Google+ Badge

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Principal: Master Planner

When I worked at a multidisciplinary design firm many years ago, there was always lots of talk about the master plan. The master plan took into account all of the design needs and timeline of a particular project.

In a sense, the principal of a school is the master planner, and how he/she creates the master plan matters a lot with respect to a school's success. So how does a principal design or choreograph a master plan so that the school community is as successful as possible, and what are the attributes of a successful school?

Attributes of a Successful School
  • engaged, empowered, happy learning team: students, families, educators, leaders, and community members
  • research and development that contributes to the learning environment's steady, positive evolution
  • clean, inspiring, and resource-full learning environment
  • committed, inspired, knowledgeable, skilled, and creative staff
  • regular, inclusive, transparent communication about school goals, efforts, and needs
How does a principal create a master plan to reach those attributes of success?

A principal needs to consider the budget, staff, standards, resources, needs, skills, and interests of all involved in the school environment. Then he/she has to coordinate that with the learning team to maximize the benefit to students. Direction, organization, communication, and delegation are key properties of a successful master plan. 

A principal has to make the time to think BIG about the overall school goals, priorities, and potential before leading the smaller, more targeted work and issues. Questions such as "What is most important with regard to our collective work and efforts?" and "How can we coordinate and support our strengths and challenges well so that we're meeting that potential" are essential considerations in this process.

To create a viable, successful master plan, principals need support from district leaders too. They need the time, resources, and support to make, implement, assess, and refine the master plan. 

As a principal do you see your role as a master planner? If so, what helps you achieve that role, and what holds you back from the possibilities a master plan holds?