreactive other than deliberate (Gregory, 2007). The benefit of creating vision anddirection that is simple and clear gets your primary targets, the students, closer to theachievement outcomes you seek for them. That plan in essence is a good plan for itchallenges assumptions, and is created with input from sources inside and outside theschool. It attracts commitment and accountability and it becomes part of the culture toreflect changes in the environment. It allows effective communication using adifferent medium. Too often communication is done half way. We tell and ask andsuggest and advise but don’t test for understanding. To close the loop, build inways to test at every level and area within an organization, along with anunderstanding of the vision. (Mogavero, & Lake, 2006).At some point in the strategic planning process (sometimes in the activity of setting the strategic direction), planners usually identify or update what might becalled the strategic philosophy. This includes identifying or updating theorganization's mission, vision and/or values statements. Mission statements are brief written descriptions of the purpose of the organization. Mission statements vary innature from brief to quite comprehensive, and including having a specific purposestatement that is part of the overall mission statement. A campus improvement planmust include specifying responsibilities and timelines with each objective, or whoneeds to do what and by when. It should also include methods to monitor and evaluatethe plan, mainly student progress which includes knowing how the organization willknow who has done what and by when.59

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