School leadership is joyous journey, but it is difficult. Decisions have to be made that affect students and, often, those choices must be made without a clear pathway that should be followed. A school needs assessment is one way to help clarify the current need as well as defining the future steps to take.
To help principals and leadership teams with the needs assessment process, the Stride Professional Development Center has released a brand new course (School Needs Assessment) that offers guidance on the first steps of planning toward a school’s improvement.
The course, which will take about an hour to complete, is broken apart into three specific segments. Each one is briefly discussed below:
- Purpose – in one word, this section focuses on the “why.” Leaders will move through some foundational aspects of school planning, see two exemplars that vary widely, and then pause to check understanding.
- Guidelines – understanding the need, this part shifts to “what.” Leaders will gain exposure to frameworks that are utilized to develop the actual needs assessment. These frames include two state plans as well as portions of a Stride-specific tool. Before moving on, each participant has an opportunity to research their state or district requirements prior to the last section that turns to the needs assessment creation.
- Process – finally, the course concludes with the “how.” This four-part aspect forces leaders to slow down and create the skeletal outline of their overall needs assessment. They will walk through details of a framework and all responses are saved into a takeaway document for future use.
Successful school leaders see the future they want for their students, teachers, classrooms, and schools. The hard part is often building the bridge between the present and the future. When you can clearly see the future, this course will help you devise the way forward.
Even if you decide not to take our course, the image below displays seven areas that every principal MUST consider for a needs assessment and school planning purposes.