Why Is Great Strategic Planning So Difficult? Five Challenges | Joel Backon | 17 Min Read

February 5, 2021

Traditionally, there are several reasons why independent schools undertake a new strategic plan:

  • New Head of School
  • Haven’t written one in many years
  • Ten-year accreditation coming up in two years
  • Considering a change in direction (high school opening a middle school)
  • Upcoming Capital Campaign
  • A major transformation of the program (integration of SEL, DEI, PBL, and CBE)
  • Regular planning cycle

Today, there is another reason that was not considered as recently as last year: considerable change in the external environment. The arrival of COVID-19 forced schools into a scramble mode to finish the 2019-20 school year. Now the 2020-21 year is in full swing, and schools are still in a mode that was designed to be temporary, at least according to the communication that goes to school community constituents. At what point do we decide that some of the programmatic and pedagogical changes we are making are not temporary, but Phase I of a new approach to teaching and learning that is more blended and flexible in nature, that appeals to the individual needs of students and fosters a mindset that is based upon mastery rather than relative achievement? The most reasonable response would…

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Joel Backon

Joel Backon has been the Editor of Intrepid Ed News since its inception in January 2021, responsible for all educator content on the website. He joined the OESIS Network, owner of Intrepid, in 2019 as Vice President. Joel spent much of his career at Choate Rosemary Hall (CT) where for 27 years he held founding roles in Information and Academic Technology, as well as being a classroom teacher, curriculum designer, coach, dorm head, and student adviser. Prior to Choate, Joel spent 15 years in the printing and publishing industry educating printers on how to maximize their strengths and minimize weaknesses. He has crusaded to achieve consensus on the question of why we educate kids in an effort to meet the learning needs of every student.