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Strategic Plan

Jonathan, the co-founder of Generation Schools Network, approached Catchafire in hopes of developing a more strategic program design for the organization’s College and Career Intensive program.

The Challenge

The College and Career Intensive program is currently in place at the pilot school, Brooklyn Generation, and the Network’s second school, West Generation, but with so many people engaged in an innovative program, the implementation need clarity and cohesion. Jonathan and his team hope to find an outside expert to help them orient and grow the program.

OBJECTIVES

  • Review and refine existing program materials
  • Articulate a plan to grow the Intensives program that drives hiring at school and non-profit, technology purchases, Career and Technical Education (CTE) planning, corporate engagement and fundraising, etc.

The match

  • Jonathan posts a Strategic Plan project
  • Ron, a management consultant, applies for project
  • Ron & Jonathan accept the match after a two way interview call

“I was drawn to the innovative approach Generation Schools has developed to help address reform of our school system. One of the key aspects of this model is helping students link learning to life through the College & Career Intensives program. I was excited by the opportunity to leverage my consulting background to help Generation Schools further refine their strategy for this program and develop a plan for execution.”
~ Ron

The Solution

  • Jonathan provides Ron with as much organizational history as possible
  • Jonathan and Ron meet to align project expectations
  • After discussing the overall goals of the project, they identify three key threads on which to focus their efforts:
    1. validate and enhance the marketplace perspective of College & Career programs currently available to students
    2. refine the program vision and gain alignment with key stakeholders
    3. develop an execution plan to guide implementation of the refined vision
  • Ron develops a timeline and project roadmap
  • Ron and Jonathan jump into the work, involving as the organization’s management, board, school administrators and other professionals in the organization working on this program to gather everyone’s perspective on the project and ensure buy-in
  • Ron sends a first draft of the Strategic Plan including a work plan to reach the organization’s goals
  • After receiving feedback, Ron finalizes the Strategic Plan and delivers it to Jonathan
  • Ron and Jonathan meet to review final document, resolve remaining issues and answer lingering questions

The Result

With Ron’s help, the College and Career Intensive program gained a clear vision, a fresh set of programmatic goals and concrete steps towards implementing them.

“The College & Career program has always been an integral part of Generation Schools’ model and the strategy refresh has been an important step in ensuring the program is successful, especially as they continue expanding their model to other schools. In addition to developing a common vision and a concrete work plan for the program, I think our strategy work also helped inform other aspects of their organization. “
~ Ron

impact

The strategic plan has also expanded Generation Schools’ influence within the education community. Jonathan is now sharing the College and Career program model with schools outside of their initial network, ultimately expanding the opportunities for more students.

“In terms of the internal impact, the most important thing that we received was a clear set of goals. We were able to push certain conversations and decisions forward that had previously been stalled. Ron was able to provide a synthesis we could agree to.

Externally, this project made it much easier for us to make decisions and communicate them to our partner organizations. This project really helped us build corporate connections, engage philanthropy, and build all sorts of capacity.

And, most significant to our bottom line, with this clear understanding of our College and Career program, we were better able to engage other schools that were interested in building more of a college going culture. Using the insights that inform our model but also the experiences, successes, challenges at our existing schools, we were able to sell out our staff time so they could help those schools develop similar programs. We went from being sort of stuck in the mud to achieving some sort of high ground and looking out with some perspective on our own program and scout out new opportunities for the organization.”
~ Jonathan

“Having the chance to work with all the great people at Generation Schools as well as at their pilot school in Brooklyn has been a wonderful experience for me personally. Being a part of the amazing work they are doing to help reform education in extremely challenging environments gave me the opportunity to see first-hand how any student can achieve their goals with the right support. I had the pleasure of working with many people throughout the organization and seeing everyone’s passion to help kids succeed in otherwise challenging environments was truly inspirational. As my first Catchafire project, I couldn’t have asked to work with a better organization. “
~ Ron

Ron’s 50 hours strategic plan resulted in $8K dollars saved for Generation Schools.

The Organization
Generation Schools Network catalyzes exceptional public schools where generations of learners prepare fully for life's responsibilities, challenges and opportunities, so that students dream bigger, work harder and care more. Generation Schools offers new ways of organizing schools that drive student success in cost-effective and sustainable ways that benefit students, teachers, and school districts. GSN creates opportunities and greater equity for students who are most vulnerable to issues of poverty and marginalization to succeed in school and beyond.
The Volunteer
As a corporate strategy professional, Ron helps his company address a number of priorities that range from development of business cases to implementation of their marketplace strategy. In addition to his strategy background, he has experience working in the financial services industry. This was Ron's first Catchafire project and he has since continued to volunteer through Catchafire.