Stewarding our (Constrained) Resources

How do we align our financial resources with our mission and goals? How do I, as an administrator of a K-6 school, make sure that we use all resources to the best and most efficient ways possible to ensure the best learning for the students at Keeler School and in the Calgary Board of Education? How do we as an educational institution (not for profit) improve organizational performance and outcomes?

The Balanced Scorecard – Connecting the Mission and Organizational Performance (http://www.maaw.info/BalScoreSum.htm)

A tool that was shared with us this morning for examining if we are meeting our Vision and Strategies and are being effective in our organizational performance is called the Balanced Scorecard. It was a tool that came from For-Profit Companies and was adapted for Not-For-Profit groups like schools.

Why look at this now?

How do we better use the bottom line to our advantage?

How do we ensure quality education no matter the number of students we are funded for?

How do we learn from past best practice, yet look to the future for innovative, creative and promising practice?

What are we going to be and what are we going to do next?

What are we NOT going to be and NOT going to do?

 

So, what is our work, vision and strategy?

The Calgary Board of Education Mission
“Educating Tomorrow’s Citizens Today”

The Calgary Board of Education Vision
The Calgary Board of Education is the dynamic learning community of choice.
We provide quality learning opportunities and options. Our learners take ownership by discovering and developing their potential, passions and gifts. They take their place as lifelong learners and make a significant contribution within a complex, changing world.

The Calgary Board of Education Values
Students come first.
Learning is our central purpose.
Public education serves the common good.

The Keeler School Development Plan for school improvement and development, which is connected to the CBE 3 Year Plan. The CBE 3-Year Plan has been very useful in this work as it lays out the system goals that all schools can be and need to be part of. (see page 4 of http://www.cbe.ab.ca/AboutUs/documents/1011AERR.pdf ) One of the strategies identified as part of our work is:

Stewarding Our Resources
Resource Management on Behalf of Student Learning

Decisions at all levels of the organization (schools to service units) are:

  • Based on values and priorities
  • Data Driven
  • Strategic
  • Responsive
  • Coherent with the learning agenda
  • Coherent with each other
  • Sustainable

So, how do we bring in resources that enable the development of student learning and do not distract us from our mission? How do we stay true to our vision? There are choices out there as to online, private, charter, catholic and public schools. There are arts-based, special needs, language immersion, and religious-based schools. We cannot be all of those, so lets make sure we utilize our resources wisely and strategically, rather than all over the place…

Education is a very emotionally charged issue, and is not the same as a For-Profit Company that has a bottom line and the shareholders are all important in all decisions. Strategy is usually long-term. Initiatives should exist to help us achieve our strategic objectives.

In looking at Resource Stewardship, I realize that having a clear mission and strategy is imperative. In looking at spending initiatives, no matter how large or small, it would be very helpful for me or the teachers or the admin team to look at the spending and compare it to if and how much it aligns and will help us achieve our strategic goals.

In many of my decisions around resource utilization, this will be a much more beneficial process to be able to make informed and intelligent decisions, rather than a short-term decision based on whim.

Imagine a teacher coming in. “Derek, this looks awesome for students. We should get this. Can we, please?” Turning this around to make a case for how it aligns and supports our strategic objectives changes the discussion drastically. It is no longer a decision based on “gut feeling” or on if they catch me at a good moment. It also places some of the responsibility on the staff members for being a part of the process as well.

This will help get us out of the “Dad, can I have some money?” syndrome…

Work hard, learn tons!
D

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