Strategic Planning with a Private School Board
“I had no previous board experience, but I was committed to my children getting the great education I had as a child at the school, and the best way I could do that was by joining the school board. We worked with Mary at Catamount Career Development to become an active board with clear direction; she helped us do that and she also helped me understand the critical difference between being an involved parent and an effective member of the school board.”
Cory Frehsee, Civil Engineer & School Board member
This was the Issue
A private school board wanted to set a clear strategic plan for the new school year with month-by-month action steps. All members of the board were new to their positions, didn’t know each other well, and this was the first non-profit board experience for two members.
Here’s what we did
- The board and the school principal worked with Catamount Career Development staff to develop the outline for two (2) four-hour long facilitated strategic planning interactive workshops to be held several weeks apart.
- The first workshop started with a “getting to know you” breakfast
participants introduced themselves, their relationship to the school and how they envisioned their role;
developed an active vision statement in a jovial environment designed to build trust
defined the process in which to participate in an active, dedicated board and the committee structure needed to fulfill the vision
- The second workshop focused on developing an annual strategic plan
brainstormed a month-by-month timeline of activities on large sheets of paper that were posted from one end of the room to the other
participants then used large, bright sticky notes to illustrate and post their ideas on the timeline, and arrive at agreement on: what was to be done, who was to do what, and when the activity was to begin and end
the consultant took the board’s raw data and produced a report outlining the timeline & committee structure
the board then took this outline to an All School Meeting for feedback
Here’s the result
- The board became an involved, cohesive, active team that supported the steep learning curve of the two novice members.
- The board united behind a clear vision of what needed to be done to successfully run the school for the year.
- The feedback from the school community at a series of All School Meetings resulted in four additional, committed parents joining the board, and the successful recruitment of even more parents to join the identified work committees.