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School Planning

  1. Overview: Current Page
  2. 1. Vision to Goal Setting
  3. 2. Planning and Implementation
  4. 3. Monitor, Evaluate and Adapt
  5. 4. Communicating Process

Three core concepts of vibrant learning: 'Value and Vision', 'Engagement and Learning', and 'Collaboration, Communication and Community'

Schools are foundational to creating society and the shared values that bind us together. A great school is often described as a community of learners including students, teachers, support staff, parents, and community members. The intention behind school planning is to engage the community of learners in recognizing the many quality attributes of the school, while highlighting future directions and areas of focus.

Historically, in British Columbia, school planning has taken different forms. Prior to 2002, a school accreditation process that included an external team assessing the work of the school was the ​primary method to enable school planning. From 2002 to 2015, each school community was asked to develop a school growth plan. Unfortunately, the school growth plan movement was not designed in a collaborative manner. It was solely achievement-oriented and, as such, did not engender commitment from the full community of learners.

Moving forward, the North Vancouver School District has embarked on a process to define and develop a more authentic school planning process that reflects the values of individual communities, while maintaining a commitment to the Mandate for Public Schooling.

School Planning: A New View

Limited Participants Multiple Varied Participants
Prescriptive Creative, Adaptive
Quantitative data Multiple and Varied Data Exemplars
District Focus Site Based Focus
Product Focus Process and Product Focus
Static Evolving/Changing
Template No Template
Isolation Family of School Capacity Building

Design Process

From March 2015 to July 2015, in consultation with representative School Planning Councils and student leaders, a team of educators that included Teachers, Educational Assistants, School Principals, and Directors worked together to define the role, purpose, and direction of the school planning process. The working group developed shared understandings and general processes as the initial foundation to meaningful school planning. Meaningful school planning should enable the development of a ‘vibrant community of learners’ defined by the following “Six Key Attributes”:

  • A focus on student engagement and learning
  • A culture of teamwork and collaboration
  • Respect for adult and student diversity
  • A strong sense of community and collective responsibility
  • Strong Systemic Structures (e.g., SBRT, Collaboration Time, Staff Meetings)
  • Ongoing and relevant communication of student learning​.

School Planning Team

The School Planning process is supported by a variety of stakeholders with a focus on enhancing student learning and engagement. The goal of the School Planning team is to understand and participate in a collaborative process of creating a living document that will articulate the unique nature of each school and guide its focus. Developing a thorough understanding of the nature and characteristics of each school is a vital component of the planning process.

Communication Expectations

Members of the School Planning Process are expected to participate with the following communication characteristics:

  • to be mindful that all decisions are made for the good of all students
  • to suspend judgment, get curious and be respectful
  • to ensure all members have opportunities to speak and to be heard
  • to accurately represent the larger group when acting as a liaison

Core Team

While many stakeholders may be involved in the Visioning to Goal Setting stage, a Core Team will develop the school plan and monitor its success. The two key responsibilities of the Core Team are to publish the School’s Strategic Planning process and communicate progress. The suggested members of the Core Team are highlighted in green in the chart below. Members are encouraged, but not limited, to participate on the Core Team for a minimum of one school year. The Core Team is responsible for supporting all stakeholders during the process by: establishing goals and strategies, analyzing information, collating data, communicating the plan and progress.

Teacher Selection: Teachers who are interested in being members of the Core Team can indicate their interest to the staff committee who will, in turn, make the membership decision.

Diagram of School and Core Team relationship mechanic

This visual is intended as a guideline only. Individual schools can populate their Core Team ​with any members of the larger group that suit their unique needs.

Stakeholders Anticipated Input

Teachers / Multi-disciplinary FOS staff
  • gather information and participate in establishing goal setting and formulating implementation strategies
  • work closely with various groups to implement the plan
  • support the on-going assessment of the plan by sharing up-to-date information
  • consider personal and professional development opportunities to support the goals of the school plan

Parent Liaison(s)
  • liaise with the Parent Advisory Counsel in order to gather feedback and consult with the parent community at large in relation to identifying and supporting the school’s highest priorities for learning and engagement
  • support the evaluation of the plan by sharing up-to-date information
  • parent(s) may or may not attend all of the Core Planning team meetings

Support Staff (CUPE)
  • gather information and participate in establishing goal setting and formulating implementation strategies
  • work closely with various groups to implement the plan
  • consider personal and professional development opportunities to support the goals of the school plan
  • support the evaluation of the plan by sharing up-to-date information

  • provide an overview of the School Planning Process to staff, parents, students and community partners
  • help all groups to understand and develop their role in the process and invite them to participate
  • ensure that there is regular communication about the plan and progress
  • ensure the final school plan is communicated to all members of the school’s community

  • develop a thorough understanding of the nature and characteristics of each school
  • ensure professional training opportunities are available as required
  • support parents and community partners in becoming stakeholders in the planning process
  • share relevant district / provincial data as needed

  • provide information to the Core Team
  • help communicate plan to the student body, parents and community school
  • participate in the school planning process

Community Partners
  • provide information to the Core Team
  • participate in the school planning process
  • communicate how community partners can support the school

Meaningful Consultation

It is essential for School Planning Teams to provide meaningful consultation and communication throughout the school planning process.

Meaningful consultation is a process, which anchors decision-making in education. When decisions are being made for students, all stakeholders need to be given the opportunity to share their unique perspective. School teams need to consider how they will provide a respectful environment for this group to share their perspective.

You can expect that groups may have different opinions and perspectives. Consultation is a process whereby groups try to align their views more closely through discussion and sharing of realities from differing perspectives.​​​

More information on meaningful consultation.

School Planning Timeline (January to June 2016):

The following timeline was intended to provide a linear perspective to help orient you to the stages of the school planning process from January to June 2016. Included are suggested activities to augment those that are designed by your School Planning Team (SPT). These suggested activities are not restricted to a specific timeline objective and can be freely moved to support other stages of the process.

Date Objective Possible Activities
January 2016 Establish School Planning Steering Teams.

Share SP PowerPoint with staff and provide the opportunity for feedback.

Provide an update to PAC and school community about the new school planning process.

Garner feedback from PAC as to what Meaningful Consultation looks like.

Plan idea(s) for meaningful parent consultation.

  • Aside from a general invitation to multi-stake holders to join the SPT, it may be effective to participation in some ‘Situating’ activities in order to garner enthusiasm, a sense of purpose, and an investment in the future success of the school community.
  • Michael Fullan video: Topic Video: Leadership at All Levels
March 2016 Develop and post the planning process to be undertaken.
June 2016 Plan activities and gather input in identifying priorities
  • Chalk Talk: 6 Key Attributes of a Vibrant Community of Learners
  • Compass Points
  • 3 -2 -1 Bridge activity
  • Think- Puzzle-Explore
Discussion Papers