The Strategy Playbook for Educational Leaders
Principles and Processes
This how-to resource provides leaders with a concrete framework for a strategic improvement plan, helping educators link the "principles" to "processes" of planning. Packed with key takeaways and additional resources, this book provides the concrete tools to design a strong strategy for improvement and enables educational leaders to think constructively about why we plan, what an effective strategic plan should contain, and how to create meaningful dialogue to support plan development, implementation, and monitoring for continuous improvement.
The Strategy Playbook for Educational Leaders provides superintendents, central office staff, principals, and teacher leaders with the opportunity to reframe the process of their strategic planning and breathe new life into the activity.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Setting the Stage 1. Strategic Planning for Continuous Improvement 2. What Is Strategy? Part 2: Getting to Business 3. Building a Strategy 4. Leadership and Creating Conditions for Success 5. Shared Understanding of High-Quality Teaching and Learning Part 3: Monitoring and Continuous Improvement 6. How Do We Know it is Working? 7. Conclusion
Isobel Stevenson is a Director at the Connecticut Center for School Change, USA. She has been a district Chief Academic Office, Principal, Assistant Principal, Curriculum Coordinator, and Teacher.
Jennie M. Weiner is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Connecticut, USA. She has worked for Rhode Island Department of Education on issues of school turnaround and capacity building, and was a senior research associate for the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) at the Milken Family Foundation.
"Strategic planning is the graveyard where promising ideas go to die. Put excellent ideas into a strategic planning framework and they will get starved of inspiring language, exhausted after endless meetings, and paralyzed by rigid frameworks and metrics. This book, however, is the antithesis of everything you assumed or imagined about strategic planning. Accessible, practical, and counterintuitive, it knocks traditional assumptions like SMART goals on the head and puts in their place a clear and simple alternative. Strategic planning, it turns out, is about actually doing something that matters, with the people you’ve got or are able to get, in a way that is feasible, and that makes perfect sense. If you want to bring strategic planning back from the dead and enliven your school’s improvement plans, this is the book for you."
—Andy Hargreaves, Research Professor, Boston College
"In The Strategy Playbook for Educational Leaders, Stevenson and Weiner draw on their deep experience in schools and districts to clarify the purpose of educational planning (instructional improvement, not bureaucratic compliance) and explain how to do it (with others, learning-as-you-go, continuously assessing progress). They chart an ambitious and productive path for individual and organizational learning—one that is grounded in principle, guided by goals, and geared for action."
—Susan Moore-Johnson, Jerome T. Murphy Research Professor in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
"Most leaders know that strategy is important. After all, as Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, says, "a vision without the ability to execute is probably a hallucination." However, in education, books on strategy tend either to be so vague that they provide little actual guidance on how to achieve the desired goals, or are overly specific, providing recipes that may work in a few contexts but are largely useless in most others. This is why The Strategy Playbook for Educational Leaders is such a remarkable and useful book. Beginning with a powerful framework that focuses on equity, logic, capacity, and coherence, they describe a disciplined process for developing a strategic approach to school improvement; one that supports and guides—but does not dictate—what schools and districts should seek to do. The result is a resource that will be valuable to all administrators whatever their beliefs about the purposes of education, curriculum philosophy and pedagogy."
—Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus professor of Educational Assessment at the UCL Institute of Education