Craig Hockenberry Can Facilitate Strategic Planning (CRAIG HOCKENBERRY THREE RIVERS)
Craig Hockenberry Can Facilitate Strategic Planning
When Craig Hockenberry arrived at the Three Rivers School District in Southwest Ohio, he found a district with big dreams, active students and parents, and a proud history of academic and athletic achievements. He also found that some of the wealthier residents of the multiple villages that created the district together chose to send their children to private Catholic schools in nearby Cincinnati.
He was determined to make sure that the local public schools presented a compelling alternative to these families, in the hopes that more of them would choose to send their children to Three Rivers. More importantly, he wanted the district to offer the strongest possible education to students, preparing them for a rich and productive life.
So Craig Hockenberry started filling some gaps.
First, he went on his own listening tour of the district, where he learned of their pride in their past swimming glory - including an olympic swimmer. From this, the district partnered to create a new public indoor swimming pool, at no additional cost to the school system itself.
Then he partnered with a local parent and businessperson to create a Core Values statement that captured the community’s hopes and dreams for their children and their schools.
Then, with a values statement in place, he contracted with Dr. Bobby Moore and his company EPIC Impact Education Group to develop a strategic plan.
This strategic plan would help them better utilize their resources and take steps to live into their values over the following 3 to 5 years. It would bring accountability, clarity, and increased achievement if done correctly. And Craig was committed to doing it correctly.
CRAIG HOCEKNBERRY A strategic plan requires strategic meetings
As detailed in two previous articles, Dr. Moore met with every conceivable constituent group in the district, usually on multiple occasions and at times that were convenient for them. For employees and students, including the Board of Education, these meetings happened “on the clock” so that there was no barrier to their participation. For parents, meetings happened at multiple times, so parents with different daily routines and needs could find a convenient time to participate.
The rules for engaging the community were intentionally strict and cast a wide net. Building principals were tasked with communicating meeting dates and times and recruiting all parents - not just the most outspoken or supportive ones. Community meetings intentionally involved people in leadership positions, including the police and fire chiefs.
Further, these meetings were run by Dr. Moore in a systematic way. There was always an agenda published in advance, and a scribe was present to capture ideas in the moment instead of relegating them to memory.
The goal was clear: to hear from EVERYONE in the Three Rivers School District.
And to meaningfully involve them in developing a strategic plan.
Dr. Moore conducted these meetings in a formal, comfortable, but business-like way. When people challenged the data, he directed them back to the source. When one person claimed to have read the whole report and challenged a part of it, Dr. Moore pushed back with specific information that showed the data was correct as presented.
This sent the important message that the strategic plan was not an effort to please everyone, or to give every person with a complaint a platform to broadcast that complaint.
Instead it was a serious effort to look at the most accurate, up-to-the-minute data and determine the best way forward in alignment with Core Values as determined by the community.
CRAIG HOCKENBERRY Leadership must implement the strategic plan
Of course, after all of the intentional listening and review, after more than a year and a half of the two-year process is completed, the data all comes together in a thorough and comprehensive report.
And the district leadership set aside time to dive into that data to set the new course.
They first looked at the information - performance data and community feedback - in each area of the state report card.
At this time, the district did not yet have a score in the Career and College Readiness category, but Craig and other leaders looked at this category too, because they would receive a score in it starting the following year.
Then the leaders looked at the resources they had available to bring to bear on solving these problems.
They looked closely at budget sources and amounts, as well as expenditures. They worked to improve transparency with spending, so they could tell whether money was really being spent in alignment with goals, or if that money was being wasted.
With this plan, the leadership team went back to the Board of Education, who approved it.
Craig Hockenberry is a leader who knows how to create a strategic plan and get it passed and into full effect.
CRAIG HOCKENBERRY CINCINNATI OHIO
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