One of the things we often find with planning with schools systems is a “disease” called SPOTS, Strategic Plans On The Shelf. So many times schools and/or school districts will enter into the strategic planning process thinking that it is a “destination” or a one-time event that once they finish creating the plan and it is published, it is no longer a living, breathing document, and is rarely referred to until the term of that plan is complete.
Simbli is a tool that helps districts eliminate SPOTS by making it easy for the leadership team to measure, manage and monitor their process for improvement.
Given the tough times in today’s economy and other things that are happening at federal, state and local levels, Carroll County Schools felt it was important to invest in and effectively use technology tools that help the school system and the individual schools with aligning, measuring, monitoring and communicating the work of the district.
These tools can help ensure that the resource allocations, the personnel allocations and the decisions that need to be made are based on a common set of directions that have been agreed upon by the key stakeholders.
Carroll County Schools uses Simbli’s Strategic Plan Module to manage both the district’s strategic improvement plan as well as the local school improvement plans. Additionally, Simbli allows the district and each school to post their Balanced Scorecard as a part of the Simbli Strategic Plan Module. This web-based tool allows for initiatives and action steps to be directly tied to individuals and/or departments that are responsible for them. The entire plan can then be filtered by department, by individual, by due date or status by both the individuals responsible, as well as the management team. Everyone can see real time how the team or individual is performing, allowing for concrete evaluations of personnel and ensuring transparency and accountability.
How does Simbli help your district with transparency and accountability?
Carroll County uses Simbli to post and share board meeting agendas/information, board policies, district strategic improvement plan and the school improvement plans for each of our 23 school sites. Each of these are important in our efforts to ensure transparency with all stakeholders. Board agendas and information help internal and external stakeholders keep abreast of what the board is discussing at each meeting. Additionally, the information attached to the agenda shows stakeholders the same data that board members use to make decisions.
Having board policies posted is an important governance step in our efforts towards transparency. Internal and external stakeholders have instant access to the polices that govern the Carroll County School System. Having these policies online is also useful for our board members as they prepare for meetings or answer stakeholder inquiries.
The most important of the transparency tools for Simbli is the ability to post our improvement plans for all to see as a part of the Strategic Plan Module. All stakeholders can view the plans for the district and each school. This module also puts the power of strategic improvement planning at the fingertips of school administrators in a way that was never before possible.
How does Simbli help your district align your work (plans, meetings, and policies)?
The board, district administrators and school administrators use the strategic goal areas outlined in the district strategic improvement plan as the guiding direction for all work in the district. All school improvement plans are aligned around the these four goal areas; meeting agendas are built around the goal areas; and strategic discussions are framed around the goal areas. Additionally, superintendent and principal performance evaluations are aligned around these four goal areas.
How does Simbli provide cost savings and efficiency to your organization?
The ability to post agendas, policies and improvement plans electronically proves to be an effective tool to control costs in these difficult economic times. Stakeholders can get to them in real time and those working on them can do it from anywhere with internet connectivity.
What advice can you give other school systems wanting to maximize their use of Simbli?
School systems using the eBOARDsolutions suite of tools have at their disposal a powerful array of options to improve their school district. Failure to fully use these tools in an effort to align and focus district and school improvement is akin to having at your disposal a nuclear aircraft carrier and using it like a tugboat. It is the most powerful electronic suite of tools available to school districts.