Home' Independence : Independence Vol 33 No 2 Oct 2008 Contents 58 Independence Volume 33 No. 2
College, Adelaide, SA
Immanuel College is a Lutheran secondary
coeducational boarding and day school
with 890 students from Years 7 to 12.
Shared vision has to evolve from the per-
sonal visions of the staff, executive and
the Board. So there needs to be opportu-
nity for people to share their stories and
express their views, and a fantastic stage
to do that is when you are revising your
strategic plan and your master plan.
The role of the Principal is to take direc-
tion of the development of the vision and
weave those personal stories into a cohe-
sive vision that the Board is then happy
to own and approve.
It's also important for there first to be
agreement that a vision is something that
is owned and shared. Some Boards -- and
some Heads -- see the vision as 'theirs', and
not as something that should be shared.
Critical to building a shared vision is the
relationship between the Chair and the
Head. The Chair has to champion the
Head and the Head has to champion the
Chair, because they are the critical link
between management and governance. If
this relationship is not working -- if there
is a lack of trust and respect between
Chair and Head -- then there can be no
shared vision, and one needs to go.
In the current environment in business
and in education the vision must also be
allowed to be an evolving one. Schools
must be continually shaping and reshap-
ing their vision, and it is essential for the
Board and Head to keep dialogue about
the vision very much alive.
Quite often in building a shared vision
organisations fall back on the 'safe' mod-
el -- those things people can all agree on.
But it's important to have a vision that
fosters risk taking and experimentation.
Success in today's education environment
depends on a forward vision that fosters
experimentation and that continually
challenges one's practice.
Dr David Warner,
College of Education,
Eltham College of Education is a coedu-
cational day school with 1050 students
from Early Learning Centre to Year 12.
Schools and their Boards are all unique.
At Eltham, the impetus for developing a
new vision for the school originated with
the Board, which decided it wanted an in-
novative, student focused school relevant
to the new millennium. They then looked
for someone who could put flesh on that
vision and work with the school's execu-
tive team to make it happen. So I was
specifically appointed for that purpose.
In the first few months of my appoint-
ment, Board members and the executive
team together went through a strategic
planning process to ensure we were in
agreement in terms of strategic directions.
It was a collaborative process. It was then
the job of the Principal and executive
team to make that operational.
The strategic plan must be a dynamic docu-
ment that can be modified as circumstances
or directions change and so an annual
review is essential. At Eltham, each year
members of the Board, the executive and our
student captains (Eltham has six captains)
workshop over two days. The issues and
directions that will guide our business plan-
ning process come out of that, so that by the
end of the year the Business Director and I,
with the executive, will have put together a
business plan based on the previous year's
plan and incorporating any changes identi-
fied in the workshop. That goes to Council
for approval or change. That business plan
guides our next year, but within the context
of a five-year strategic plan.
A school Board has fiduciary and legal
responsibilities for the directions of the
school, therefore its members must be
engaged in developing those directions.
One of the ways to do that is through a
strategic planning workshop and through
a business plan. But we also have to make
sure Board members get regular papers
that keep them up to date with what's
happening in the educational world.
If Board members are engaged in develop-
ing the strategic plan and confident there
is a shared understanding of the direction
in which the school is heading they are
more likely to be comfortable in handing
operational management to the Principal.
The relationship between the Principal
and Chair underpins that process. Boards
-- whether in the commercial sector or in
schools -- have a responsibility to ensure
they appoint a Chair who is going to work
well with the Principal or CEO.
Boards have a
ensure they appoint
a Chair who is going
to work well with
Critical to building a
shared vision is the
the Chair and the Head.
Links Archive Independence Vol 33 No 1 May 2008 Independence Vol 34 No 1 May 2009 Navigation Previous Page Next Page