District Strategic Direction



In March 2020, Fife Public Schools started the process of updating our strategic plan that was created in 2015. The plan was “sunsetting” at the end of the 2019-2020 school, and an update of the plan was needed. Unforeseen to the world, March 2020 also brought a new scenario that was certainly bigger than any work on strategic planning. The global pandemic that consumed our capacity to operate also meant we needed to halt our long-term planning and deal with our current situation.

Fast forward to May 2021, the district renewed its discussion around strategic thinking, deciding to use a different framework to guide the process. Between March 2020 and May 2021, Fife Public Schools partnered with the Schlechty Center of Louisville, KY and agreed to use their Strategic Change Agenda framework. The document that follows this summary is the result of that process. The Schlechty Center’s approach to creating a “strategic direction” is not a prescribed process like most “strategic planning” processes are. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, this process is custom-tailored to fit the local context of Fife Public Schools.

An important distinction exists between “strategic direction” and “strategic planning” at the Schlechty Center and in Fife Public Schools. While most strategic plans are concerned with assessing performance, this strategic direction is more concerned about assessing the capacity of our organization to perform and meet the needs of our students, staff, and families/caregivers. To that end, each school building will create an annual direction report aligned with the Fife Public Schools Strategic Direction, while still giving each school the autonomy to create an action plan consistent with their individual context.

In May 2021, a “discovery team” was assembled and met for a two-day work session. The discovery team was made up of the superintendent, two school board members, members of the central office staff, school principals, school counselors, classroom teachers, and Fife Education Association leadership. Organized into mixed-role groups, the discovery team was asked to share their opinions and perceptions that relate to the capacity of our organization to successfully move in our desired direction.

This team was not a decision-making group but rather a group who assumed the role of “consultants” to the district. This discovery process resulted in the identification of patterns, trends, and issues where consensus was clear and areas where more information and exploration was needed. A few other frameworks provided by the Schlechty Center, including the Images of School, Defining Moments, and the ten System Capacity Standards, were used throughout the discovery process.

Stakeholder groups were created in June 2021 consisting of school leadership teams, principals, assistant principals, central office staff, students, and families/caregivers. Several of these groups participated in “focus conversations,” which continued into September and October 2021.

When all 13 focus conversations were completed, the data from those conversations were compiled and sorted to once again look for themes, patterns, and trends. We looked for areas in which the district was doing well and areas in which the district could improve.

In March 2022, Fife building administrators participated in an activity to once again look for trends and patterns.

The final step, and the most detailed work in the process, was to identify goal areas. A small team representing the Office of the Superintendent, members of the Teaching, Learning and Innovation Department, and the Department of Equity and Inclusion gathered on several occasions to refine the goal areas and generate the pictures of success for students, staff, and families/caregivers presented in this document.

In June 2023, our Strategic Direction underwent an annual review to ensure goals and pictures of success remained in alignment with educational equity best practices and the needs of our students, staff, families/caregivers, and community.

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