Strategy Development Proposal

Highlands Community Charter and Technical Schools


This document outlines the value a strategy and proposes a method to develop it.

Why create a strategy now

Our school is entering a complex, adversarial, high-stakes environment where our collective decisions matter. We’re experiencing staggering growth as well as expansion into new markets. We are also implementing bold innovations to serve our students, including technology, novel partnerships, and career programs. And yet, we currently depend heavily on unconventional funding to serve adults 22+ while our friends, partners, and adversaries grow in count and complexity. The trend is only intensifying; it’s the price of success. A exceptional strategy will streamline decision-making so that our leaders can continue to be bold, agile, decisive, and aligned.

What’s a strategy

A strategy is theory about the relationship between who we are, our environment, our ends, and our means. We each already have a theory about the school. It’s not yet known if our set of theories are effective or even mutually compatible. Our task is to be rigorous about deriving it together so that our resulting strategy is formidable and vetted.
Strategic plans are not strategies. In fact, strategic plans apply our strategy as a lens for any specific objective in order to define what to do. When we have an excellent strategy, it means that each plan is internally consistent (it fits the strategy), are jointly coherent (they fit each other), and rapidly generated (they take less time to develop).

Proposed process


Plan principle: Doc Smith
Plan advisers: Matt Powers, Bobby Valentine
Steering committee: Ernie Daniels, Sonia Cameron, +1 board member
Decision-makers: Board of Directors

Action steps

Define the Strategy section deliverables;
Setup a workspace to organize materials and monitor progress;
Elicit feedback from the Board and other key internal stakeholders on each Strategy section;
Schedule deliverable review sessions
Approve the deliverables;
Implement the Strategy;


To be determined.

Where to start

We start with the environmental analysis. It defines the structural forces and pivotal players in our environment and then identifies our specific relationship among them.
Note: Deliverables 4, 5, and 6 depend on input from Board members and other pivotal stakeholders through interviews and surveys.

Deliverable 1. Market analysis

Define size and growth trends for California adult education market. This includes demographic trends that impact the market such as high school dropouts, immigrants, and refugees

Deliverable 2. Regulatory analysis

Define current and potential regulations, policies, legal, and funding factors affecting the school.

Deliverable 3. PESTL analysis

Define our macro-factors — Political, Economic, Social, Technological, and Legal — that comprise our environment.

Deliverable 4. SWOT analysis

Identify the internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities, and threats to the school.

Deliverable 5. Alternatives analysis

Identify key competitors, near competitors, and other alternatives, along with their market position and SWOT.

Deliverable 6. Critical issues and priorities

Based on the findings from the preceding deliverables, identify the set of priorities and strategic initiatives.

Next steps

The market analysis (1), regulatory analysis (2), and PESTL analysis (3) can be developed independently for initial review. In parallel, we can start eliciting Board feedback on our strategic situation.
We’ve created . The submissions are anonymous so that members are most comfortable sharing any sensitive perspectives.

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