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School leaders who take these steps when communicating strategic priorities won’t believe the success that follows!

October 19, 2017

In our previous posts, we’ve been talking about how the best school leaders select and plan strategic priorities or “big rocks” for their schools. In case you missed these posts, they can be found on our website. Today, we’re kicking off a new series of blog posts focused on implementation now that planning has occurred. This first post covers the importance of communication as the first step to implementation. More specifically, written and verbal communication to staff and key stakeholders.

Derived from our BRES Effective Leader Framework, big rock 2b Communication, use these steps to ensure you’re ready to effectively communicate your big rocks to all staff and key stakeholders.

Take these steps when communicating strategic priorities:

Craft the written message

With your big rocks for the year selected and planned, it is important to have a coherent written message sent to your staff and key stakeholders tailored to the needs of the audience.

When crafting the written message be sure to include these three components:

  1. Rationale behind the big rocks you selected

Here is your opportunity to share with staff the data and decision making process used for selecting your strategic priorities.

Example: “Our end of year assessment scores did not increase from last year in reading and writing, with both years’ passing rate at 45%. Our math scores only increased slightly from 53% to 55%. In particular, the group of students in the lowest quartile decreased by 2% in both content areas! Therefore, data-driven instruction is a big rock this year, specifically improving our quality of data analysis meetings and re-teaching action plans to target students who need extra assistance.”

2.Clear and transparent connection to the school’s mission

If one of your big rocks is student culture, the messaging could sound like.

Example: “Our mission is to prepare well-rounded students for college and beyond and in order to achieve that we must have strong culture, so school is safe, orderly and learning takes place. And just as important, we create a positive space where students feel good about themselves at school and perform their best. So student culture is a big rock with the emphasis on implementing a fair and consistent choice management system with restorative practices.”

3. Specific implementation plan

Once you have conveyed the strong connection to your school’s mission and provided justification for the selected big rocks, make sure to highlight the major attributes of your strategic priorities.

Example: “In order to improve the assessment scores for our students to get them college and career ready, we will create a protocol for data analysis meetings. At every data meeting we will analyze our interim assessment data, administered weekly, to identify the students who perform below 80% on key state standards. Using this data, lesson plans will be created to re-teach these students until they achieve mastery.”

Create your verbal presentation

Presenting your big rocks for the year to your staff and key stakeholders (such as parents, school board members, regional leadership teams, etc.) is just as important as sending your written message.  A verbal presentation ensures that content in the written message is accurately conveyed and also allows staff and key stakeholders to ask clarifying questions so it is fully comprehended.

A strong presentation includes the following components:

  • Agenda
  • Outline
  • Talking points

Possible times to present your big rocks include, but are not limited to:

  • beginning of the year staff professional development
  • parent back to school night
  • parent onboarding and enrollment events

Communicating your strategic priorities is the first step to successful implementation. Combining a clear written message with a dynamic presentation will help your staff and key stakeholders understand and internalize the plan moving forward. Before trying to roll out your big rocks, make sure you have a unified message that starts everyone on the right foot!