STAGE 4: Generating the Strategic Plan

All of the preceding steps have led to the point where the team can begin the strategic planning process. Understanding your community, understanding what is offered in the district, taking a look at current funding and developing a shared philosophy and policy are all critical stepping stones.

The strategic planning process takes courage, determination, and vision to turn around a large institution like a school district. It also requires letting go of the “lack of” mentality. We’ve all been in situations where we accomplished great things in spite of dire situations. It takes stepping out onto the skinny limb and hanging on even if there is a stiff breeze. Using the process we are suggesting allows a group to be empowered and move forward even in tough times.

There has been a history of slow and steady erosion of arts education in the California public schools. An entire generation of teachers has worked in an arts-poor environment. We know the time is right for restoring the arts in our schools, but there is still resistance and fear. Resistance may show up in scheduling issues or a perception that teachers are not ready or in administrators who want to spend time only on the subjects that are tested and therefore considered the “most important”. Careful planning and creative thinking can meet most of the obstacles head-on.

As depicted in the diagram in the Introduction, the strategic planning process is very much a spiral [PDF:382K]. You will find that you need to circle back to re-visit priorities, strategies and opportunities. As you begin to build out the components of the plan, new ideas will emerge and become clear.


TIP: The workshops and conversation scripts in this chapter have been developed utilizing the Group Facilitation Methods established by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA).

We suggest that your Community Arts Team leaders complete ICA’s Group Facilitation Methods course in order to build internal capacity for the district to facilitate planning and implementation of its visual and performing arts program.

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