On February 5, hundreds of educators, students, legislators, and business leaders took part in the inaugural Straight A Innovation Conference at the Ohio Statehouse, featuring innovative projects from more than 50 school districts across the state. The districts are among a group of nearly 300 Ohio school districts that have been awarded $250 million in grants through the Straight A Fund to help launch creative new ideas for improving education. Battelle for Kids is supporting several Straight A grant winners who are using the power of collaboration and innovation to transform college and career opportunities for students. Read their stories.
There is rightly a major focus nowadays on recruiting and hiring the best educator talent in our schools. However, an equally important, and often overlooked issue, is how districts can effectively retain their best teachers and school leaders. Educator turnover costs school districts in the U.S. about $2.2 billion annually, according to a recent study. It also impacts learning opportunities for students, particularly those in urban and rural settings which face the biggest challenges in growing and keeping effective educators. To ensure equitable access to excellent educators for all our students—regardless of their zip code—we need a balanced approach to talent management in education focused on recruiting, developing, and retaining the best and brightest educators.
Upper Arlington City Schools (UA), in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, recently set out to create a roadmap for the future of the district that ensures all students have access to a world-class education that prepares them to serve, lead, and succeed. In partnership with Battelle for Kids, UA spent the past several months developing a three-year strategic plan designed to measurably improve the district’s operational efficiency and academic quality by 2018. To support the planning process, we actively engaged district staff, educators, students, business, and community members through targeted surveys, interviews, focus groups, communications support, and designated work teams focused on solutions to improve the district’s productivity. This work will result in a new path for strategic planning that stays true to UA’s strong tradition of achievement and excellence.
In 2010, Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) set out to meet an urgent challenge facing many large urban school districts across the country—how do you ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and career, regardless of their background? With the support of educators, parents, local government, philanthropic, business, and community leaders, TPS launched its 2010–2015 Strategic Plan, a comprehensive educational improvement framework focused on providing a quality learning experience for every student, every day, without exception. A core goal of the plan is to create a performance-based culture at all levels of the district.
It may sound cliché, but the construction of the Roman Empire is surprisingly relevant to today’s educational landscape. Our students are growing up in an increasingly global world in which they are no longer competing for jobs or educational opportunities with their peers in the neighboring community, but with young people in India, China, Germany, Singapore, and across the world. For its time, Rome was a global empire, and the Romans were strategic in how they approached everything—from infrastructure to public resources to leadership roles. Purposeful strategic planning is vital for college and career success for students. Two thousand years later, we can learn a great deal from how the Romans planned their empire to more effectively build our own education system. Here are 5 lessons from Rome for education leaders to consider in developing a strategic planning process that prepares students for success beyond high school.