ACSA region presidents and presidents-elect agree the ACSA Strategic Plan meets or exceeds their expectations.
The ACSA region leaders participated in a discussion on the final draft plan May 8 in Sacramento. The Strategic Plan consists of a mission statement, parameters, objectives, a set of beliefs and nine strategies for action to ensure the association remains vital and constantly evolving. Access a copy of the final draft at www.acsa.org/strategicplanning.
The region leaders were particularly excited by the belief statements, which include such declarations as “An educated citizenry is essential to democracy,” “Every person has a right to unrestricted opportunity” and “Transformative change requires the courage to take risks.” Some comments on the beliefs included:
• “Yes! This is what we stand for!”
• “Belief statements focus is on service to others!”
• “Beliefs are foundational; the driving force of this document. Gives a reason ‘why’ what we are doing is important.
• “The Beliefs inspire action and confirm the work we do for students.”
Similarly, region presidents and presidents-elect, who were joined by some region consultants, agreed the parameters are immediately operational and that, if objectives are met, the association will be in a stronger position moving forward.
But the bulk of the conversation focused on the strategies for action. The region leaders noted members’ voices were clearly heard in designing the action plans. Some comments included:
• “We applaud the idea of championing ACSA as an education leader.”
• “The plan is membership focused and driven.” “The word ‘members’ appears a lot; we think that’s positive.
• “Members should feel like they’ve been heard and the organization is responsive.”
• “There is capacity building within each strategy.” “Building capacity of members to strengthen themselves and one another to enhance the quality of public education.”
• “This is a platform to catapult us into the future.”
• ‘There is clarity of purpose and a common language. It will renew energy and faith in the organization: Rebirth.”
• “There is alignment of focus around a single mission. It is a comprehensive plan, well articulated.”
• “There is an emphasis on relationships.” “It fosters collaboration and alliances.”
• “It’s a working document – constant progress.”
• “The focus is on students; that’s what we’re all about.”
The region leaders are now tasked with taking the strategic plan back to local members to discuss a timeline for implementation of action items.
The five-year plan includes a total of 41 Action Plans. Its implementation requires a multiple-year approach, with specific strategies and action phased in over time.
Strategy 8, involving governance, and Strategy 5, involving new concepts of learning and teaching, have been designated to receive further study.
The ACSA Board of Directors will hold an extended study session in July to delve into the Strategic Plan and to review feedback from regions and members. The Board also will determine how the plan should be phased in over multiple years and next steps for Strategies 5 and 8.
At its May meeting, the Board of Directors adopted an ACSA 2013-14 budget that included limited funding for implementing the strategic priorities. Now that the Strategic Plan has been finalized, future ACSA budgets will be aligned with this new strategic direction.
Feedback from regions, along with ACSA’s adopted 2013-14 budget and ACSA’s long-term finances, are key factors the board will use to determine how strategies and action plans are phased in over time.
The Board of Directors is asking all ACSA regions to spend time at summer retreats and meetings to solicit feedback about years 1 and 2 preferences. Specifically, the board is asking regions and members for feedback on the following question: Which strategy and corresponding Action Plans will have the most positive effect for ACSA’s future and must be implemented in the first two years?
Region leaders noted that with 41 action plans, they understand implementation will have to be phased in. “Unity of purpose,” they said, is key. Other comments included:
• “We have to have a mechanism to make sure the plan happens in unison (at the state, region and charter levels). We can’t have 19 different interpretations of the action plans.”
• “The opportunity to break the status quo may not be there if we don’t take time to make this work.”
• “We need to leverage the time we have, and we need to invest in mobilization.”
• “How (do members) include themselves, given time constraints? It requires us the ‘walk the talk.’”
• “We need to continually deepen/broaden our members’ understanding of the plan.”
Talking points on the Strategic Plan have been compiled by ACSA Communications and delivered to region leaders. To ensure all members have an opportunity to provide feedback on preferences for the first year and beyond, a survey has been posted at www.acsa.org/feedback.