S2 Case Study: Clarifying Vision at The Academy of WarrenJan 14, 2022
Case study shared and written by Bill Green, Certified System & Soulᵀᴹ Coach
Delivering on mission is good business.
Whether public, private, or charter, a school is a business.
Sure, any good school leader will speak to their mission of providing high-quality education. But most will tell you that delivering on that mission becomes a significant challenge when dealing with the day-to-day “business” of running a school.
In a recent survey, a quarter of charter school leaders stated that student enrollment and teacher retention top their list of concerns as they enter each day. Student enrollment is the economic engine for a charter school and without quality teachers in the classroom that engine stalls.
Strategic planning is great, but schools need an effective operating system just like any other business; one that adequately addresses the process and operations and the people and culture.
The S2 Road Map has been a game-changer for the Academy of Warren. The charter school’s leadership team recently spent two full days together defining their identity, clarifying their core purpose, describing their culture, and placing “bets” for the school’s future.
Lining the halls of the Metro Detroit school are historic photos of the building’s history in the community. Each wall is filled with hand-painted art celebrating African-American culture—many of the pieces crafted by the school’s staff members. The “soul” of the school comes alive everywhere you look.
After the school leaders completed the Clarity phase of their S2 Journey, they created some new space around their newly expanded, 100,000 sq. ft. campus for an addition to their gallery. Their S2 Road Map is now being displayed at various spots throughout the K-8 hallways to remind the students and staff of their commitment to executing their vision.
Image below: Poster created to display the S2 Road Map for The Academy of Warren
This effort to add the academy’s Road Map to the collection of photos, artwork and motivational posters dotting the building’s corridors is intended to serve as a regular reminder of who the school is, why they exist, what they are aiming for, and how they plan to do it. The school’s principal insists it’s as important as any message they are trying to send.
Feedback from the team’s two-day session to develop their Road Map tells a story that goes beyond strategic planning. The clarity that the team gained, just by acknowledging that they need everything they do to be laser-focused on student enrollment and retaining high-quality teachers, produced overwhelming feedback that included words like “relieved,” “energized,” and “inspired.”
Like many other schools, the Academy of Warren has a strategic plan. It contains in-depth detail on topics like curriculum, funding, food service, safety, building maintenance, and the like. What the team realized is that they were not as prepared to execute that plan without a system that enabled them to gain clarity on their core purpose, take control of the day-to-day challenges that derailed them, and create breakthrough for their students and staff.
Armed with its first set of Quarterly Objectives, a shortlist of goals for 2022 and a clear image of its three-year horizon, the Academy of Warren has a business plan to achieve its mission.
Want to create your own S2 Road Map? Download a blank S2 Road Map here.
Special thanks to Certified System & Soulᵀᴹ Coach, Bill Green for his work with the Academy of Warren and for writing this article. And extra special thanks to the Academy of Warren for sharing their experience. We wish you the best on the journey ahead!
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