Do you want to get everyone on the same page? Does your school board-superintendent team believe improvement is important? If so, check out MSBA's Strategic Planning and Goal-Setting Services.

School board-superintendent teams use different terms to describe school district planning and goal-setting, including developing school district ends and aims; strategic planning; strategic focuses and directions; or beliefs, mission, vision and goals work. Regardless of what the process is called, school boards are responsible for clarifying the school district's purpose and direction.

BROCHURE: MSBA Strategic Planning Services

WEBINAR: Strategic Planning During Challenging Times (Recorded September 17, 2020) — presented by Gail Gilman, MSBA Director of Strategic Planning and Board Leadership

How do we get started?

Generally, there are four in-district meetings and one meeting conducted electronically (via Skype).

  • One Skype meeting to clarify the Strategic Planning Committee's work
  • One listening session meeting
  • Three in-district meetings to create the district's belief statements, mission statement, vision statement, goals and objectives.

COST: Contact MSBA's Gail Gilman for pricing information.

CUSTOMIZATION: MSBA is here to serve your school district. As such, we can customize a model to meet the needs of your school district.

CONTACT: Get started today. Contact MSBA's Gail Gilman at 800-324-4459 or

How does the school district benefit from doing this work?

Setting the school district's strategic direction and goals:

  • Helps meet the legal requirements for a school board to adopt a comprehensive, long-term strategic plan to support and improve teaching and learning (M.S. 120B.11, Subd. 2).
  • Builds strong school board and superintendent relationships by clearly stating expectations.
  • Creates clear expectations for school district operations.
  • Drives the school district to continually improve in pursuit of excellence.
  • Provides clarity for the school district's staff.
  • Enables performance monitoring and evaluation.
  • Ensures the school board speaks for the community.
  • Guarantees alignment between community values and school district operations.
  • Helps meet requirements to establish a plan to develop the World's Best Workforce.

What are school district goals?

  • Goals are the desired end result of the school district's efforts. Goals specify what the school district wishes to accomplish.
  • Setting school district goals is about working on ends.
  • In a school district, ends are composed for five components:
  1. Mission: What is our purpose? Who are we?
  2. Vision: Where do we want to go? What will it look like when we get there?
  3. Beliefs: What do we care about regarding public education in our community? What guides our decision-making?
  4. Goals: What do we need to do to get there? What does the school district need to achieve to get there?
  5. Objectives: What steps do we have to take to meet the school district's goals?

What role would the school district's staff and residents play?

MSBA's consultants have facilitated community engagement-related activities to gather stakeholder (internal and external) feedback to help shape school district priorities.

School districts can use a survey to solicit input from school district strengths and needs. Survey responses are confidential. All responses will be collected and analyzed by MSBA. The material collected through the survey will help shape the strategic plan priorities. MSBA consultants will share key themes with the school board and superintendent.

What are the benefits of facilitation by an MSBA consultant?

MSBA consultants bring expertise about the school board's role in setting school district direction and goals. MSBA consultants have assisted groups — both large and small — composed of board members, school district leaders, students and community members in studying specific school district topics.

MSBA consultants guide the process for managing group input and decision-making so that decisions can be reached and all school board-superintendent team members can participate. MSBA consultants will record the work in a report format that can set the stage for further strategic planning by school district staff. And, as MSBA member school districts, school boards can access these services for a reasonable fee.

What is the school board's role in setting school district goals and direction?

  • School boards are the entity legally charged with governing a school district.
  • One of the school board's duties is to clarify the school district's purpose and direction.
  • School boards convey the school district's direction by setting clear, well-crafted goals.
  • School district staff is responsible for developing the action plans to achieve the school district's goals.
  • School boards give final approval of the action plans, designate funding to support the school district's goals, and develop a monitoring and evaluation plan to measure improvement.