Saturday, April 25, 2015

Case Study: Alexandria City Public Schools

By Steven M. Worth, President at Plexus Consulting Group, LLC

For the Alexandria City Public School System, one of the most diverse in the United States, a direct, specific vision was difficult to maintain. With students from over 80 differing countries speaking over 60 various languages, ACPS sought aspirations that were representative of all members of the system. Though in the past the planning process had strictly included only school board officials and the consulting team, the program implemented by Plexus also included groups such as those in the Talented and Gifted Advisory Committee. Community and student members, such as high school seniors, also contributed to the process, making it a uniquely holistic group of Alexandria representatives. Through Plexus Consulting Group’s strategic planning program, ACPS not only organized its central goals but also gained phenomenal community participation.

The program, which integrated ideas from the school board, ACPS executive staff, and community participants, consisted of six retreat meetings featuring presentations and breakout group discussions. Results of the program included the identification of target needs, the formulation of tactics for attaining goals, and the utilization of effective member communication. By researching the development trends in Alexandria, analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of concern, and brainstorming for a united vision, the 55-65 members of the strategic planning team constructed for ACPS a mission statement that not only focused the school system’s objectives but also served to greatly improve relationships throughout the community.

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