FOREWORD<br />STRATEGIC PLANNING USING THE WAYS OF KNOWING THROUGH THE REALMS OF MEANING<br />By<br />Queinnise Miller<br /> PhD Student in Educational Leadership, Cohort 5 - PVAMU<br />About the Issue <br />The year 2004 marked the inception of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program in the Whitlowe R. Green College of Education at Prairie View A&M University. Since then over 32 educational professionals have graduated and joined the academy of Doctors of Philosophy in Educational Leadership. As the program grows each year new cohorts of educational professionals are established, and the future of research becomes brighter. This special issue contains the thoughts and theories based on research of Cohort 5, as it relates to strategic planning as a theoretical framework by utilizing the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (2007) by Dr. William Allan Kritsonis. These articles were a partial requirement for a course in the doctoral program taught by Professor Kritsonis. <br />In the first article, Queinnise Miller explores professional learning communities while taking a look at how they impact school improvement and their place in strategic planning in education. In the second article, Rosnisha Stevenson discusses ways school districts can meet one of their goals on their campus improvement plan and increase their standardized test scores by using the six realms of meaning in the classrooms. In the third article, Carmelita Thompson discusses ways in which strategic planning implemented by utilizing the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) creates a high performing educational organization. In the fourth article, Barbara Thompson discusses significant aspects of the six realms of meaning as it relates to strategic planning in instructional leadership. In the fifth article, Kashan Ishaq discusses how school leaders’ understanding of the six realms of meaning can be strategically integrated in solving the educational problems of today and improving the schools of tomorrow. The sixth article, Christine Lewis discusses ways our educational leaders in public schools can incorporate the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis 2007) to take strategic planning from the modernism age to postmodernism age to improve our nation’s educational system. In the seventh article, Tyrus Doctor discusses strategies used within our current school environment, while implementing postmodern thinking. In the eight article, David Palmer shows the linkage between the realms of meaning and strategic planning and to show how symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics and synoptics has an under pinning value to the planning that is required for successful schools. In the ninth article, Sheri Miller-Williams introduces the concept of systems thinking and suggest two frameworks that could work to support comprehensive school reform. In the tenth article, Simone Gardiner discusses how postmodernism and the realms of meaning can be implemented in students’ learning with the use of strategic planning. In the eleventh and final article, Demetria Diggs apprises educators of how incorporating the six realms from the Ways of Knowing Tthrough the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007), into school improvement and strategic plans to yield avant-garde results for all educational stakeholders. <br /> Cohort 5 at PVAMU sincerely appreciates the opportunity to publish in the National FORUM of Applied Educational Research Journal. We thank the National Policy Board representing all National FORUM Journals for their confidence in our work. To be published as doctoral students in a national refereed journal is professionally rewarding. We thank our professor Dr. William Allan Kritsonis for providing outstanding mentorship in guiding us in our writing pursuits. <br />Queinnise Miller<br />PhD Student in Educational Leadership – Cohort 5<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Teacher<br />Alief Independent School District <br />National FORUM of Applied Educational Research Journal<br />Volume 23, Numbers 1&2 2009-2010<br />Issue Distribution and Circulation (Approximations)<br />Issue Distribution Libraries…………………………….. 948<br /> Association of College and Research Libraries……… 383<br />Deans, College of Education ……………………………. 396<br />NCATE Accredited Institutions………………………… 632<br />Selected Professors………………………………………. 1,289<br />State Superintendents…………………………………… 52<br />Editors of National, Regional, State Journals…………. 95<br />School Superintendents/Principals/Supervisors……….. 2,005<br />Bureaus of Educational Research Services……………. 243<br />Conference Distribution………………………………… 279<br />National Organizations…………………………………. 104<br />International Distribution/Worldwide………………… 641 <br /> 2,839<br />Implementation of The Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning as a Conceptual Framework in Professional Leaning Communities as they Impact/Influence Strategic Planning in Education<br />Queinnise Miller<br />PhD Student in Educational Leadership<br />Whitlowe R. Green College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Teacher<br />Alief Independent School District<br />Houston, Texas<br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Hall of Honor (2008)<br />William H. Parker Leadership Academy<br />Whitlowe R. Green College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />Prairie View, Texas<br />Visiting Lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />Central Washington University<br />ABSTRACT<br />To move toward educational excellence leaders, teachers, and district administrators must be strategic in planning for instructional success. As this planning takes place, I believe that the concept of Professional Leaning Communities (PLC) should occupy a large space in a school strategic plan for success. Strategic planning should be viewed as “Strategic Thinking” about what is working and what standards, if any, should be set in a undetermined and constant changing educational system. This task requires a large amount of communication between all stakeholders involved in the education of our children. The majority of this communication can be done though the power of professional learning communities. A crucial element to this success is the implementation of the six realms of meaning.<br />Introduction<br />Unprecedented change is taking place in schools all over the world. Schools are increasingly being managed like businesses. Without effective strategic planning principals will be involved in crisis management (Van der Linde, 2001). As schools engage in strategic planning, professional learning communities should be heavily depended on to help districts move from infancy to maturity in their quality of instructional and overall educational success. By using the Kritsonis’ 2003 Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning as a guide for professional learning communities this will increase the success of professional learning communities and their impact on strategic planning. <br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to explore professional learning communities while taking a look at how they impact school improvement and their place in strategic planning in education. This article will address how the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2003) is implemented in the core of professional learning communities. By utilizing the six realms in professional learning communities, leaders and teachers will be able to achieve the highest excellence possible in educational achievement. <br />Professional Learning Communities<br />Professional Learning Communities (PLC) have over the last few years been almost a house hold name among educators of all levels. In fact, the term has been used so ubiquitously that it is in danger of losing all meaning (Daufour, 2004). Each word of the phrase "professional learning community" has been chosen purposefully. <br />Dufour and Eaker state:<br />A "professional" is someone with expertise in a specialized field……...."Learning" suggests ongoing action and perpetual curiosity….. In a professional learning community, educators create an environment that fosters mutual cooperation, emotional support, personal growth as they work together to achieve what they cannot accomplish alone (as cited in Thomas, Gregg, and Niska, 2004). <br />Most all professional learning communities follow the same protocol. Within each community the teacher as well as leaders is encouraged to pursue personal and professional development, integrating it as part of their regular job responsibilities. Alief ISD is an example of this, by implementing PLC time into the school week by creating a weekly early release day for students and utilizing that extra hour for mandated time for teachers to be in their specified professional learning community. Within professional learning communities, leaders have incorporated professional development by asking teachers to discuss and share differing classroom application. From those interactions, teachers are enhancing their professional knowledge in a more informal approach to professional development. True professional learning communities follow different protocols to evoke dialogue between team members. In some professional development settings, teachers are asked to read books or educational articles as a catalyst to encourage reflection, inquiry, and sharing. Individual and team judgment is valued more than rules, policies, forms, and procedures. Most importantly, everyone is encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and development and this is considered to be a norm of the school's culture (Thompson, 2004). <br />These concepts of professional leaning communities may sound simple to implement, this is not always the case. Implementing professional learning communitiesis challenging. For starters, they require a deep cultural change within the school ( Honawar, 2008). <br />How Professional Learning Communities Impact School Improvement<br />There are cascades of strategies, theories, district initiatives, and many other ideas to improve student learning. Teacher collaboration is hailed as one of the most effective ways to improve student learning (Honawar, 2008). This can be debatable like most things in education are. According to Thomas, Gregg, and Niska (2004), many K-12 school are working to become professional learning communities in the hope that student learning will improve when adults commit themselves to talking collaboratively about teaching and learning and then take action that will improve student learning and achievement. Other leaders in the field such as Mike Schmoker (2004) believe that “…the most promising strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement is building the capacity of school personnel to function as a professional learning community” (pg. 424). <br />For former superintendent Richard DuFour (2004) in Educational Leadership, attributes the successes and record gains in his near Chicago school district to goal oriented collaborative teams. DuFour believed that collaborative teams were the engine behind each schools improvement efforts. <br />Mike Schmoker said:<br />In the nearby but less advantaged Chicago Public Schools, those with strong professional learning communities were four times more likely to be improving academically than schools with weaker professional communities. We can no longer afford to be innocent of the fact that “collaboration” improves performance (pg. 431). Such simple effort — teachers teaching one another the practice of teaching — leads to what has to be one of the most salient lists of benefits in educational literature:<br />Higher-quality solutions to instructional problems,<br />Increased confidence among faculty,<br />Increased ability to support one another’s strengths and to accommodate weaknesses,<br />More systematic assistance to beginning teachers, and<br />The ability to examine an expanded pool of ideas, methods, and materials (pg. 430).<br />I believe that an unknown author said it best, “I cannot improve my craft in isolation from others.”<br />The Role Professional Learning Communities have in Strategic Planning<br />For some people, the term strategic planning brings to mind a disciplined and thoughtful process that links the values, mission, and goals of a school system with a set of coherent strategies and tasks designed to achieve those goals (Reeves, 2007). According to Weindling (1997) strategic planning "is a means for establishing and maintaining a sense of direction when the future has become more and more difficult to predict" (as sited in Van der Linde, 2001, pg. 536). <br />Professional learning communities embodies this process and allows for a triangulation of planning, goal setting, and result evaluation. Communication is the element that makes strategic planning such a success. Through professional leaning communities, this element of communication is evident as teachers begin to talk and create communities that focus on the specific needs of a campus, department, or classroom. <br />Implementing “Symbolics” in Professional Learning Communities<br />The first realm of meaning is symbolics. “These meanings are contained in arbitrary symbolic structures, with socially accepted rules of formation and transformation, created as instruments for the expression and communication of any meaning whatsoever (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 11).<br />Professional Learning Communities use communication as the backbone in which its purpose is fulfilled. Within professional learning communities this first realm is evident with the “ordinary language” that is required for effective communication to take place. In all professional learning communities there is a discourse employed in the everyday speech and writing of education. Without the knowledge of this language and the knowledge of its meaning, educators within these communities cannot make progress in their journey to student improvement. A person knows a language only if he understands its meanings (Kritsonis, 2003, p.109). Gamble (2008) postulates that teachers must learn the vocabulary and apply the concepts of a PLC. They must talk the talk and walk the walk in lesson preparation and lesson presentations. Teachers must model the dynamics by stating clearly the objectives to the students, and make frequent use of formative assessments, using graphic organizers whenever possible. The use of graphic organizers is the implementation of symbols, which according to Kritsonis comprise another of the outer faces of language. These symbols are spoken sounds or written marks that convey the meaning to be communicated (Kritsonis, 2007). <br />The realm of symbolics expresses that different languages reflect multiple ways of organizing experiences. This is implemented in professional learning communities, by the collaboration effort between teachers as they share experiences and together organize and plan for future classroom experiences. Ordinary language presupposes a fund of common understandings about the world and a body of shareable experiences (Kritsonis, 2007, pg. 110). The common understanding and shareable experiences of classroom instruction among educators is what should be built on in professional learning communities. Educators strengthen one another by sharing with others their victories and their failures. It is only through these symbolic <br />interactions of language can schools begin the ever so needed dialogue of what is working in our schools. <br />The Implementation of “Empirics” in Professional Learning Communities<br />The second realm empirics, includes the sciences of the physical world, of living things, and of man. These sciences provide factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations that are based upon observation and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind, and society (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12). <br /> <br />As educators collect and analyze data from students to produce better results they are functioning in the empirical realm. <br />The educators involved in professional learning communities essentially become scientific researcher for what is effective and what is not effective in the instructional setting. By becoming researchers their scientific inquiry is aimed at bringing some order and intelligibility out of what appears to be a miscellaneous and unrelated profusion of phenomena (Kritsonis, 2007). Gamble (2004) suggest that schools develop a professional library by researching the great "movers" in the field (i.e., Dufour, Hord, Martin-Kniep, Sergiovanni, and others). Acquire materials by these authors and get them into circulation. <br />As teachers gather data, it is important for them to remember that principles, generalizations, and laws are not directly inferred from data of observation and observations do not test the truth or falsity of hypotheses, but rather their scope and limitations. By being aware of these limitations identified by observation, educators are able to put in place future interventions for those students affected by those limitations. <br />The Implementation of “Esthetics” in Professional Learning Communities<br />“The third realm, esthetics, contains the various arts, such as music, the visual arts, the arts of movement, and literature” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12). Esthetics looks at not only knowledge in a mathematical and empirical manner, but explores understanding that may be used for the arts and other non-empirical fields. Often students cannot be calculated in a scientific manner. There are beauties that occur in the learning of all students that can only be understood in the wholeness of the student both empirically and non-empirically. Each individual student is like a fragile art piece. Each work of art contains its own meaning and speaks for itself (p.279). By understanding the whole student and the varieties present in each student, professional learning communities can have a more holistic view and dialogue on what is working for different pieces of beautiful artwork. <br />It is important for educators to consistently take into consideration the differences and beauty that every student processes. Professional learning communities are a good platform for this to occur being that they are able to share experiences and assess students from differing paradigms. <br />The Implementation of “Synnoetics” in Professional Learning Communities<br />The fourth realm is synnoetics. Synnoetics refers to meanings in which a person has direct insight into other beings (or oneself) as concrete wholes existing in relation (Kritsonis, 2007). Engagement is a crucial part in having an effective professional learning community. It is the engagement between team members within the professional learning community as well as the engagement between the teacher and the student that drives the collaboration effort that in turn promotes student achievement. Kritsonis (2007) says that synnoetic meaning requires engagement and that there is no such thing as absolutely solitary existence. The very concept of isolation has significance only against a background of other from whom one is separated (Kritsonis, 2007). People may differ about how to ensure “quality,” but most would agree that quality teachers know how to craft engaging and effective learning experiences, despite constant changes in student populations. They need to be knowledgeable and they need to know how to use their knowledge. Ongoing professional learning simply must be integral to their work (Wood, 2007). Educators are charged with not only educating students academically, yet also, helping them gain self knowledge and guide them in how to use both their academic knowledge as well as their self knowledge. One goal of professional learning communities is to help teachers also gain knowledge of teaching practices as well as a personal knowledge about who they are and the roles they play as educators in a school. While professional developments are great avenues for this task, most time smaller professional learning communities can be more effective. Kritsonis (2007) posits that personal knowledge is not always developed though formal instruction. <br />The Implementation of “Ethics” in Professional Learning Communities<br />Ethics, according to Dr. William A. Kritsonis, is that which “includes moral meanings that express obligation rather than fact, perceptual form, or awareness of relation” (Kritsonis, 2007, pg. 13). Morality, according to Kritsonis, is simply that “which reflects inter-subjective<br />understanding. Morality has to do with personal conduct that is based on free, responsible, deliberate decision” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 13). As educators ethics and morality should be the ordinary language and the business of everyone. Each day parents entrust us with the lives and futures of their children. Any act or decision made for our students from the smallest of them such as school materials used to the biggest such as assessment choices should be the most moral and ethical one. Gamble (2008) suggest that one should become an instructional leader in your school by advocating, in theory and practice, one of the "best practices" models called a professional learning community. <br />According to Kritsonis, ethical considerations enter into every department of ordinary life. Therefore, education cannot and will not escape the responsibility of ethics, or right actions, against students. By forming professional learning communities, teachers should ensure and hold each other accountable for ethical behavior toward students. The improvement of conduct depends upon the habit, in making each decision, of bringing into consciousness a range of different possibilities from among which a selection can be made (Kritsonis, 2007). This is the essence of what a professional learning community should do. <br />The Implementation of “Synoptics” in Professional Learning Communities<br />Synoptics refers “to meanings that are comprehensively integrative” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 13). Synoptics covers the realms of “history, philosophy, and religion” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 13). Professional learning communities implement this realm of meaning with its integrative characteristics of guiding, teaching, and learning as educators. <br />In professional learning communities, educators must also look at the history of what has been successful in obtaining student achievement for all students. By looking at the past, educators are able to better chart their path to the future. Along with looking at the past, professional learning communities should frequently reference the vision that the school is attempting to bring to realization. At the very least, faith refers to an ideal and a hope for maximum completeness, depth, and integrity of vision (Kritsonis, 2008). <br />The synoptic view addresses the entire range of all that is encompassed in the expressible education experiences. Fidelity must be given to a data-driven curriculum, to clear and specific objectives, and to a mindset of deep purpose for meaningful planning and collaboration. The focus must be to move students, as well as faculty, into truly becoming lifelong learners (Gamble, 2007).<br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion strategic planning is imperative for school leaders to obtain gains in student achievement. <br />Doug Reeves (2007) stated:<br />School leaders should embrace the importance of strategy by developing plans that are focused and brief and that provide consistent monitoring and evaluation. Most important, the teachers and leaders who implement strategic plans should begin the process with the confidence that their professional practices truly influence student achievement. (pg. 87)<br />This process can and will be enhanced through quality professional learning communities where teachers and leaders can begin effective and action oriented dialogue about student achievement and what works and what is not working in classrooms all across the nation. The continued implementation of the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning will produce more coherent results when seeking holistic achievement of students. <br />References<br />Bonstingl, J. (2009, January). Strategic planning during tough times. Leadership, 38(3), 8-10. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.<br />DuFour, R. (2004, May). What Is a Professional Learning Community?. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 6. Retrieved July 7, 2009, from MAS Ultra - School Edition database.<br />Gamble, J. (2008, March). Professional learning communities. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 24(7), 17-17. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.<br />Honawar, V. (2008, April 2). 'Working smarter by working together. Education Week, 27(31), 25-27. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.<br />Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Houston, TX:<br />National Forum Journals.<br />Nebgen, M. (1991, April). The key to success in strategic planning is communication. Educational Leadership, 48(7), 26. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from Middle Search Plus database.<br />Reeves, D. (2007, December). Making strategic planning work. Educational Leadership, 65(4), 86. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from Middle Search Plus database.<br />Schmoker, M. (2004, February 1). Tipping point: From feckless reform to substantive instructional improvement. Phi Delta Kappan, 85(6), 424. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ700581) Retrieved July 7, 2009, from ERIC database.<br />Thompson, S., Gregg, L., & Niska, J. (2004, November). Professional learning communities, leadership, and student learning. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 28(1), 35-54. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.<br />Van der Linde, D. (2001, Spring2001). Strategic quality planning for teachers in the new millennium. Education, 121(3), 535. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database.<br />Wood, D. (2007, September). Professional learning communities: Teachers, knowledge, and knowing. Theory Into Practice, 46(4), 281-290. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from doi:10.1080/00405840701593865<br />A Lens of the Six Realms of Meaning in Improving a Campus’ Standardized Test Scores through Team Teaching and Strategic Planning<br />Rosnisha D. Stevenson<br />PhD Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />English Teacher<br />Mayde Creek High School<br />Katy Independent School District<br />Houston, Texas<br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />William H. Parker Leadership Academy Hall of Honor (2008)<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Visiting Lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />Central Washington University<br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />ABSTRACT<br />This article will seek to utilize Dr. William Allan Kritsonis’ book Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (2007) as a framework to improve a campuses standardize test scores, more specifically, their TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) scores. Many campuses have an improvement plan, also known as a Campus Improvement Plan, which strives to improve many aspects on their campus, but mostly their standardized test scores. Utilizing the six realms of meaning outlined by Dr. William A. Kritsonis, symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics and synoptics in their team planning, schools can better prepare their students on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.<br />Introduction<br />School districts around the world develop individual Campus Improvement Plans on each campus in the district yearly based on ways they can improve their campus and make it better for the school, the students, teachers, parents and the community. One major component in schools in the state of Texas is the TAKS test or the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills standardized test is a test that school children take in the state of Texas yearly. Students in Texas take this test in all grades, but have key grades where they must pass the test in order to either move on to the next grade level or graduate from high school. Students enrolled in Elementary Schools across the state of Texas must pass the standardize TAKS test in order to move on to the fourth and sixth grade. <br />Eleventh grade students take the exit level test and most pass all five parts of the test, Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science in order to graduate. The students who are unsuccessful in obtaining a score of 2100, passing, on all five parts are given several more opportunities to pass before it is time for their senior class to walk across the stage and graduate; students who do not successfully complete the TAKS test are not permitted to graduate. This has grown to be a monumental task for schools across the state and a tremendous disappointment for the students who do not pass the test. Districts are faced with the age old question and problem of, how to reach out to the students in Texas to make them successful on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. School districts and schools throughout the state are always looking for innovative and new ways to improve the students test scores and the schools and districts accountability rating, which is based largely on these test scores. <br />The fundamental task of any educational institution is to determine the manner of defining and organizing its curriculum. At the outset the obvious fact is that there is more to learn, more to teach, and more to put in the curriculum than time available presents the educators with hard choices. (Kritsonis, 2007, p. v)<br />Through the strategic planning in team meetings throughout the various departments in a school and faculty meetings, the school can come up with ideas on how to incorporate the realms of meaning in their classrooms to assist each teacher with improving the education of their students, which will ultimately lead to an improvement on standardize test scores. Teaching teams on the school campus must involve a teacher from every discipline in order for the team to be complete. The teams must consist of someone from each of the following departments (if present) on the campus, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Career Technology, Fine Arts, Health/Physical Education and Technology Application. There should be at least one teacher from each discipline representing their respective subject area during these team meetings. <br />Each campus must find a way to meet their mission statement, which is the guiding line for each school and gives them insight of what is needed on their campus improvement plan to improve their school. “An educational institution or school system claiming to be purposive must make some attempt to classify, codify, and integrate the knowledge base it has selected to become part of its curriculum” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. v). Schools can achieve this goal through The Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning by Dr. William Allan Kritsonis.<br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to discuss ways school districts can meet one of their goals on their campus improvement plan, increasing their standardized test scores, using the six realms of meaning in the classrooms. This article will focus on ways teachers can strategically plan in their team meetings and staff developments and ways to improve learning in the classroom based on the realms of meaning. Utilizing the realms of meaning will help schools, teachers and students reach the goals they have set in their Campus Improvement Plan and their Mission Statement. School districts around the country are faced with accountability ratings and state mandated assessments, which plays a large role in the funding that schools receive. <br />“Research have recognized the complexities and formidable tasks associated with mandated accountability efforts, particularly in light of the new demands for increased testing, public reporting of results, and opportunities for parents to exercise choice options out of failing schools in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001” (Houle, 2006, p. 144). With this increasing pressure from the state and on the national level, school districts are forced to come up with new and innovative ways to improve student standardized test scores, mainly student scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. Schools can reach the goals outlined in their Campus Improvement Plan and receive their accountability ratings through constant planning in team meetings and staff/professional developments; coming up with ways to reach out to students to assist them in learning and improving their test scores on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.<br />Symbolics<br />The first realm, symbolics, “comprises ordinary language, mathematics, and various types of nondiscursive symbolic forms, such as gestures, rituals, rhythmic patterns, and the like” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 11). The realm of symbolics is something that should be discussed and planned out during team meetings and staff development because it encompasses variables that are important to obtain and understand in order for students to be successful on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Symbolics is a realm that can be successfully utilized in all subject areas in public schools. Symbols are visual representations or visual aides that are common and known by almost everyone around, which can be as simple as your everyday traffic signs to the basic symbols used to govern the daily operations of schools that students are familiar with. These basic symbols, everyday language, etc… can be taught in all disciplines. Teachers getting together and collaborating with one another can ensure that these symbols are being taught in all classes and are universal amongst the disciplines through teachers getting together in team meetings. Professional Learning Communities, also known as PLC’s, have been successful in recent years in adding student success. “Scholarship on professional learning communities indicates that change is more likely to be effective and enduring when those responsible for its implementation are included in a shared decision-making process” (Scriber, Sawyer, Watson and Myers, 2007, p. 71).<br />It is imperative that each subject area is on one accord and is speaking a universal language when instructing students. Speaking this universal language to students within a school will ensure that the students are well prepared and equipped for recognizing the language, symbols, etc… when they view the information on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, ultimately improving their success rate.<br />Empirics<br />The second realm empirics, <br />“includes the science of the physical world, of living things, and of man. These sciences provide factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations that are based upon observation and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind, and society. They express meanings as probable empirical truths framed in accordance with certain rules of evidence and verification and making use of specified systems of analytic abstraction.” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12)<br />Empirics deal with the sciences in everyday life. The second realm focuses on the subject areas of physical science, biology, physics, psychology, and the social sciences. The second realm relies on factual information and educators must deal with and present all of the facts to the students that they teach. Teachers must gather information that is true and accurate in order to reach and teach their students to be successful on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.<br />With this realm of meaning, educators can evaluate the data received from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills to evaluate where their students stand and where improvement is needed. <br />The reading of measuring instruments is in principle the most simple and certain of operations. It requires only the ability to perceive the position of a pointer on a scale. Being exactly defined and demanding only the most elemental sensory capacities, physical measurements yield data on which agreement by all observers is possible, subject only to errors of measurement that can be progressively reduced by refinement of instruments and repeated observations. (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 181)<br />Schools gather and evaluate important TAKS data on their students to access where they need to go from there or to examine the numbers that they have projected in their Campus Improvement Plan for the school on their TAKS test. District and the individual school accountability ratings play a major role in the validity of the school and the district. President George W. Bush introduced the No Child Left Behind Act to everyone, placing an extreme amount of pressure on schools and school districts, forcing them to look at the data and essentially come up with a new game plan. <br />The “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB) became a law in 2001. No Child Left Behind has added a new dimension to test based educational accountability systems. Features of state and No Child Left Behind accountability are discusses with an emphasis on questions of the validity of inferences that are made about school quality. It is concluded that none of the current approaches to test-based accountability support causal inferences about school quality. It is also shown that tracking progress toward the important goal of closing gaps in achievement requires more than just monitoring changes in the percentages of students who are proficient. (Linn, 2007, p. 5)<br />Campuses and individual teaching teams get together on a regular basis to look at the data to formulate a plan to improve student test scores on school wide basis. Evaluating the data will give teaching teams the information needed for the areas where improvement is needed, providing them with pertinent information that they can use in all disciplines to assist students on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. Empirics is an important realm that is valid for evaluating the data for student success. <br />Esthetics<br />Esthetics “contains the various arts, such as music, the visual arts, the arts of movement, and literature. Meanings in this realm are concerned with the contemplative perception of particular significant things as unique objectifications of ideated subjectives” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12). Through a school’s Campus Improvement Plan and Mission Statement, schools can look at innovative and creative ways to motivate and stimulate student success in more creative and artistic ways. “Humans teach their children the arts to help them achieve what we consider a well-rounded education, exposing them to new and interesting forms of sensory satisfaction (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 284). Expressiveness lies above and beyond the art, music and physical education classes. Although students are encouraged to express their artistic ways in the arts classes, they are also encouraged to express themselves artistically in other classes.<br />Writing is one of the major components on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Test. Writing is an area that can be extended to all subject areas in a school, having students express themselves creatively through their writing skills. “Teachers allow students to spend large amounts of time developing their talents. Teachers encourage student’s expressiveness in order that they may gain confidence and appreciation” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 290). In team meetings, educators may get together to plan ways to assist students with their writing and their creativity. Students may write in all subject areas, expressing themselves and preparing themselves for the writing portion on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test, which is an area that many students struggle with on the test. Students are sometimes not fully able to express themselves creatively on the test, allowing them to become successful and pass the writing portion of the test. “A work of art’s meaning consists in what its organized materials uniquely express” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 302). By having students practice their writing over and in all subject matters; the students become use to the universal language, symbolics, which is needed in order for them to become better writers. When their writing and creativity is practiced in every subject, and taught in the same way that was established in the teacher’s team meeting, they become use to it and their writing creativity becomes second nature to them. By practicing these symbols and the arts of literature and written expression in all discipline areas, student success rates will soar. <br />Literature is the art in which language is the medium of esthetic expression. The subject matter of literary study is the individual literary work. To understand literature it must be studied intrinsically to discover the unique patterns of sound, rhythm, meter, and semantic figuration as they are used in the creation of singular unitary compositions. Extrinsic factors may also add valuable insights, but only as they are employed to illuminate the inherent structure of each work itself. (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 362)<br />With literature and writing being one of the major components of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills that students often struggle with, getting together in these team meetings will put the great minds of educators together to come up with a viable plan with making improvements on this part of the test. “Literature is not intended to be translated literally. As an art, it is meant to have esthetic qualities that invoke thought and intellectually stimulate the reader or listener, even to entertain” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 368). Students struggle with comprehending what they have read and then have trouble translating it into a written expression. <br />To understand literature, a student must see beyond editing and factual representation. Literature generally exhibits use of images, symbols, metaphors, analogy, double vision, and myth. Can one then say that any works of writing that exhibits these traits is to be considered literature and therefore, a work of art? (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 374)<br />It all boils down to educators utilizing all six of the realms, as they intertwine together in some form or fashion. When educators work together, student success is the only possible and plausible outcome when used properly throughout all disciplines. <br />Synnoetics<br />The fourth realm, synnoetics, “embraces what Michael Polanyi calls ‘personal knowledge’ and Martin Buber the ‘I-Thou’ relation. This personal or relational knowledge is concrete, direct, and existential. It may apply to persons, to oneself, or even to things” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12). It is important with this realm that educators enforce to their students the importance of being responsible for their own actions and taking some responsibility for the choices they make with their education.<br />Personal knowledge is gained by not only understanding the self, but understanding how others, whom one considers significant, sees one as well. If the people that one considers important shun him or her, then he/she is likely to accept himself/herself as important. Teachers often see this in children and are concerned about the student’s self esteem. (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 400)<br />Once students are taught by their parents and teachers to take responsibility for the actions that they make, it will only strengthen the student all around, making them more conscious of their actions and their education. Getting the students on board with their education only simplifies what educators have set out to accomplish and making them more aware of what it is that they need in order to achieve success in life.<br />Ethics<br />The fifth realm, “ethics, includes moral meanings that express obligation rather than fact, perceptual form or awareness of relation. In contrast with sciences, which are concerned with abstract cognitive understanding, to the arts, which express idealized esthetic perceptions, and to personal knowledge, which reflects inter-subjective understanding, morality has to do with personal conduct that is based on free, responsible, deliberate decision” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 13). This realm is another important realm to teach students in relation to their education as well. Teachers must teach students about academic dishonesty and how to be ethically moral in life. There have been numerous cases about students, as well as teachers, who have exhibited immoral ethics when it comes to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. <br />While it should be very obvious to people that laws are laws and that people must conform to them for the good of society, many people rationalize an excuse to break the “little” laws. What obligation does the teacher have to set an example of total moral adherence to students? How should people react to a teacher who sits in the back of the room at a faculty meeting complaining about the students who talk in class while the principal is addressing the faculty? (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 450)<br />It is important that every teacher stresses to each and every one of the students that they teach the importance of honesty. We as teachers must lead by example. All teachers and the school must be on one accord when it comes to academic dishonesty. A school will not be unified if one teacher allows students to be dishonest without any consequences and another teacher punishes the student for it, where is the justice in that and what is it teaching our students?<br />Guilt is a normal human emotion. Most people inherently try to do what they believe is right and are consciously aware of it when they do not. When people do wrong and are punished for it, society generally believes they deserve it. If an existing rule is broken and the child is not punished, what does the child learn about society’s moral convictions or about the importance of the rule? (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 468)<br />One factor that schools are placed with the responsibility of is educating and ensuring that they are producing citizens that are respectable and honest citizens in society. Teaching teams, along with the entire campus, getting together and deciding on what they will and will not tolerate from students is an important thing to do. Students work more effectively when there is consistency throughout, when they can be reassured that all teachers are going to tolerate or not tolerate the same things in every single class. Students spend much of their day with their teachers, so teachers do in fact, have a great influence on the students they teach and can help them make the right decisions in being ethically moral students and citizens in society.<br />An idea of what human life can be and ought to be is consistent with the facts of human experience and with the persistent visions of universality, truth, beauty, love, duty, and integrity that have come down in moral traditions of humankind. It states a goal, based on the study of human potentialities, by which the consequences of actions may be assessed, and consequently provides a solid ground for moral decisions. On this foundation a defensible and productive theory of morals can be established – a theory to which the entire educative endeavor is seen as a moral enterprise aimed at the consummation of human life through the increase in meaning in all its realms. (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 476)<br />Synoptics<br />Synoptics is the sixth realm of meaning. Synoptics “refers to meanings that are comprehensively integrative. This realm includes history, religion, and philosophy. These disciplines combine empirical, esthetic, and synnoetic meaning into coherent wholes (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 13). This realm is another realm that is used in a variety of subjects in the education field. There is a saying that says “you must know where you came from before you know where you are going”. Educators must teach kids about the past, so that they will not repeat past mistakes, but make greater strides in life. “Much of people’s understanding of history is based on interpretations of the written or spoken stories of the past, in some cases hundreds or thousands of years ago. Every story has two sides, or more, and the side of the story that is accepted and passed on is generally that of the victor” (Kritsonis, 2007, pg. 498). We not only teach our students what we have learned but we also work as a group to focus on what we have learned from the past. Through our staff/professional developments and team meetings, we look at ways that we can improve the school for the betterment of the student’s success. Focusing on what was successful in the past and moving towards a post modern approach in the way we develop Campus Improvement Plans, is what is in the best interest of our students. Times have changed, the students have changed and as educators, we have to embrace change for the success of the students we <br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, student success on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test is based largely on the way teacher teams can successfully relay the much needed information to the students. <br />The nature of teams in shared governance structures—the fact that teams can organize to either find or solve problems—has important implications for the creative leadership capacity of individual teams. Thus, structures and social dynamics of distributed <br />leadership must be attended to and not taken for granted. Implications include (a) conceptualizing leadership in terms of interaction, (b) needing to help teachers become aware of conversational dynamics that lead to or subvert effective collaboration, and (c) needing to help principals become more aware of their role in helping to establish clarity of purpose and appropriate levels of autonomy, so that teams may engage in work that leads to effective and innovative problem-finding and problem-solving activities. (Scribner, Sawyer, Watson, Myers, 2007, p. 67)<br />Through getting together as a team, in teaching teams and at staff developments, educators can instill in students the tools needed to make them successful in school and in life by utilizing the six realms of meaning in their instruction.<br />References<br />Bohte, J. (2001). School bureaucracy and student performance on a local level. Public <br />Administration Review, 61, 92-99. <br />Harris, A. (2004). Distributed leadership and school improvement: leading or misleading? <br />Educational Management Administration Leadership, 32, 11–24.<br />Houle, J.C. (2006). Professional development for urban principals in underperforming schools. <br />Educational and Urban Society, 38, 142–159.<br />Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Houston, TX:<br />National Forum Journals.<br />Linn, R. L. (2007). Validity of inferences from test-based educational<br />accountability systems. J. Peers Evaluation Education, 19, 5–15. <br />Muijs, D. & Harris, A. (2007). Teacher leadership in (In) action. Educational Management <br />Administration and Leadership, 35, 111-134. <br /> Peterson, S. A. (1999). School district central office power and student performance. <br />School Psychology International, 20, 376-387. <br />Scribner, J.P., Sawyer, R.K., Watson, S.T., & Myers, V.L. (2007). Teacher teams and <br />distributed leadership: a study of group discourse and collaboration. Educational Administration Quarterly. 43, 67–100.<br />Implementing the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning to Strategic Planning in K-12<br />Carmelita Thompson<br />PhD Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A & M University<br />Educational Diagnostician<br />Bellville Independent School District<br />Bellville, Texas<br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor and Faculty Mentor<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Prairie View A & M University<br />Member of the Texas A & M University System<br />Visiting Lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford, England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />Central Washington University<br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />________________________________________________________________________<br />ABSTRACT<br />The educational environment has become increasingly complex, demanding, and multidimensional. The No Child Left Behind Act has expanded the federal role in education and increased accountability for achievement results. Academic achievement is the cornerstone of the educational organization. Strategic planning, implemented using Dr. William A. Kritsonis’ Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (2007), can align the educational organization’s thinking to ensure stability, establish priorities, and achieve long term academic success. <br />________________________________________________________________________<br />Introduction<br />The Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) offers a pragmatic framework to strategic planning that will move educational organizations in innovative directions. An educational organization must implement Dr. Kritsonis’ (2007) six fundamental patterns of meaning designated respectively as symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics, and synoptics in strategic planning. Strategic planning is the process in which an educational organization determines its current status, envisions its long-term goals, makes projections for the future, and develops strategies to achieve those future aspirations. Strategic planning must be flexible and practical and yet serve as a guide to implement programs to evaluate the educational organizations progress. A strategic plan intertwining the six fundamental patterns of the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) constructs innovative analytical and critical thinking that will improve and enhance the performance of educational organizations.<br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to discuss ways in which strategic planning implemented by utilizing the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) creates a high performing educational organization. Skilled strategic planning makes a current assessment of needs, develops the educational organization’s future thinking, builds commitment, and serves as the guiding document for the educational organization. Effective strategic planning includes articulating the educational organization’s vision, mission, and values to set a course for future aspirations.<br />The First Realm: Symbolics<br />The first realm of meaning is symbolics. Dr. Kritsonis (2007) states that ordinary language such as gestures, rituals, and rhythmic patterns allow people to communicate on a personal level. Effective leadership is the cornerstone of an educational environment. Eaker and Gonzalez write about learning leaders, <br />They create systems and processes to engage collaborative teams of teachers in 1) clarifying the essential knowledge and skills students are to acquire for every course, grade level and unit of every instruction 2) developing frequent common assessments to monitor each student’s learning on a timely basis, and 3) implementing a school-wide plan of intervention to guarantee students receive additional time and support for learning as soon as they experience difficulty. (Eaker & Gonzalez, 2007, p. 6)<br />The leader’s ability to articulate the educational organization’s vision, mission, and values to propel the organization into its preferred future is essential. A vision statement is a description upon which the organization aspires. It emphasizes where the educational organization will be at a specific time in the future. The organizational mission supports the vision and it describes the purpose of the organization. The organizational values state the organization’s intentions and the organization’s core priorities in the organization’s culture. <br />Implementing the strategic plan requires the use of symbolics. The vision must be clearly communicated within the educational organization. The vision needs to capture the present status of the educational organization, and serve to guide the direction of the organization. As a means of setting a central goal that the educational organization will aspire to reach, the vision helps to provide a focus for the mission of the organization. The vision should resonate with every member of the educational organization. The educational organization must clearly communicate its expectations so that members are able to perform effectively. The strategic planning is effective when it energizes and engages the educational organization. This information is clearly communicated so the educational organization works as a collective body to be successful. The educational organization’s mission is a precise description of the organization’s purpose. It clearly and succinctly describes the business of the organization. Each member of the educational organization should be able to verbally express the organization’s mission. Value statements define how people are expected to interact within the organization. The organization’s values are used to evaluate the organization’s policies and actions. Effective organizations identify and develop clear and concise shared values so that members of the organization understand expectations. The vision, mission, and values must give the educational organization spirit. The spirit will ignite the educational organization into action.<br />The Second Realm: Empirics<br />The second realm of meaning is empirics. Empirics encompass facts and <br />discovering the truth. Dr. Kritsonis says, “These sciences provide factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations that are based upon observation and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind, and society” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12). According to Dr. Kritsonis (2007), science is concerned with matters of fact and facts refer to data of observation. Educational data collection is vital for strategic planning in educational organizations.<br />Strategic planning, with an emphasis on empirics, provides an understanding of the design of the educational organization’s assessment of needs, finances, and it allows the organization to set specific data-driven priorities. The educational organization is obligated to be data driven to aide accountability within the organization. It is essential to the strategic planning of an educational organization to conduct a continuum of critical analysis of the system, policy formulation and appraisal, management and monitoring, and evaluation. Gathering data and analysis of the current situation of the organization and the critical issues pertaining to the organization’s status and functioning is required in an educational organization. The strategic planning process requires a multi-method approach in gathering comprehensive data. These multi-method approaches include standardized testing, observation, surveys, interviews, document collection, and other formal and informal measures of organizational status. Findings and remedial options are formulated to provide policy orientations. As the system is analyzed, future direction can be established. Specific programs may be developed or resources may be mobilized based upon the information obtained through the data analysis. A continuum of monitoring, review, and analysis takes places. The learning leadership understands that the organization must continually change (Eaker & Gonzalez, 2007). The more data educational organizations collect, the more effectively the organization can improve. Assessment is required to constantly improve the strategic planning and ensure the execution of the educational organization’s vision. <br />The Third Realm: Esthetics<br /> Esthetics contains the various arts, such as music, the visual arts, the arts of movement, and literature (Kritsonis, 2007). Esthetics, art, is the recognition of the beauty of the aforementioned and it is unique to each person. “The term ‘visual arts’ designates the fields of painting, drawing, graphic arts, sculpture, and architecture, in which the artist shapes tangible materials into objects of esthetic importance” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 299). Physical education, health, and recreational activities are all closely interrelated resources for the enrichment of the individual persons and in the life of society (Kritsonis, 2007). Dr. Kritsonis (2007) says that health means wholeness which may be regarded as personal wholeness. <br />It is essential that strategic planning of an educational organization include a commitment to the development of the whole child. The educational organization is obligated to encourage and enable students to become responsible and actively engaged members of society. An educational organization should build a community of children who are valued and nurtured learners. Educational organizations must consider students well-being and incorporate social, economic, and health concepts into strategic planning. The complexity of well-being makes esthetics an important component in strategic planning. The academic achievement of students should support their exploration of perspectives and cultures from around the globe. The educational organization must be prepared to create citizens who are broadly and deeply educated, who can think critically, be creative, communicate across cultures, and apply the knowledge they acquire to the global society. <br />The educational organization need to include the arts in its strategic plan. It is imperative that educational organizations make meaningful connections across academic disciplines and everyday life. The arts can reinforce skills that connect learning to the real world. The additional positive effects of art education on student learning include attendance, communication, and critical thinking. Art education also requires discipline and skill which carries over into the community. A study conducted by Allen, Edmonson, and Fisher (2009) revealed art to benefit students’ verbal and linguistic skills. Allen, Edmonson, and Fisher’s findings were, <br />The nature of fine arts classes was to help students better demonstrate ideas, <br />feelings, and emotions through expressive use of their body and creative skills. This training could be beneficial to students in the form of written expression through TAKS writing and also help students in the reading portion of the TAKS. (Allen, Edmonson, & Fisher, 2009, p. 47)<br />The Fourth Realm: Synnoetic<br />The fourth realm is synnoetics. Dr. Kritsonis describes synnoetics as “…meanings in which a person has direct insight into other beings (or oneself) as concrete wholes existing in relation” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 393). Synnoetics can easily be ascribed to strategic planning. It is imperative that an educational organization understand its present position to understand its future aspirations. Critical analyses of the educational organization’s internal and external environments provide information to assess the organization’s current needs and needs for future planning. The heart of strategic planning is flexibility and ongoing evaluation of both the strategic plan and the planning process to ensure the organization’s success. Dr. Kritsonis clearly states, “A person is a being who both remembers and anticipates. He is related not only to himself as present, but also as past and as future” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 397). This statement can be applied to the educational organization as well. The educational organization must have knowledge of itself to provide the best educational opportunities today, tomorrow, and into the future. The educational organization must gain a historical perspective to determine how previous perceptions influenced current initiatives. The educational organization must also understand the external environment, the global market, to meet the needs of students and prepare them for global challenges.<br />The Fifth Realm: Ethics<br /> The fifth realm is ethics. According to Dr. Kritsonis, “The essence of ethical meanings, or of moral knowledge, is right deliberate action, that is, what a person out to voluntarily do” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 443). An educational organization must incorporate ethics in its strategic planning. The educational organization must establish policies or codes of conduct. Steven Bowman (2008) explains that the best way to describe ethics is by utilizing the following four words: rights, obligations, fairness and integrity. He goes on to say that these words have energies underlying them that seem to get at the basis of ethical considerations.<br />Ethical standards are important to ensure that the educational organization operates within the law and is viewed by the public as an ethical organization of learning. Codes of ethics within educational organization are necessary for promoting ethical teaching practices. The educational organizational must conduct a continuum of evaluation to promote ethical standards within the organization. Ethics provide justification for the actions that occur within the organization. Ethics provide the base upon which the vision, mission, and values are created. <br />Some other important ethical codes that are addressed in educational organizations are honesty, integrity, and respect. These beliefs are the very foundation of culture and civilization. The educational organizations must encourage students to collaborate across disciplines and learn the viewpoints and contributions of others. This combination of depth in learning fosters critical thinking skills, creativity, integrity, responsibility, and ethics.<br />The Sixth Realm: Synoptics<br /> <br />Synoptics is the sixth realm. Dr. Kritsonis says this about synoptics, “This term comprises meanings having an integrative function, uniting meanings from all realms into a unified perspective that is, providing a “single vision” on “synopsis” of meanings” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 483). Dr. Kritsonis relates that history is concerned with the understanding of past events. The historian must describe, order, and interpret events (Kritsonis, 2007). Understanding the past of the educational organization is a basic premise for strategic planning. By reviewing the organization’s history, the strategic planning builds upon past accomplishments or failures to broaden the organization’s reach. This type of planning builds a bold and aggressive educational organization to keep pace with social, economic, and demographic trends with proactive performance measures that gauge organizational success.<br />The educational organization’s strategic planning method should include a thorough analysis of the organization’s history and current situation. The educational organization must review important milestones to determine their influences on the organization. Effective strategic planning requires the educational organization to visualize the organization’s future status by looking back at its past history. It is necessary for educational organizations to be committed to being more responsive to society. Educational organizations are obligated to provide educational services required by present and future citizens to make the contributions needed to sustain society. The educational organization will meet these obligations by properly utilizing resources provided by taxpayers. Although Miech is skeptical about strategic planning in education, he writes, “Strategic planning can also play an important public relations role in education. For example, strategic planning in education can help improve school-community relations by involving parents and community members in the formal strategic planning process” (Miech, 1995, section 8). The strategic plan can bridge the gap between the schools and the community. The strategic plan also includes the educational organizations commitment to providing access to a broad range of educational services.<br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, education is a focal point for American society today. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed into law by President Bush in 2002, is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Education Week, 2004). The No Child Left Behind Act has expanded the federal government’s role in education. This came about because of the wide concern about the state of education. This legislation is expected to target every public school in America. At the core of the No Child Left Behind Act are a number of provisions designed to ensure broad gains in student achievement and to hold states and schools more accountable for student progress (Education Week, 2004). <br />The need for effective strategic planning is critical for all educational organizations. The constant challenges in education and pressures of student achievement will be guided by a well-developed strategic plan that serves as an integral part of day-to-day leadership and future aspirations in educational organizations. Dr. Kritsonis’ Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (2007) provides a pragmatic framework that connects strategic planning to the six realms of meaning. The six realms provide the foundations for strategic planning that will be vision, mission, and value driven which will create a successful educational organization. The strategic planning aligns the organization with the environment and explores perspectives and cultures from around the globe to achieve long-term stability. Strategic planning is an ongoing process. Strategic planning in an educational organization will provide a framework to support high-quality, student-focused education. <br />References<br />Allen, S., Edmonson, S. L., & Fisher, A. (2009). The value of fine arts education: <br />A student-centered analysis. National Forum of Educational Administration and <br />Supervision Journal, 25(3), 28-49.<br />Bowman, S. (2008). Embedding ethics into strategic planning. Retrieved on July 5, <br />2009, from http:// www.conscious-governance.com/strategic.html<br />Eaker, R. & Gonzalez, D. (2007). Leading in professional learning communities. <br />National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal, 24(1), 6-13.<br />Education Week. (2004, September). No child left behind. Retrieved on July 6, 2009, <br />from http://www.edweek.org/rc/issues/no-child-left-behind/<br />Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Houston, TX: <br />National Forum Press.<br />Miech, E. J. (1995). The rise and fall of strategic planning and strategic planning in <br />education. Retreived on July 5, 2009, from http://www.hepg.org/her/abstract/310<br />Making National, State, District and Local Plans Work Using the<br />Six Realms of Meaning as it Relates to Strategic Planning in Educational Leadership<br />Barbara A. Thompson, M.S.<br />PhD Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Administrative Assistant<br />College of Engineering Graduate Affairs and Research<br />William Allan Kritsonis, Ph.D.<br />Professor and Faculty Member<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />Visiting Lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />Central Washington University <br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />July 25, 2009<br />ABSTRACT<br />The curriculum for general education based on the idea of realms of meaning or logical patterns or structures bring a variety of meanings in knowledge and disciplined understanding. Curriculums adjusted for differences in culture, situations, learning levels, aptitudes, and the amount of enthusiasm brings consistency and unity in the learning experience (Kritsonis, 2007). No one plan is best for every teacher and for all students in all situations. Good teaching lies in guided discipline.<br />Introduction<br />The role of the school administration team is most often associated with educational leadership. Leadership roles can be enacted by all stakeholders within the school community, including the student population (Levin, 1998; Wallin, 2003). The six realms of meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) cover the range of possible meanings and comprise the basic competencies that general education should develop in every person. A philosophical theory of the curriculum for general education based on the idea of logical patterns in disciplined understanding is presented in Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning. There are patterns or structures in knowledge and an understanding of these typical forms is essential for the guidance of teaching, learning, and constructing the curriculum (Kritsonis, 2007). The various patterns of knowledge are varieties of meaning, and the learning of these patterns is the clue to the effective realization of essential humanness through the curriculum of general education (Kritsonis, 2007). <br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to discuss significant aspects of the six realms of meaning as it relates to strategic planning in educational leadership. <br />Planning Initiatives<br />The six realms of meaning are viewed as six fundamental patterns of meaning (Kritsonis, 2007). These patterns are sequential and provide the foundation for all meanings that enter the human experience and emerge from an analysis of possible distinctive modes of human understanding. The patterns are symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics, and synoptics (Kritsonis, 2007). <br />The entire school or organization’s future is at stake in strategic planning (Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). Strategic planning in educational leadership determines where a school is going over the next year or more and how it's going to get there (McNamara, 2008). A postmodern approach for academic and administrative departments would be to implement plans and strategies that are narrowly focused and vital to their future. A plan too broad would allow for planning initiatives to go amiss from the correct course of focus or persons could get stuck and not be able to move forward (Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). A framework for strategic planning of higher education centered on leadership, communication, and assessment is predictive of making national, state, district and local plans work (Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). Steps in the framework according to McNamara (2008) would include the following:<br />mission, vision and value statements<br />collaborators and beneficiaries<br />environmental review<br />goals<br />strategies and action plans<br />plan creation<br />outcomes and achievements<br />If a person is to achieve the highest excellence in anything at all, the basic realms are required (Kritsonis, 2007). The six realms bring meaning in knowledge and disciplined understanding to the development of the complete person. The controlling idea of general education for the development of complete persons emerges from a philosophy of man and his ways of knowing (Kritsonis, 2007). In the first realm of symbolics, a complete person should be skilled in everyday language with the use of speech, symbol, and gesture, able to study math and learn one to two foreign languages. The second realm of empirics would allow the student to study several of the social sciences such as Physical Science, Biology, Psychology, and Social Science (Kritsonis, 2007). Among the four disciplines in the third realm of esthetics, music, art, literature and the arts of movement in physical education could be studied. “Literature is one of the best sources of insight into personality and culture” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 366). The student would be factually well informed, capable of creating and appreciating objects of esthetic significance. The first three realms require detachment as the knower (Kritsonis, 2007). The knower stands apart from what he knows. This view is held by the modernist. The modernist divorces the knower (English, 2003).<br />In the fourth realm of synnoetics, the student could gain personal insight through working with skilled guidance counselors or thorough a social activity. The student is endowed with a rich and disciplined life in relation to self and others. Synnoetics requires active participation and engagement (Kritsonis, 2007). To know and to be are one and the same in personal existence. Ethics or moral knowledge is the fifth realm where a student is able to make wise decisions and to judge between right and wrong. His moral conduct is a universal responsibility (Kritsonis, 2007). It is what ought to be done and it is right action. The sixth realm of synoptics, the student would possess an integral outlook of which epistemology - the theory of knowledge, and metaphysics - what is real, are the primary basis for its function.<br />The First Realm: Symbolics<br />The six realms follow in sequential order. The first realm is symbolics. Ordinary language, mathematics, and various types of nondiscursive symbolic forms are in the first realm. Ordinary language means the forms of discourse employed in everyday speech and writing. One uses language to communicate. A person can be defined by his understanding of language and how well he communicates it. Kritsonis (2007) stated that the chief method of acquiring knowledge of a language is to observe its use in daily life. Nondiscursive symbolic forms are gestures, rituals, expression of feelings, facial expressions, signals, values, insights into the domains of personal knowledge, manners and customs, dreams, myths, and rhythmic patterns. A complete person expresses and communicates using his or her skills in speech, symbols, and bodily gestures. Speech is defined as an intellectual activity. Symbols in relation to the meanings being expressed, constitutes its vocabulary. In order for an individual to understand <br />math, the symbols and functions must be understood. Systems of mathematics are designed to achieve complete precision in meaning and rigor in reasoning (Kritsonis, 2007). Discursive language refers to language used in customary speech for communicating ideas.<br />The scope of curriculum in general education allows each person’s participation in the meaning of the social whole of the educational community (Kritsonis, 2007). Integrity and the <br />need to be learned in certain essentials would allow for leadership that defines roles and responsibilities essential to the effectiveness of the strategic plan. Board members, community leaders, teachers, parents and students actively participate in creating and organizing guiding principles for continuous effective leadership, communication, and assessment. <br />Students will interact with college instructors, peers, cooperating teachers, and schools. Any deficiencies would be attributed to the planning process and not to the plan itself (Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). Shortcomings in leadership, communication, or assessment can often be attributed to breakdowns in the process whether it is communication, understanding of language (a bilingual individual would be a valuable interpreter), or personal knowledge. Communication skills will be displayed through speaking, writing, and class experience.<br />Successful communication requires attention to each group that is likely to be affected by the planning process and the plan’s goals (Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). This would allow for easier adaptation and commitment to change by all persons because all the participants are deeply involved in the developmental process. This broader-based ownership in which participants feel valued and involved makes it easier to commit to change (Lindsey, Robins and Terrell, 2003).<br />Lindsey, Robins and Terrell (2003) stated in their book, Cultural Proficiency, A Handbook for School Professionals, that what is required in a strategic plan is informed and dedicated staff that are committed and involved in leadership. They take time to think, reflect, assess, decide, and change, and actively participate in work sessions where the educational community is contributing distinctive ideas, beliefs, feelings, and perceptions. To monitor a plan’s progress and assess it outcomes, ongoing attention to assessment is necessary (Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). These appraisals for assessment provide guidance for developing pre-planning strategies. They allow for monitoring the planning process and judging whether a plan’s activities and strategies are successful in fulfilling the school or organization’s goals (Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). <br />Strategic planning, according to Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership (2007), can include conducting a review of the school or organization’s political, social, economic and technical environment. In an initial review, an analysis of the school or organization can be completed. The planning phase can look at factors that are driving forces in the environment, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats regarding the school or organization. The mission, vision and value statements are updated as needed. The Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership (2007) suggests that an environment that has a diverse leadership team fostering readiness and receptivity and has an understanding of decision making processes and boundaries would aid creating successful plans for schools and <br />organizations. Sizing up previous plan’s successes on current efforts helps to keep a historical perspective on efforts of change.<br />Mission statements are brief written descriptions of the purpose of the school (McNamara, 2008). The mission statement is a specific purpose statement that is part of the overall mission statement. The value and vision statements are part of the mission statement. Vision statements are usually a compelling description of how the school or organization will or should operate at some point in the future and of how customers or clients are benefiting from the school or organization's products and services. Value statements suggest how people ought to act in the world with integrity, honesty, and respect as well as list the overall priorities in how the <br />school will operate. For example, an overview of a sample basic strategic planning model (McNamara, 2006) can be described as a basic model that would be used by schools or organizations that are very small, busy and inexperienced in strategic planning. The planning would be carried out by top level administrators and executives. <br />The basic strategic planning process according to McNamara (2006) would include the following steps: (1) Identify the purpose of the school or organization, which is also called the mission statement. The statement should describe what student or employee needs are intended to be met and with what services. The mission statement can change through the years as the school or organization changes to society’s needs. (2) Select goals that must be reached in order to accomplish the mission. These goals would address major issues facing the school or organization. (3) Identify the specific approaches or strategies to implement to reach the goals. In this step, the external and internal environments of the school or organization are examined closely. Steps to strengthen financial management can also be addressed. (4) Identify specific action plans or functions of each department to on how each strategy would be implemented. At this stage committees can be organized to monitor if objectives are met. (5) Monitoring and updating the plan is the final step in this plan. Reflection by planners is conducted to see to what extent the goals and objectives are being met and if the action plans are being implemented. At this stage feedback is important. A school or organization may generate a survey addressing school or organization satisfaction (McNamara, 2006).<br />The Second Realm: Empirics<br />The second realm of empirics would allow the student to study several of the social sciences such as Physical Science, Biology, Psychology, and Social Science (Kritsonis, 2007). These sciences provide factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations as it relates to the physical world, of living things, and of man. It requires ordinary language and mathematics for their expression. These sciences are based upon observation and experimentation in the world as it pertains to matter, life, mind and society. This realm includes abstract cognition. The postmodern approach believes that science is one way to go about seeking truths (English, 2003). This belief is not always superior to other forms of knowing. Truths are constructed and tested in many ways including logic and intuition. These truths are anything but very temporary understandings that can be modified over and over again (Kritsonis, 2007). In a strategic plan for educational leadership, field experiences include observation in public schools. Meta cognition skills include students will review and analyze research and summarize the thoughts of other researchers as well as analyze their research findings. <br />The Third Realm: Esthetics<br />Among the four disciplines in the third realm of esthetics to be studied by the student are music, art, literature and the arts of movement in physical education. Kritsonis (2007) stated one of the best sources of insight in personality and culture is literature. The student would be factually well informed, capable of creating and appreciating objects of esthetic significance. The esthetic realm causes delight in the observer. It deals with the contemplative perceptions of particular significant things such as forms of modern art, forms of movement (ballet, modern <br />dance) and other possibilities of esthetics forms provided by new artistic forms (rap music) and freedom of expression. These things are unique objectifications of ideated subjectivities (Kritsonis, 2007). School beautification projects, school uniforms, enrichment programs and vision and mission statements strategically posted around school help to beautify school sites and ultimately enhance the learning environment. The beautification process can be applied to organizations as well.<br />The Fourth Realm: Synnoetics<br />In the fourth realm of synnoetics, the student could gain personal insight through working with skilled guidance counselors or thorough a social activity (Kritsonis, 2007). The student is endowed with a rich and disciplined life in relation to self and others. Synnoetics requires active participation and engagement. To know and to be are one and the same in personal existence. Kritsonis (2007) stated that synnoetics signifies direct awareness or relational insight. This fourth realm encompasses our relationships with other people, what one knows and how to reply to it. It embraces personal knowledge (Michael Polany) and the I-Thou (Martin Buber) relationship. In meaningful relations, knowledge objective world is intimately bound to the eyes of the beholder, his politics, culture, language and conceptual affective awareness state, i.e. consciousness. The knower and the known are inseparable (English, 2003). <br />Team building, decision making, goal setting, conflict resolution and diversity awareness reveal relationships to other people and should be addressed in a strategic plan. Identifying critical stakeholders, skill of members, pros and cons of making a choice and having a process to deal with different opinions are key skill sets. Clarifying issues, seeing the other person’s perspective, identifying common ground, identifying what can be changed and what cannot be changed are essential in plan creating and school or organization. Highly controlled social mechanisms give way to threatening intimate personal relations and being true to self. A growing need and emphasis is needed on the personal dimensions of understanding.<br />The Fifth Realm: Ethics<br />Ethics or moral knowledge is the fifth realm where a student is able to make wise decisions and to judge between right and wrong. His moral conduct is a universal responsibility (Kritsonis, 2007). His decisions are based on what ought to be done and it is right action. “With enlarged powers and wider possibilities of choice, the importance of moral concern increases” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 649). Ethics includes moral knowledge and moral meanings and expresses <br />an awareness of relation, perceptual form and obligation rather than fact. Morality deals with personal conduct based on free, responsible, deliberate decision. The post modern approaches preserved one’s ability to exercise choice over one’s personhood, outlook on life, sexual orientation, continued existence, thought processes and basic integrity as a unique human being. Empirical knowledge is needed to understand that factual knowledge is an important resource in the improvement of understanding in personal relations and morals. This knowledge is necessary in making wise decisions. These decisions are based on consideration of alternatives and the prediction of consequences. “Moral decision presupposes a free and integral self-in-relation, and becoming a person depends upon making moral choices” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 592).<br />The Sixth Realm: Synoptics<br />The sixth realm of synoptics is where the student would possess an integral outlook of which epistemology - the theory of knowledge, and metaphysics - what is real, are the primary basis for its function. Meanings in the sixth realms are comprehensively integrative and include history, religion, and philosophy. Empirical truths, esthetic (beauty), and synnoetic (personal knowledge) meanings are coherent wholes in this realm. Man is revealed by the choices he has made in the context of his given circumstance. The postmodern approach considers that human diversity and difference are beneficial to the pursuit of modern truths and are a threat to governance, authority or rule. Any threat to diversity would be to veer toward antidemocratic persuasion. Feyerabend (1999) and his view on epistemological anarchism believed that there was no view too absurd or immoral that he refused to consider or act up and no method was indispensable. As people are faced with change, the requirement for the perspectives of history, a larger vision of faith, and the critical comprehension afforded by philosophical reflection are needed more than ever (Kritsonis, 2007).<br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, there are patterns or structures in knowledge and an understanding of these typical forms is essential for the guidance of teaching, learning, and constructing the curriculum. The purpose of this essay is to discuss significant aspects of the six realms of meaning as it relates to strategic planning in educational leadership. The six realms of meaning are viewed as six fundamental patterns of meaning (Kritsonis, 2007). These patterns are sequential and provide the foundation for all meanings that enter the human experience and emerge from an analysis of possible distinctive modes of human understanding. The patterns are symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics, and synoptics. The various patterns of knowledge are varieties of meaning, and the learning of these patterns is the clue to the effective realization of essential humanness through the curriculum of general education of the complete person (Kritsonis, 2007).<br /> The entire school or organization’s future is at stake in strategic planning (Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). A postmodern approach for academic and administrative departments would be to implement plans and strategies that are narrowly focused and vital to their future. Strategic planning in educational leadership determines where a school <br />is going over the next year or more and how it's going to get there (McNamara, 2008). A plan too broad would allow for planning initiatives to go amiss from the correct course of focus or persons could get stuck and not be able to move forward (Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). Logically, unless project leaders are successful in creating a commitment to the initiative, a plan that’s impressive on paper may fail to achieve its goals (Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007). Without careful communication, planning, school or organizational change is likely to meet with resistance by colleagues. The epistemological concern of fostering a culture of continuous assessment is imperative in fulfilling goals in educational leadership. Success in solving the problems of life (Kritsonis, 2007) is best achieved by those whose imaginations are kindled. <br />Kritsonis said, <br />A human being is in essence a creature who creates, discovers, enjoys, perceives, and acts on meaning. These meanings are of six general kinds: symbolic, empirical, esthetic, synnoetic, ethical, and synoptic. The educator can seize the opportunity to battle such areas as fragmentation, surfeit, and transience of knowledge, by showing what kinds of knowledge are required for full understanding and how the essential elements may be distinguished from the unessential ones in the selection of instruction materials. (2007, p.74)<br />The six realms of meaning as it relates to strategic planning in educational leadership are indicative of making national, state, district and local plans work for the success of all students to achieve goals in scholarly disciplines.<br />References<br />Center for School or Organizational Development and Leadership (2007). Strategic planning in higher education: A guide for leaders. [Brochure]. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.<br />English, F. W. (2003). The postmodern challenge to the theory and practice of <br />educational administration. Springfield, Ill: Charles C. Thomas.<br />Feyerabend, P. (1999). Theses on anarchism. In M. Motterlini (ed.) For and against <br />method (pp.113-118). Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press. <br />Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Houston, TX: <br />National Forum Press.<br />Levin, B. (1998). The educational requirement for democracy. Curriculum Inquiry, 28, <br />57-79. <br />Lindsey, R. B., Robins, K. N., & Terrell, R. D. (2003). Cultural proficiency: A manual <br />for school leaders (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.<br />McNamara, C. (2006). Basic overview of various strategic planning models. In <br />Free Management Library. Retrieved July 10, 2009 from http://www.managementhelp.org/plan_dec/str_plan/models.htm<br />McNamara, C. (2008). Basic description of strategic planning. In Free <br />Management Library. Retrieved July 10, 2009 from http://www.managementhelp.org/plan_dec/str_plan/models.htm<br />Wallin, D. (2003). Student leadership and democratic schools: A case study. National <br />Association of Secondary School Principals NASSP Bulletin, 87, 55-78.<br />School Leadership that Makes a Difference: A Sociological Perspective of Effective Strategic Planning and Integrating Realms of Meaning into School Improvement<br />Kashan Ishaq, M.Ed.<br />PhD Program Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Principal<br />Iman Academy SW – Private SACS Accredited School<br />Houston, TX<br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />Visiting lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford, England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />Central Washing University<br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />________________________________________________________________________ABSTRACT<br />The leader of the school with an embraced philosophy and understanding of the six realms of meaning (Symbolics, Empirics, Esthetics, Synnoetics, Ethics and Synoptics) can lead the educational system of the school towards the direction of celebrating the success of the children attending the school. Kritsonis states: “World-Wide, people are aware of the need for the most effective possible educational system if we are to meet the challenges and demands of life in a highly precarious and rapidly changing world” (Kritsonis 2007, p.vii).<br />________________________________________________________________________<br />Introduction<br />Schools where all stakeholders are aligned with the leader’s vision towards the school require strategic planning, which many school leaders fail to accomplish today. Parental involvement is one of the key areas where most schools face challenge. Facing this challenge, leaders of the school must strategically plan towards enhancement of the holistic educational system by knowing and understanding each component of the realms of meaning written by Dr. Kritsonis. For us to fix today’s educational problems we do have to deep analyze the problems of the past educational system and implement the postmodern theory into today’s educational system. Educational leaders must escape out of their fear to bring change and take it as a challenge to fix the educational system but it does require the passion for change, meetings the needs of all stakeholders of the school.<br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to discuss how school leaders’ understanding of the six realms of meaning can be strategically integrated in solving the educational problems of today and improving the schools of tomorrow. Dr. Fenwick W. English’s (2003) have described how postmodernism can change the educational system today. School administrators must believe in postmodernism theory to bring change in the educational system.<br />Values of Educational Leader <br />What are values and where do they come from? How do our values make a difference in the educational system today? In Ways of Knowing through the Realms of Meaning (2007), Dr. Kritsonis highlights traits for developing a person holistically. <br />According to Dr. Kritsonis (2007), <br />A person should be skilled in the use of speech, symbol, and gesture (symbolics), factually well informed (empirics), capable of creating and appreciating objects of esthetic significance (esthetics), endowed with a rich and disciplined life in relation to self and others (synnoetics), able to make wise decisions and to judge between right and wrong (ethics), and possessed of integral outlook (synoptics) (Kritsonis, 2007, (p.15) <br />Educational leaders have an enormous responsibility to carry on the vision of the school accordingly. <br />According to Haydon (2007),<br />Educational leadership today promotes critical thought and constructive analysis about underlying values that involve aims and moral purpose in education; individual qualities in educational leadership, vision in education, school ethos and culture, and schools as an educational communities. (p.1)<br />Creating a road map of the school’s strategic plan helps educational leaders increase parental involvement. A lack of strategic planning can cause financial loss for the school. Brain and Reid (2003), stated: “The more expansive the view of parental involvement, the greater the costs in running such projects and, hence, particularly in poor areas, the less chance of them is being sustainable” (Brain & Reid, 2003, p.293). Parents are expected to take ownership of different programs in schools. Parents are responsible for the children’s attendance, behavior and willingness to learn in schools and provide support to schools. Brain & Reid stated, “Parental involvement is seen as a mechanism for simultaneously raising standards, developing new partnerships between schools and parents in the local community and promoting social inclusion” (2003, p. 291). Parents and teachers are full partners in raising the children today. McNamara (2000), mentioned that the current labor government has placed a renewed emphasis involving parents as active partners in the production of educated children (McNamara, Hustler, Stronach, Rodrigo, Bresford, Botcherby, 2000, p. 474). Postmodernism guides educational leaders to use innovative and creative ways to improve the educational system. Educational leaders with the post modernistic approach can take the school so many years a head, where all students are successful and schools are technologically advanced. <br />According to English (2003),<br />Postmodernism is about constructing a way of looking at the world of ideas, concepts and systems of thought through the historicity of context and the shifting nature of linguistic meaning and symbols as they are manifested in discursive practices which run through educational administration and related fields. (p.3)<br />Educational leaders that are the true role models of the stakeholders of the school enforce epistemological and axiological framework; they believe in the positive change of the school’s educational system.<br />Strategic Planning for Educational Leaders<br />For educational leaders to be successful at creating effective schools where all stakeholders are highly involved in attainment of the school’s vision, the educational leader needs to know how to apply steps of strategic planning in enforcing the vision of the school to all stakeholders. According to the Center of Organizational Development and Leadership (2007), There are six planning phases:<br />Mission, Vision, and Values<br />Environmental Scan<br />Goals<br />Strategies and Action Plans<br />Plan Creation<br />Outcomes and Achievements (pp. 3-4)<br />Each step of strategic planning relates directly and indirectly to the six realms of meaning. Educational leaders usually get in their comfort zone and never think beyond changing the system of the school. They have a fear to align everyone’s vision and as they see obstacles, educational leaders stop and continue operating in their comfort zone. <br />English (2003) states: “The mental baggage of modernism is represented it the way conceives of itself as a compelling singularity: total, final and absolute” (English, 2003, p.62). School administrators’ tunnel vision directs them to never think beyond modernism, they find everything absolute and seldom make any changes. English (2003) said, “Postmodernism is not so much interested in the answers as the questions” (p.4). We have to ask questions such as where we went wrong, and seek solutions instead of continuing to play the blame game.<br />The First Realm: Symbolics<br /> Symbolics play a major role in the development and improvement of the educational programs. Dr. Kritsonis states: “The first realm, Symbolics, comprises ordinary language, mathematics and various types of nondiscursive symbolic forms, such as gestures, rituals, rhythmic patterns, and the like” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.11). This realm focuses on the key component that creates a successful organization. One of the areas that it focuses on is communication. Effective communication is one of the areas that are also highly emphasized in the strategic planning. According to the Center for Organizational Development and Leadership (2007),<br />Without careful communication, planning organizational change is likely to meet with resistance by colleagues. Successful communication requires attention to each group likely to be affected by the planning process and the plan’s goals. (p.5)<br />This realm is the essential component of the educational system. Leaders of the school must know how to effectively communicate with all stakeholders of the school. Symbolics addresses communication instruments, which can be utilized for conferences and professional development for educators. Educational leaders with the vision of involving parents and stakeholders of the school must know the power of communication effectively through different sources and how it can bring people towards the mission of the school. Electronic communication through electronically such as websites, emails, automated phone messages, text messages and newsletters are excellent forms of communication. <br />Leaders also need to know the power of written and oral communication and how it impacts people differently. Kritsonis stated, “Ordinary language, meant the forms of discourse employed in every day speech and writing” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.111). Educational leaders need to know the significance of using ordinary language defined by Dr. Kritsonis. Dr. Kritsonis defined ordinary language, “It allows human to communicate on a persona level. Many like to take a break from “shop talk” from time to time and become comfortable with associates” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.114). Educational leaders should learn to communicate effectively knowing when and where to use ordinary language. Dr. Kritsonis said, “The objective of using language is communication. Language is a binding force in society. It is a means of establishing human relationship” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.116). Building, maintaining and sustaining relationship with people are highly important for educational leaders and meaningful relationships can be established with effective communication. Kritsonis said, “Perhaps the deepest of all human needs is to be understood and accepted by others” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.116). One of the biggest challenges of educational leaders is to gain parental support. To overcome such a challenge, strategic planning of an organization must be planned where the idea is to empower parents and gain their trust by involving them in the campus improvement meetings. According to Fisher (1994),<br />To increase parental involvement, Mount Cammel High School has adopted strategic-planning change model. Successful strategic plans are connected to school mission and core values, gain staff support, remain open to input from all parties, build trust and rapport among participants, ensure open communication with stakeholders, ensure high principal visibility and feedback systems, and consider successful efforts elsewhere. (pp. 69-74)<br />The Second Realm: Empirics<br />“The second realm empirics, includes the Sciences of the physical world, of living things, and of man” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.12). This realm’s focus is on Science that deals with measurement. “These Sciences provide factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations that are based upon observations and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind and society” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.12). Leaders must take measures based on the data that is available before making decisions. According to Center for Organizational Development and Leadership (2007),<br />Ongoing attention to assessment is necessary to monitor a plan’s progress and assess its outcomes. This appraisal provide guidance for developing preplanning strategies, monitoring the planning process, and judging whether a plan’s activities and strategies are successful in fulfilling the organization’s goals. (p.5) <br />Effective principals of the school continuously assess and evaluate different programs. Principals use different evaluation tools that are available to evaluate teachers’ competency in different areas and provide support as needed. Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS), Professional communication domain helps principals measure and assess the effectiveness of parent teacher communication. Reviewing teachers’ parent contact logs also helps principals track the teacher’s interaction with the parents. This is one way to assess parents’ involvement and its impact on the students’ achievement. Also, principals can encourage teachers to effectively communicate with parents and provide professional development on communication strategies to bring high parental involvement. <br />The Third Realm: Esthetics<br />“The third realm, esthetics, contains the various arts, such as music, the visual arts, the arts of movement and literature” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.12). Arts and music are excellent ways to develop the children. Kritsonis said, “Humans teach their children the arts to help them achieve what we consider a well rounded education” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.284). School leaders see the beauty of education in their own ways just like teachers see the beauty in their own ways. The most important idea is to recognize that beauty exists in every child. Before making any decisions about the school, passionate educational leaders keep in mind the children’s beautiful faces, prior to finalizing decisions. In other words, all decisions should be made for the benefit of the children and prior to making a final decision, one should ask a question: “How this decision will impact the students?” Principals need to strategically develop the talents within the faculty and staff. Every member of the school has the talent and can be discovered by the leader of the school. Principals must strategically identify the talent within the faculty and staff. Transformational leaders develop and identify the teachers’ talent and empower them to apply those talents and skills in the improvement of the school. According to Center for Organizational <br />Development and Leadership (2007), “Collaborator and Beneficiaries- Identifying critical stakeholders with particular attention to the expectation for the plan’s development and implementation” (p.3). Identifying not only teachers’ talents but also any stakeholders of the school can help play a vital role in the improvement of the school. <br />The Fourth Realm: Synnoetics<br />“The fourth realms synnoetics, embraces what Michael Polany calls “personal knowledge” and Martin Buber the “1-Though” relation” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.12). This realm emphasizes on things that are personally important to a person. Synnoetics signifies “relational insight” or “direct awareness” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.12). It is important that educators strive to keep learning and discovering strategies to personally motivate students. The students will be successful once this thought process is developed and personally meaningful to the educators. <br />The Fifth Realm: Ethics<br />“The fifth realm, ethics, includes moral meanings that express obligation rather than fact, perceptual form, or awareness of relation” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.13). Ethics play an important role in the educational system. Poor quality ethics practiced by the members of the school can destroy the educational system and school’s performance. Members of the school community following poor ethical standards usually have low productivity. Group dynamics suffers and communication becomes more elusive and complex. The result is the decline in the schools’ environment. Good ethics, however, can have positive effects on the educational system. Members who follow high ethical standards, their productivity increases, group dynamics and communication also increases and risk in the failure of the school decreases. <br /> Ethics must be enforced by educational leaders in every school system because it creates a positive environment in the school and will lessen negativity within the school. It builds the structures in the school and holds each member of the school accountable. Educational leaders must follow ethics and enforce ethics at work through providing ethical trainings for the staff. Enforcing collaboration among staff and brainstorming ideas in the faculty meetings helps promote high professionalism at work where the members of the school follow all rules, policies and procedures. This is one way to achieve success collaboratively. <br />Morality must be enforced in policies and procedures. “Morality has to do with personal conduct that is based on free, responsible deliberate decision” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.13). Educational leaders must hold high ethical standards for themselves and for the rest of the stakeholders of the school. They should hold high expectations for all stakeholders to demonstrate high moral standards. According to Kritsonis (2007),<br />The good life consists in the realization of meanings, in all of the realms: in the ability to communicate intelligibly and forcefully, to organize the experience of sense into significant generalizations and theories with predictive power, to express the inner life in moving esthetic constructions, to relate with other and with oneself in acceptance and love, to act with deliberate responsibility, and to coordinate these meanings into an integrated vision and commitment. (p. 442)<br />All employees must be adhering to hold high ethical standards. The strategic planning approach should provide a blue print for establishing ethical standards for the school. The leader of the school must be able to effectively communicate and emphasize to the stakeholders of high ethical standards that the school holds. Values are established in creating an organizing the plan. “Reviewing the organization’s guiding principles as a useful reference point for planning, especially when determining how to allocate resources and measure achievements” (Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, 2007, p.3). <br />The Sixth Realm: Synoptics<br />“The sixth realm, synoptics, refers to meanings that are comprehensively integrative. This realm includes history, religion, and philosophy” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.13). All of these areas are important to uphold one’s ethical and moral level of understanding. History, religion and philosophy shape our understanding of life. Kritsonis said, “Of all the branches of philosophy the two which are the most comprehensive in scope and hence the primary basis for synoptic function of philosophy as a whole are the theory of knowledge (or epistemology) and metaphysics” (Kritsonis, 2007, pp.546-547). Educational leaders must have an extensive knowledge (epistemology) and metaphysics’ understanding to help shape the school community’s vision. History allows the educational leaders to interpret the past events with the current, to build the effective learning community, and to help plan accordingly for the improvement of the school. Effective educational leaders continuously assess and analyze data from the past to the present. “The educational leaders can work to a largely influence synoptics while developing the Campus Improvement Plan and heavily define the school’s culture” (Cloud & Kritsonis, 2006, p.7). <br />Educational leaders must be highly involved in the planning of the Campus Improvement Plan working closely with all stakeholders of the school, to modify and improve programs, which did not support the school’s vision and mission. Campus Improvement Plan should focus on ways to improve parental involvement of the school. <br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, there are many deficiencies in our educational system today. Facing these deficiencies require educational leaders’ deep understanding of the problems to help improve schools. Educational leaders must strategically plan by incorporating six realms of meaning to solve the educational problems. Issues such as lack of student motivation, parental involvement, and unaligned vision of the stakeholders can all be aligned with post modernistic approach but it takes the strong and effective leader’s belief in applying the steps of strategic planning and integrated realms of meaning into school improvement. <br />References<br />Brain, K. & Reid, I. (2003). Constructing parental involvement in an education action zone: Whose need is it meeting? . Educational Studies, 29 (2/3), 291-205.<br />Center for Organizational Development and Leadership. (2007). Strategic planning in higher education: A guide for leaders. Rutgers University. New Jersey: Author.<br />Cloud, M., & Kritsonis, W. (2006). National agenda: A holistic approach for the<br />development of a campus improvement plan using ways of knowing through the realms of meaning as the framework. Doctoral Forum: Journal for Publishing and Mentoring <br />Doctoral Research Students. 3 (1), 1-8. Retrieved July 7, 2009, from http://www.eric.ed.gov <br />English, F.W. (2003). The post modern challenge to the theory and practice of educational administration. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas.<br />Fisher, S. (1994). Preparing for change: Parental involvement at Mt. Carmel High School. NASSP Bulletin.78 (560), 69-74. <br />Haydon, G. (2007). Values for educational leadership. California: Sage.<br />Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning: A philosophy for selecting the curriculum for general education. Houston, TX: National Forum Journals.<br />McNamara, O., Hustler, D., Stronach, I., Rodrigo, M., Beresford, E. & Botcherby, S. (2000). Room to manoeuvre mobilising the ‘active partner’ in home-school relations, British Educational Research Journal, 26(4), 473–489.<br />Educational Leaders Incorporating Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning to Create Successful Strategic Plans for Public Schools<br />Christine Lewis<br />Ph.D. Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Teacher<br />Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District <br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor and Faculty Mentor<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership <br /> Prairie View A&M University <br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />Visiting Lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Round Table <br />University of Oxford England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />Central Washington University<br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />ABSTRACT<br />Strategic Planning is the process of looking at all aspects of your school and planning ways you can move your school forward. It provides the ‘big picture’ of where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. Running a school is time consuming, stressful, challenging and enjoyable. Educational leaders can incorporate Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis 2007) in creating a well structured and successful strategic plan for our nation’s public schools. ________________________________________________________________________ <br />Introduction<br />Strategic planning is a process of defining schools strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources. Strategic planning is the formal consideration of a school’s future. Strategic planning deals with at least one of three key questions:<br />"What do we do?" <br />"For whom do we do it?" <br />"How do we excel?" <br />The basic aim of strategic planning is to actively determine the nature or character of the school and to guide its direction <br />The need for effective strategic planning is very important to the success of our schools. The general operation of schools comes with many challenges. These challenges require educational leaders to develop plans to adjust their practices to meet the academic and behavioral needs of all students. The need for effective strategic planning has also intensified because of the constraints in resources and increased expectations for accountability from external agencies such as state governments (Welsh, 2005).<br />Educational leaders have to effectively meet these challenges. They must interpret the regulations and policies and then develop system-wide action plans to effectively put these strategies into practice. Solutions now require detailed blueprints for systemic change that identify strategic performance indicators and benchmarks. These plans require that educational leaders, teachers, counselors and other related professionals work collaboratively to identify and improve positive academic and behavioral supports across the curriculum. This must be done with simplicity and commitment within the organization. Therefore, professional collaboration is critical for the learning and performance of the highly diverse students that comprise today’s classrooms. Incorporating the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis 2007) can create better strategic plans.<br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to discuss ways our educational leaders in public schools can incorporate the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning <br />(Kritsonis 2007) to take strategic planning from the modernism age to postmodernism age to improve our nation’s educational system. <br />Incorporating the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning to Improved Strategic Planning for Successful Schools<br />Educational leaders can change the way they develop strategic plans for public schools by creating plans using the postmodernist thinking. Postmodernism can be the new and improve way to achieve success for our highly diverse student population. Educational leaders have to think outside of the box to create working strategic plans that will help students to be highly successful. Schools can close the achievement gap that our nation’s public schools are facing. Incorporating the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis 2007) educational leaders can create a working strategic plan. If you do not know what you want to achieve, you cannot make decisions about how you are going to get there. The six realms of meaning can put schools on the path to success. <br />One of the key attributes of successful schools is that they have a well articulated mission and visions that all members of the school community are aware of and believe in. It is worthwhile spending time to get your vision and mission articulated because all other strategic planning decisions depend on whether or not the schools actions are consistent with the vision and mission.<br />Symbolics<br />The first realm of meaning is symbolics which includes speech, symbol and gesture. Educational leaders must establish ordinary language as part of a well planned strategic plan which is well written. The language in the strategic plan must be understood by staff, students, parents and stakeholders. The language should be precise and have a clear message. It should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-limited. Specific means the language should be clear and able to be understood by all, including those not involved in the process. Measurable means the plan should articulate the desired outcome, not the specific strategies. For example, not ‘improve student outcomes’ but ‘raise benchmarks testing results by ten percentages by the end of the year’. The meaning of terms should be explained for all to understand.<br />Symbols used in the strategic plan should be universal and express the ordinary language in a clear manner and can be understood without any questions asked. Feeling, value and emotions, can be express using nondiscursive symbolic form. Educational leaders should make symbolics the foundation on which they develop their strategic plan. Implementing symbolics is the first of the six realms of meaning which will take the school system from the modernism age to the postmodernism age.<br />Empirics<br />The parents or students looking at a modernist strategic plan of their school will not be able to understand what is expected of them because the vision and the mission is not clear and does not have a ordinary language. The old strategic plan format is so difficult to understand by parents and students that they did not read the plans. Educational leaders are changing the style of the strategic plan and utilizing the second realm of meaning which is empirics. Empirics will make for factually and well informed strategic plan. Empirical require ordinary language and mathematics for its expression. Empirics deal with the sciences Williams Kritsonis said; “to know a science is to be able to formulate valid general description of the matters of fact’. (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 175). Sciences are important to the educational leader in creating the strategic plan the educator has to think of how students learn and why learning takes place. The educational leader needs to understand student behavior as well.<br />The educational leader has to analyze the internal and external environment of the school. The external environment normally focuses on the students. Management should be visionary in formulating students’ strategy, and should do so by thinking about the diversity of the schools. In order to determine where the school is going, the leader needs to know exactly where the school stands, then determine where it wants to go and how it will get there. The resulting document is called the “strategic plan”. Which is detailed and factual. According to English (2003) the dominoes of educational administration begin with the idea of a scientific field as a metadiscourse. It is true that strategic planning is the tool for effectively plotting the direction of a school, but educational leaders must have a physical measurement of the future of the school. <br />Achievable means that the goal should be rigorous and cause stretching but it also should be possible to reach. People will soon lose interest in a goal they can never attain. Realistic, is similar to achievable. A modernism strategic plan goal would imply that all students will receive one hundred percent on the benchmark tests when clearly the only way this can be achieved is by creating a test so simple that anyone could pass. The postmodernism strategic plan will be realistic and it will encourage good teaching and learning. All goals need to yield some results by the end of the strategic planning period, and preferably there should also be some short-term goals leading towards the bigger goal in the future.<br />Esthetics<br />Esthetics is the third realm of meaning which educational leaders can incorporate into the school’s strategic plan to make it more workable at the end and achieved goals. Postmodernism strategic planning theory in schools has moved away from the traditional business model to a ‘strategic thinking’ approach. This is a strategy that is less a fixed design and more a flexible learning process that relies on school educational leaders constantly listening and synthesizing what they hear and learn from all sources. <br />This does not necessarily rule out a formal strategic planning process, but it assumes that the formal plan is open to change and refinement so educational leaders are always open to responding to rapid change. Teachers allow their students to spend large amount of time developing their talents. Teachers encourage student’s expressiveness in order that they may gain confidence and appreciation. (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 290). A plan will not work if people are not out there making it happen. People will not work with any enthusiasm on a plan they do not ‘own’. The more members of the school community are involved in the development of the plan, the more people will buy into the plan, the more people will be motivated to make the plan work. Educational leaders should include teachers, school staff, students and parents in some stage of the development of the strategic plan. The educational leaders may also consider involving local business people, the local community, old scholars and any other relevant people.<br />The strategic plan arises from pragmatic, flexible strategic thinking that relies on judgment as much as on spelling out action steps and the measurement of benchmarks.<br />The ‘strategic plan’ should concentrate on very few targets over a relatively short period of time. These plans may be developed using a strategic thinking process which occurs over a series of faculty meetings and a board retreat; and it may result in the development of a rolling sequence of project-based reviews and change, focusing each year on one or two departments, key focus areas or program areas. The important focus in strategic planning is to concentration on a few targets at a time, for example improving TAKS scores of African American students. <br />The other critical element is that the educational leader journey is to get, school board and school staff on the same page when it comes to strategic planning and thinking. There must be a shared understanding about the key areas the educational leader is going to concentrate on both staff and the board must have full confidence and trust in the educational leader to report accurately about the school, its programs and trends in education. A postmodernism educational leader will work on one goal within a specific time period. A modernism educational leader will take on the entire strategic plan all at once and will not involve other members of the school.<br />Synnoetics<br />Synnoetics is the realm of engagement. It deals with personal knowledge of educational leader. Educational leader can empower all that is involved with the school. The leader must get the staff to buy into the vision and mission. The educational leader has to work his or her magic to get everyone involved to see the strategic plan as their own. They must see that the plan is all about the success of the students in our care. <br />The educational leader has to be subjective when developing a strategic plan. The educational leader must use personal ideas and experiences. Educational leaders must see their school as the best school. They have to think that all students can achieve. They have to think they are the one who is going to close the achievement gap between Caucasian students and African American students if that is the problem their school faces. <br />The postmodern educational leader works to empower their staff to move away from the modernist thinking that some students just cannot learn. The educational leader will find creative ways to help teachers to think outside the box and to develop new ways of helping weak students to get stronger. The postmodern educational leader makes regular workshops a part of the strategic plan for the improvement of the teachers and staff. The postmodern educational leader leaves his or her office and walk the school daily, meet with parents and students, and talk with teachers and staff. The educational leader sees all members of the school body as a piece of the puzzle that he or she needs to solve. The leader has to observe each member of the school and see where they fit in the puzzle so he or she can create a working puzzle that will raise the school to the top. <br />Ethics<br />Honesty is the educational leader’s motto. The educational leader has to ask the question, “Was I fair in dealing with the situation”, or “Could I handle it in a better way?” If the educational leader makes a mistake they are willing to admit it and work on making change. As a postmodern educational leader, he or she always remembers they are the man in the mirror and they have to be true to self. Ethics can keep the educational leader on the right path. The educational leader must be fair to all teachers, staff, students and parents regardless of race, age, or religion. The educational leader will not write goals into the strategic plan that they know they can not achieved during the time they commit. Educational leaders do not make promises that they know they can not fulfill. They ask for help as needed. Educational leaders have moral values and live by them when working with teachers, staff, parents, students and stakeholders. <br />Synoptics<br />Synoptics is the sixth realm of meaning that educational leaders can use to summarize goals and objectives into a mission’s statement and or a vision statement for their school. In developing the mission or vision statement using the six realm of meaning educational leaders will develop a mission or vision that will sell what he or she is doing to make the school the top achieving school in the district. <br />History is very important to a school. It tells how much the school has grown and reveals the schools successes over the years. A mission and vision statement will explain the history of a school. Educational leaders include a mission statement in the strategic plan tells the fundamental purpose of the school. It concentrates on the present. It defines the students and the critical processes. It informs you of the desired level of performance. A mission and vision statement outlines what the organization wants to be. It concentrates on the future. It is a source of inspiration. It provides clear decision-making criteria. <br />A school vision statement must become assimilated into the school’s culture. Educational leaders have the responsibility of communicating the vision regularly, creating narratives that illustrate the vision, and acting as role-models by embodying the vision, creating short-term objectives compatible with the vision, and encouraging others to craft their own personal vision compatible with the school’s overall vision. In addition, mission statements need to conduct an internal assessment and an external assessment. The internal assessment should focus on how members inside the school interpret their mission statement. The external assessment which includes all of the school’s business to stakeholders is valuable since it offers a different perspective. These discrepancies between these two assessments can give insight on the school mission statement effectiveness.<br />Incorporating the realm of meaning synoptics in the development of the strategic plan can help the educational leader keep record of the changes in the student body, race, gender and sex. Educational leaders can display student’s achievement in the past, the present and the future. Student progress has to be factual so educational leaders can make changes for improvement and track students. Synoptics can help leaders to stay with the diversity changes that all schools are facing in our nation’s education system. Syonptics help leaders in the selection of qualified, capable teachers. All teachers are not fit for the classrooms. Syonptics help the educational leaders to develop strategic plans that will be detailed with timelines. <br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, the purpose of this article was to discuss ways our educational leaders in public schools can incorporate the Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) to take strategic planning from modernism to the postmodernism age to improve our nation’s educational system. Describing what strategic planning is can also provide an understanding of what it is not. Strategic planning involves anticipating the future environment, but those decisions are made in the present. <br />This means that over time, educational leaders must stay abreast of changes in order to make the best decisions at any given point. Educational leaders must move away from modernism’s way of management and become more postmodernism. The Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) can help create a well written and detailed strategic plan. Educational leaders need to incorporate Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007) in the development of strategic plan for their schools. The six realm of meaning will assist in a creative strategic planning process, and the fresh insight today might very well alter the decision making for tomorrow. <br />References<br />English, F.W. (2003). The postmodern challenge to the theory and practice of <br />educational administration. Springfield, IL; Charles C. Thomas.<br />Kristsonis, W.A (2002). William Kritsonis, PhD on SCHOOLING. Mansfield, OH: Book<br />Masters, Incorporated. <br />Kristsonis, W.A (2007).Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning: A philosophy<br />for selecting the curriculum for general education. Houston, TX: National <br />FORUM Press.<br />Michael, A., Jude, K. (2005). Strategic planning for nonprofit organizations. Manhattan,<br /> NJ: John Wiley and Sons <br />Wiles, J. & Bondi, J. (2002). Curriculum development: A guide to practice. Manhattan, <br />NJ: Bembo Carlisle Communications, Ltd.<br />A Postmodernistic Plan-of Action for Educational Leaders<br />Tyrus L. Doctor<br /> PhD Student in Educational Leadership<br />The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education <br /> Prairie View A&M University <br />Associate Principal <br />Crowley Independent School District <br /> Crowley, Texas <br /> William Allan Kritsonis, PhD <br />Professor and Faculty Mentor<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />Visiting Lecturer<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford, England<br />Distinguished Alumnus<br /> Central Washington University<br />College of Educational and Professional Studies<br />ABSTRACT<br />The purpose of this article is to analyze our current educational system as a whole, while identifying both modernistic and postmodernistic views of some of the essential components of our educational system such as the development of mission statements, high expectations for success, data driven decision making, and instructional leadership. <br />Introduction<br />What has come of our axiological nation? No matter the source, it has become apparent that once you open the newspaper, turn on your television to watch your favorite news station, log onto the internet to read the news or listen via your favorite radio station, you are bombarded with heart-wrenching news reports of a nation full of people who seem to have an elitist or hegemony perspective on the world and their interaction with it. The same perspective that turns your stomach when enduring your daily cup of news is the same perspective that is often the driving force of our school system. <br />Throughout the years our education system has undergone some sudden and excruciating changes. This is due in part to the direction of our nation and the people within it. Dr. William Kritsonis (2002) states, “understanding historical forces that helped shape our schools will facilitate our understanding of school today” (pg. 17). Before we may begin to investigate or determine our future, we must first understand our past. The original premise on which our educational system was founded no longer holds true with either the current state of education or with the needs of our students. In early civilizations, “education was associated with wealth and the maintenance of authority, or prevailing philosophies, beliefs or religion” (retrieved July 20, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education).” A system that was once founded to continue and support the elitist abilities of the wealthy must now conform and ensure the success of all students. Students who are wealthy or poverty-stricken, high achievers or under achievers, those who have been abused and those who have not--all must and should be provided with the best education. <br />To attempt to address the needs of our current student population with typical or conventional educational practices would be harmful to the overall success of our students. It is imperative, since we are teaching students who are often unlike the students our forefathers once knew, that we educate them differently as well. As we think epistemologically, we must continually expect and implement non-conventional or post-modernistic ways of addressing each student’s needs. As Fenwick W. English (2003) states, “postmodernism is about understanding that a posture of exclusivity is rejected, that is, the idea of their being one right way … or one right method of inquiry to pursue truth as it is constructed” (pg. 3).<br />Post-Modernistic thinking is not just the latest and greatest fad to hit the educational system. It is the wave of our future and that of our students. English goes on to state that“The postmodernist seeks to show that there are always a plurality of options, approaches, and possibilities in a multiplicity of probabilities” (2003 pg.4) Implementation of this way of thinking will prove to be beneficial and multifunctional throughout the United States’ educational system. <br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to discuss strategies used within our current school environment, while implementing postmodern thinking. Throughout the article we will observe common practices utilized within the school, as a whole. It is also the intent of this article to exhibit how postmodern methodologies will assist in the improvement of current practices.<br />Define Modernism and Postmodernism<br />Before we may begin to decipher our way through the educational system as we know it and determine what modernism and that which is postmodernism, we must understand what each means. Dr. Fenwick English (2003) defines modernism as, “distinctive perspective…captured by faith in rationality and its principal method, science” (pg. 248). He also explains that postmodernism is “characterized by …a state of mind, a critical, self referential posture and style, a different way of seeing and working” (pg.250). Simply put, modernism is a methodology based on science, that which is rational and can proven to be factual, and anything else -has no relevance. While postmodernism derives from the ability to make observations based on many factors and their reflections of experiences, postmodernism may also be characterized as metaphysical or subjective. <br />Modernist view of Clear and Focused Mission<br />Upon the success of any institution, whether it is in corporate America or within the walls of a school building, we must have a clear and concise mission statement. Mission statements are often seen as, “a motivator for the workforce, fostering commitment and belief in jobs that people do” (Retrieved July 20, 2009 from, http://is2.lse.ac.uk/asp/aspecis/20000015.pdf ,pg 2) Currently we utilize our school or district’s mission statement as our blueprint for what we hope to accomplish and how we view ourselves currently as an educational system. According to Pillay and Hackney, the utilization of such an organized framework is the application of modernist theory. (Retrieved July 20, 2009 from, http://is2.lse.ac.uk/asp/aspecis/20000015.pdf pg.2) <br />Alan M. Blankstein states, “the mission of an organization is essential to its success … and ,,,should be created and published as a means of giving those involved-…a clear understanding of its purpose for existence” (2004). A common attribute of the mission statement is to develop a common ground for all stakeholders. Blankstein, Pillay & Hackney each agree that mission statements assist organizations in keeping everyone on the “same page.” <br />Postmodernist View:<br />“Truth is Constructed within the Context and is Circular” (English, 2003, pg. 15.)<br />As educational leaders, we search tirelessly for the “best practice” to address the needs of our students. Although our goals are common within the nation, the way that we may accomplish them is not. The “best practice” often seen in most mission statements, is indicative of the modernist perspective of schooling. The modernist theory believes that there is “one method, one model, or one idea of a singular, universal path” (English, 2003, pg.3). We know that our student population is neither singular nor indicative of a system that is stagnating. <br />Post-modernists believe the production of a shared mission within an entire institution is “a hopeless task” (Retrieved July 20, 2009 from, http://is2.lse.ac.uk/asp/aspecis/20000015.pdf , pg. 4). According to Pillay and Hackney, it is more likely that the mission “will mean different things to different people” (pg. 4). Thus, “Truth is Constructed within Context and is Circular” (English, 2003). <br />In the postmodern view of addressing our school’s mission statement, we would allow for an open-minded plethora of ideas to be discussed, thus providing an opportunity for multiple stakeholders to have an active role in the success of the school, rather than just a select few. The opportunity for many to have input in the development in a school or district’s mission statement is important in “systems of power which are not value-neutral” (English, 2003, pg. 16). <br />Recommendations for implementing Postmodernism in development of mission statements:<br />
Although we establish a mission statement, we must allow for it to be criticized and adjusted as necessary.
Develop a camaraderie or cohesiveness among faculty, staff, students and parents, that allow each person’s interpretation or perspective to be heard.
Modernist View of High Expectations for Success<br />The theory to which you relate does not change the fact that we all want students to excel. Therefore, we are extreme advocates of having high expectations for our students, which will ultimately lead to their success. The modernist way of specifying these expectations has changed with each period of history, which Fenwick English refers to as a “paradigm shift” (pg.66). In the era of No Child Left Behind, district and campuses alike are under extreme pressure to increase student achievement. Thus, they continually address the issue of high expectations for students in the same way they have in the past, yet they add another layer or mask to it and call it something else. It is not a radical change, as the modernist would like you to believe, but simply adjustments within its field (English, 2003, pg. 67). The repetition of such methodologies will result in the same response as years past. It is time to think beyond the four walls of the classroom or box. We must “think the unthinkable” (English, 2003, p. 68).<br />Postmodernistic View of High Expectations for Success<br />Extreme times call for extreme measures. Our educational system, believe it or not, is in a state of emergency. The policies we have set forth year after year, decade after decade, are not accomplishing the goal of student achievement across the board. <br />The postmodernist view is comprised of ideas of ever-changing possibilities without concrete definitions. This flexibility will allow educators to address the constant shift in the demographics of the students we teach. This type of ideology is difficult for educational leaders to implement, due in part to the fact that we have been constructed with a modernist perspective. We have been breed and reared to seek out factual and definite means, and the uncertainty that is eluded through the postmodern way thinking is seen as ridiculous. As stated by English (2003), “postmodernism brings them face to face with the dilemma that the methods they select engage in their inquiries are preferred political strategies rather than unbiased searches for the truth” (pg. 30). Political strategies they are- why would they not be? The driving forces of our educational system are politicians with the desire and means to treat the educational system as a business. <br />Recommendations for Implementing Postmodernism in High Expectations for Students:<br />
Allow each stakeholder to have an active role in determining their own interpretations of student success.
Allow opportunities for administrators, staff, and other stakeholders to express creative and innovative ideas.
Modernist View of Data- Driven Decision Making<br />The passing of NCLB has sent an influx of authors storming to their publishers to write<br /> tell- all books or “best practice” books on education. These books exclaim that if these practices are followed, student achievement is inevitable. Within each of these books we often see a common method used to address and assess student achievement, which is data. Alan Blankstein (2004) states, “both effective assessment procedures and effective use of the associated data are fundamental to a school’s continuing achievement and improvement” (pg.142). <br />Within a modernist way of thinking, data--driven decision making is often seen as absolute (English, 2003). It is seen as the driving force of all of the decisions made within a school system. “Data-driven decision making centered…quantitatively and qualitatively better base and framework for decisions which will lead to improved decisions” (English, 2003). It is used to determine whether students are learning, whether or not teachers are teaching, and whether or not a Principal or Superintendent is doing the job they were hired to do. An unacceptable result on state and district accountability ratings often results in the untimely demise of these professionals.<br />Postmodernist View of Data- Driven Decision Making<br />It is understandable that many educational leaders lean towards data to drive their decisions. Yet, you must ask the question, what about the sub-populations that are often penguin- held by these same assessments? The students are often underrepresented in such testing environments, which often leads to invalid results. Assessments and standardized tests of this sort do not take into account certain environmental factors or events that take place in students’ and teachers’ lives. <br />As stated by Eunetra Ellison (2006), “to make ‘high stake’ decisions based on the results of a standardized, norm-referenced test further marginalizes certain sub-populations” (pg.3). According to a study found in the Harvard University Gazett (2000), “so-called ‘high stakes’ testing policies that require students to pass standardized tests deepen educational inequality …and widen the educational gap between affluent and impoverished students.” <br />Postmodernists view the hegemony of data driving our decisions as “dumbing schools down” (English, 2003). Dr. English states that decisions based solely on data allow administrators to wear blinders (pg. 210). English goes on to add that the inability of these educational leaders to see what is not “reducible to ratio/interval information” causes ignorance among such leaders. <br />Recommendations for Implementing Postmodernism in Reference to the Collection of Data:<br />
Rethink assessment and its purpose. What is the purpose of the assessment, and is it necessary?
If educational leaders are going to utilize data while making valuable decisions, they must also ensure that the data is “interconnective” (English, 2003).
Implement ways to investigate and survey teacher moral, effects of parental involvement, and motivation within diverse student populations (Ellison, 2006).
Determine a means of ranking administrators, teachers, and staff effectiveness based on results that are within his control.
Allow administrators to use “common sense” alternatives to making decisions (English, 2003). Utilizing our own personal experiences and knowledge will serve as a framework for better decision-making practices.
Utilize the funds allocated for the distribution of standardized test for educational resources for teachers and students.
Modernist View on Instructional Leadership<br />It is no secret that the positive effect of a school or the likely hood of students’ success often lies on the shoulders of the schools instructional leader, the i.e. principal. They are held accountable for every event that happens in the school--those controllable and those that are not. Hence the implementation of a bureaucratic educational system that provides guidelines and requirements for what should occur within the four walls of the school house. Whether the school building is in the most impoverished area or the most affluent, the end result must be the same. This type of management style is similar to that of Fredrick Winslow Taylor’s. Fredrick Taylor developed a “scientific management” style known today as Taylorism. (English, 2003) According to Dr. English (2003), this type of management style does not take into account what could be produced by certain workers, but by what should be (pg.104). <br />The same management framework is used to develop and train some of our current educational leaders, thus continuing the development of this same hegemonic or superior leadership style. This develops followers, not leaders; people who do not have the free will and ability to express their knowledge or background on certain information or methodologies. <br />Taylorism has assisted in the development of “cookie cutter” administrative guidelines and practices, leading to what is known as The ISSLC Standards. These standards have been adopted and designed to “help transform the profession of educational administration and the roles of school administrators” (English, 2003). Once a future administrator has completed each of their master’s level course work, they must successfully complete a national exam which is developed to assess a person’s knowledge of each ISSSLC standard, while reflecting most “current research” (English, 2003). <br />Postmodernist View of Instructional Leadership<br />Postmodernists have determined that the application of such standards, in its attempt to acquire more effective educational leaders, may have actually developed a process that allows a more “unskilled or deskilled workforce to be hired” (English, 2003, pg.116). This has resulted in a “fundamental epistemological issue …” (English, 2003). <br />Dr. English (2003) states that an “examination of the content of the ISLLC standards reveals…: <br />
Any knowledge or strategy dealing with changing or reforming the current socio-political-economic structure which produces the inequalities facing schools; 2) any serious consideration of the conceptual inadequacies of notions of modernistic science …undergrid the standards and/ or test which asses them; 3) no practice of sustained critical reflection…; 4) no recognition that in preparing leaders, “context is everything” (pg.117).
The inability of the ISLLC standards to reflect such ideologies exemplifies the fact that the field of educational administration has been strong--armed by the “conservative” political status quo (English, 2003). This often inhibits instructional leaders from openly expressing their own opinions and convictions. It is imperative for the overall moral of a school, for the principal to feel that their opinions are valued and necessary for the success of the school. <br />Recommendations for Implementing Postmodernism and Educational Leadership:<br />
Provide professional development opportunities for educational leaders that foster creativity among themselves and their staff.
To provide opportunities for educational leaders to revisit themselves, their school, and the goals they are trying to reach. In doing this they will determine what practices and current theories need to be reconstructed or demolished.
Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion the ability for our educational system to incorporate the postmodern way of thinking will prove to be beneficial. The ability for educational leaders, teachers, staff and other community stakeholders to think outside of the box is the exact type of methodology we need to address the needs of our students. <br />Although postmodernism does not embrace the adoption of “best-practices”, I feel they are important in the overall development of a school that embraces learning among all. However, it cannot be the end--all of our educational practices. We must utilize them as only one method of achieving our goal. We must also be willing to adopt new practices or change our current stance on certain issues. What we believe is effective today, may not prove to be effective tomorrow. <br />References<br />Ellison, E. (2006). Making Educational Methods More Lucrative: A Postmodernist’s <br />Perspective. Doctoral Forum National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Student Research, 3, 1-6.<br />English, F.W., (2003). The Postmodern Challenge to the Theory and Practice of EducationalAdministration. Springfield,IL: Charles C.Thomas Publisher, LTD.<br />Hackney, R. & Pillay, J. (n.d.) Organizational Mission Statements: A Postmodernist PerspectiveOn the Management of the IS/IT Function. Retrieved July 20, 2009http://is2.lse.ac.uk/asp/aspecis/20000015.pdf<br />Harvard University, Cambridge, Harvard University Gazett. (2000, January). Studies: 'HighStakes' Tests Are Counterproductive Economically Disadvantaged Students. RetrievedJuly 22, 2009, from the http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2000/01.20/tests.html <br />Kritsonis, W., (2002). William Kritsonis, PhD on Schooling. Houston, TX. National ForumJournals.<br />Wikipedia (2009). Intuition. Wikipedia the free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 20, 2009 fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education.<br />Strategic Planning in Schools: A view through the lens of<br />The Six Ways of Knowing Through Realms of Meaning<br />David M Palmer M.Ed<br />PhD Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD <br />Professor and Faculty Mentor<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />Visiting Lecturer<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford, England<br />Distinguished Alumnus<br /> Central Washington University<br />College of Educational and Professional Studies<br />ABSTRACT<br />The very act of planning that in itself has a reflexive component implies that schools are more than just passive pawns in the hands of socioeconomic forces. Strategic planning, in the form of school improvement planning, has become the dominant approach to school management. This has evolved from earlier forms of strategic planning and has significant inherent weaknesses that undermine the extent to which school improvement planning can contribute to the effective management of schools. The six patterns in the realms of meaning namely symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics and synoptic can improve strategic planning and give us better schools. <br />Introduction<br />The Realms of Meaning is a philosophy for selecting the curriculum for general education. The organizational core of any school is its instruction. The curriculum and its broader objectives is a critical topic in every planning cycle or strategic performance system. Long term strategic plans, action plans, strategic thinking or SWOT analysis must have issues of curriculum and instruction Planning is reflexive and implies that schools are more than just inert pawns in the hands of socioeconomic forces (Holmes, Wootten, Motion, Zorn, & Roper, 2005). Strategic planning in education must have as its primary goal student achievements. If this is so the approach in any strategic plan will be a unitary philosophy of the curriculum with a strategy for reference to the meaningful relationships to the other components of the curriculum. When this is the case, we right away have a postmodern understanding of what it means to give meaning to the human experience through a solid foundation established by the six patterns in the realms of meaning namely symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics and synoptics (Kritsonis & Watkins (2007).Since strategic planning in schools should command the attention of the curriculum then the strategic planning of the curriculum requires strategic and tactical decision making. With regards to the ordering of content, the relevant teaching materials should simplify learners’ task. The thinking should be - to making their modes of thought less transient while at the same time allowing them to actively assimilate pragmatically and constructively throughout their student centered adventure (Dolence, 2004). <br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to show the linkage between the Realms of Meaning and strategic planning and to show how symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics and synoptic has an under pinning value to the planning that is required for successful schools. <br /> <br />What is Strategic Planning?<br /> Strategic planning is a management instrument. As with any executive tool, it is used to help an institution does an improved job - to concentrate its energy; ensure that members of the organization are working toward the same goals; and to appraise and direct the organization in a changing environment. So, strategic planning is a disciplined effort to produce decisions and actions that shape and guide what a school is, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. Strategic planning has its complexities in terms of what it requires. It is aimed at an overall focus of the organization's resources on mutually preset planned quantifiable outcomes. Useful plans include an organization's entire resources and purpose so it must be developed calculatingly and attentively (McNamara, 2008).Strategic planning begins with strategic thinking. The difference is one is analysis and the other is synthesis. It is a constant, methodical thinking process that identifies a preferred future and strategies to bring it about by linking deliberate plans with medium and short term operating programs and budgeting controls. Planning is getting people involved in collecting high-quality information and using it to make intelligent decisions about the future. It is the navigator and roadmap to guide your team and board to make use of an assessable plan that will bring together the priorities and maximize the performance of your school. Basically, a school undertakes strategic planning to reiterate or fine-tune its mission – why it exists, what is its rationale, what it achieves now– and to concur on its vision – what it needs to be and achieve in the future. The reason is not to decide what ought to be done in the years ahead but to decide what must be done presently to make you the most excellent school. The real value of a Strategic Planning blueprint is more than just having an outline that guides prospective decisions although that is extremely important on its own. It’s also an effective all-inclusive approach to building harmony and inspiring support, laying out critical priorities for your Board and School Head who are charged with the execution of the plan, and channeling all your energies in one agreed path. Strategic planning is a continuous, organized practice that helps schools and districts to foresee and chart their annual and multi-year goals and activities by analyzing their system-specific strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities, as well as those of their community (Anderson & Kumari, 2008).<br />Strategic planning should be designed to enhance organizational and staff competences, capability and resources while facilitating results. Strategic planning involves ongoing activities whereby schools and districts: develop, implement, and evaluate programs and activities designed to meet their charge, goals, and student-related outcomes; track their needs, plans, and progress over time. Strategic planning should analyzes what programs, curricula, or interventions to add, remove, replace, or add-on to existing programs, while shaping when and how to make the mid-course changes to take full advantage of these programs. It anticipates and reacts to upcoming events that could impinge on them in their quest of educational merit. Strategic planning uses a systems approach to effecting the educational process emphasizing valuable and efficient data-based forecast and decision-making, personnel and resource development and management, monetary and technological reliability, and school and community integration. Plainly put, strategic planning determines where an organization is going over the next year or more, how it's going to get there and how it'll know if it got there or not. The hub of a strategic plan is usually on the whole organization, while the focal point of a business plan is more often than not on a particular service or program ( Gregory, 2007)There are a diversity of perspectives, models and contemporary advancements used in strategic planning. The way that a strategic plan is developed depends on the nature of the organization's leadership, culture of the organization, complexity of the organization's climate, size of the organization, and proficiency of the planners, etc. case in point, there are a variety of strategic planning models, including goals-based, issues-based, organic, scenario etc. Goals-based planning is maybe the most common and begin with focus on the organization's mission (and vision and/or values), objectives to work toward the mission, strategies to achieve the objectives or goals, and action planning -who will do what and by when (McNamara, 2008). Issues-based strategic planning begins by probing issues facing the organization, stratagem to address those concerns, and action plans. Organic strategic planning might start by articulating the organization's vision and ideals and then action plans to accomplish the vision while adhering to those values. Various planners have a preference for a particular approach to planning, e.g., appreciative inquiry. Plans are scoped to a year, three years, or five to ten years into the future. Some plans include only executive information and no action plans. Lastly, strategic planning is a school’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue its strategies, including its staff and students (McNamara, 2008).The best curriculum and the best staff development and campus safety programs is a must. Various business analysis techniques can be used in strategic planning, including SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats ) and in the wider educational business circle PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological analysis) or STEER analysis (Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors) and EPISTEL - Environment, Political, Informatics, Social, Technological, Economic and Legal ( Ronco, 2007).<br />What are the Benefits of Strategic Planning?<br />No school cannot know what it is doing and what it intends to do unless it often re- establishes and monitors its goals. Strategic planning enables people to manipulate the future. A number of trends that already strongly affect schools include; an aging population, an increasing proportion of minority students, and growing numbers of special interest groups competing for scarce public resources (Wirth, 2009).School officials must plan for shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science, and bilingual education, and they must prepare to accommodate rising numbers of Hispanic students, many of whom will not speak English. More students of all types will keep on coming from low socio economic status. These profound demographic changes will continue to reshape the nation and its schools in the coming decades. They make strategic planning particularly important and show why it must be done in unison with a strategy, plan and policy. Change is taking place at an extraordinary pace. Era and remoteness continue to be less and less significant due to fast growth of technological tools including the Internet.With no strategic planning, schools just drift, and are always reactive other than deliberate (Gregory, 2007).The benefit of creating vision and direction that is simple and clear gets your primary targets- the students; closer to the achievement outcomes you seek for them. That plan in essence is a good plan for it challenges assumptions, and is created with input from sources inside and outside the school. It attracts commitment and accountability and it become part of the culture to reflect changes in the environment. It allows you to communicate effectively using different medium and in terms that connect individuals and their roles to the vision and success. Too often communication is done half way. We tell and ask and suggest and advise but don’t test for understanding. To close the loop, build in ways to test for employee, at every level an area within an organization, understanding of the vision and strategy (Mogavero, & Lake, 2006). When you merge a good strategic plan and great implementation a school will transform. The result will be school with the curriculum at its core, accountability to especially its students. Other benefits of good planning are great execution; Better reasoned decisions, Better Solutions and Greater opportunities for rather than chances of success! While it may seem daunting at first, the good news is there are solutions to most any of the challenges leaders face when creating a vision, school values and a strategic plan. Strategy can be simple. Just focus totally on a student centered environment. Don’t try to run a business for no value can be placed on students well prepared for post secondary success. At some point in the strategic planning process (sometimes in the activity of setting the strategic direction), planners usually identify or update what might be called the strategic philosophy. This includes identifying or updating the organization's mission, vision and/or values statements. Mission statements are brief written descriptions of the purpose of the organization. Mission statements vary in nature from very brief to quite comprehensive, and including having a specific purpose statement that is part of the overall mission statement. Your campus improvement plan must include specifying responsibilities and timelines with each objective, or who needs to do what and by when. It should also include methods to monitor and evaluate the plan, mainly student progress which includes knowing how the organization will know who has done what and by when. <br />How are the Realms of Meaning Relevant and Applicable to the Strategic Planning? <br />Symbolics<br />The first realm symbolics consists of ordinary language, mathematics, and non-discursive symbolic forms. The underpinning of education can be found in the symbolics realm. Reason and reality concerning all things is defined by and has its essence in Language. Effective communication is most critical to strategic planning because since it focuses on the curriculum as being the inner hub of the instructional core, and since the curriculum is subject to being and rightly so a unitary philosophy within the strategic plan then symbolics represent a very fundamental foundation underpinning the path to every thing else. Symbolics is even postmodern in its congruency to planning cycle, strategic performance system, long range strategic plan, action plan, strategic thinking and SWOT analysis, these issues being critical to the success of the process. Symbolics encompasses the other constructs included in empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, and ethics and synoptic so you also get analytic abstraction, comprehensive integrativeness and reinforcement from multiple interpretations in looking at the contributions, data and ideas that you get from your staff in developing it using the all inclusive approach. The integrity and moral meanings of the strategic plan is also revealed (Kritsonis, 2007).<br /> The realms of meaning can assess the planning, implementation and amendments of the strategic plan right along the continuum for the life cycle of that plan. Language allows knowledge to be conveyed and received. Non discursive ordinary language is one of the building blocks of the educational process. Strategic planning is a management tool. The language of the strategic plan and its components sharpens this tool expressly to produce disciplined effort towards decisions and actions that shape what a school is, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future.<br />Empirics<br />Empirics are the second realm of meaning, dealing with facts. This realm includes the sciences of the physical world, of living things, and of man (Kritsonis 2007, p. 12). Empirics describe factual descriptions, mathematical generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations (Kritsonis 2007, p. 12). “The theoretical formulations and explanations are based upon observation and testing in the world of matter, life, mind and society” (Kritsonis 2007, p. 12). Strategic planning begins with strategic thinking. In that statement lays both analysis and synthesis. The methodical thinking process required for strategic planning therefore is grounded in empirics.<br />The linking of deliberate plans with medium and short term operating programs, budgeting controls, and fiscal prudence has deep empirical meanings requiring mathematics for their expression. To know a skill is to be able to put together valid general description of matters of fact (Kritsonis, 2006), but a Meta analytic process is needed to communicate rationales, vision and goals at the leadership level since outcomes are directly tied to tax-based resources. Fiscal management requires disciplined logical thought. The facts of empirics are framed in accordance with rules of evidence and verification (Kritsonis, 2007, p.12). <br /> <br />Esthetics<br />You can in all things demonstrate the beauty and usefulness of Esthetics. Esthetics appeals to knowledge of a singular particular form (Kritsonis 2007, p 273). A beautiful vision that inspires, a flawless inclusion climate, enhanced organizational and staff competences, programs and activities designed to meet their charge, goals, and student-related outcomes; valuable and efficient data-based forecast and decision-making; personnel and resource development and management, monetary and technological reliability; and good school and community integration are all beautiful enrichments like music to the ear that deepens esthetic insight.<br />Synnoetics<br />Synnoetics signifies relational insight or direct awareness (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 12). Strategic planning uses a systems approach to affecting the educational process emphasizing valuable and efficient data-based forecast and decision-making. That awareness sets the stage for us of a diversity of perspectives, models and contemporary advancements used in strategic planning. The way that a strategic plan is developed depends on the nature of the organization's leadership, culture proficiency of the organization and the complexity of the school as social system (Gregory, 2007).<br />Ethics<br />The relationship between individuals and conflict resolution in school is a sore point in many schools. Ethics is the fifth realm, and should be the foundation of our personal conduct and free conscience. Professionals and leaders often resort solutions inconsistent with integrity, professionalism ethics and dignity as exampled by the rubber room experiences of hundreds of New York teachers. Without strategic planning, schools just drift. When that happens and with the subsequent potential effect on the learners, I think its unethical. Internal code of conducts not explicitly written in a strategic plan should always guide operational plan. Professional development for staff should be reflected in the strategic plan. <br />Synoptics<br />Synoptics is a term that comprises meanings having an integrative function, uniting meanings from all the realms into a unified perspective (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 479). . Faith can be a reservoir of strength to draw upon when difficulties arise. Strategic planning is also about <br />essential decisions and actions, but it does not make future decisions. Strategic planning involves anticipating the eventual environment, but the decisions are made in the now. This means that over time, the school must stay abreast of changes in order to make the best decisions it can at any time- it must manage, as well as plan, strategically. <br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, strategic planning through the lens of the realms of meaning can be used to determine mission, vision, values, goals, objectives, roles, responsibilities and timelines. Strategic planning has also been described as a tool - but it is not a substitute for the exercise of judgment by leadership. Strategic planning, though described as disciplined, does not typically flow smoothly from one step to the next. It is a creative process, and the fresh insight arrived at today might very well alter the decisions made before. Symbolics empowers to communicate effectively. Empirics, provide mathematical soundness to decisions; esthetics, promote the beauty in accuracy; the fourth realm, synnoetics, embraces relational knowledge. Ethics, gives moral meaning that expresses awareness of fairness and success without question. This means you self evaluate honestly and you evaluate your strategic plan outcomes truthfully. The sixth realm, synoptics, refers to meanings that are comprehensively integrative. All these are relevant to a successful strategic plan. <br />References<br />Anderson, S.; & Kumari, R. (2008). Continuous improvement in schools: Understanding the practice: References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, Canada Received 07/23/09 from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob<br />Dolence, M. G. (2004). The curriculum centered strategic planning model: Center for applied research. Research bulletin Vol. 2004 Issue No. 10Received 07/23/09 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB0410.pdf<br />Gregory A.J. (2007). A systems approach to strategic management: Centre for Systems Studies, Business School, University of Hull, UK<br />Received 07/23/09 from http://journals.isss.org/index.php/proceedings51st/article/viewFile<br />Holmes, P.; Cockburn-Wootten, C.; Motion, J.; Zorn, E.T.; & Roper, J. (2005) Critical reflexive practice in teaching management communication. Business communication quarterly, 68 (2), 247-257. Received 07/23/09 from http://www.nipissingu.ca/oar/PDFS/V812E.pdf<br />Kritsonis, W.A. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of Meaning: A philosophy for selecting the curriculum for general education. Mansfield, OH: Book Masters.<br />McNamara, C. (2008). Strategic planning (in nonprofit or for-profit organizations): Authenticity Consulting 2008. Received 07 /27/08 fromhttp://managementhelp.org/plan_dec/str_plan/str_plan.htm<br />Mogavero, M. A. & Lake E. (2006). Collaborative strategic planning in a student-centered university: 2006 NCCI – Annual conference Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Received 07 /27/08 from http:// www.ncci-cu.org<br />Ronco, S. L. 2007. Start your planning with a SWOT: Institutional effectiveness & analysis. Florida Atlantic University. Received 07 / 24/09 from http://iea.fau.edu/inst/sair05.doc<br />Watkins D. & Kritsonis W. A. 2008 Developing and designing an effective school curriculum: Enhancing student achievement based on an integrated curriculum model and the ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. National Forums Journal Volume 2 No 1, 2008 Received 07/23/09 from http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Watkins,<br />Wirth, RA. 2009. Benefits of Strategic Planning. Received 07/23/09 from http://www.entarga.com/stratplan/plngbenefits.htm<br />A Systems Approach to Comprehensive School Reform: Using the Realms of Meaning and the Baldridge Model as a Systems Framework<br />Sheri L. Miller-Williams<br />PhD Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Director of Leadership<br />Houston A+ Challenge<br />Houston, Texas <br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor and Faculty Member<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />Visiting Lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Roundtable<br />University of Oxford, Oxford England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />Central Washington University<br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />ABSTRACT<br />A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, and interdependent components that form a complex and unified whole. Systems’ thinking is a way of understanding reality that emphasizes the relationships among systems parts, rather than the parts themselves. Based on a field of study known as system dynamics, systems’ thinking has a practical value that rests on a solid theoretical foundation (Pegasus Communications, 2009). This study explores how the six realms of meaning coupled with the Baldridge model create a framework for comprehensive school reform. <br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to introduce the concept of systems thinking and suggest two frameworks that could work to support comprehensive school reform. <br />An Introduction to Systems Thinking<br />Systems’ thinking is a viewpoint that helps organizations view events and patterns in a new light—and respond to them in advanced ways. As a language, systems’ thinking has unique qualities that help organizations communicate about its many systems. Systems’ thinking emphasizes wholes rather than parts, and stresses the role of interconnections—including the role we each play in the systems at work in our lives. It also emphasizes circular feedback rather than linear cause and effect (Pegasus Communications, 2009). In today’s schools, leaders have to operate in the realm of unknown circumstances massive complexities. Today’s leader has to employ a different way of thinking about their organizations and ways to handle the challenges they face. <br />It is inadequate and often counterproductive for leaders merely to act as good workings in the machine (Reed, 2006). Leaders have to ensure that there is a process by which the engine works as well. Leaders perform a valuable service when they discern that a venerated system or process has outlived its usefulness, or that it is operating as originally designed but against the organization’s overall purpose. Sometimes leaders forget that systems are created by people, based on an idea about what should happen at a given point in time (Reed, 2006). <br />Sociologist Robert K. Merton coined the term “goal displacement” to describe what happens when complying with bureaucratic processes becomes the objective rather than focusing on organizational goals and values ( Reed, 2006). When there is a lack of systems, organizations tend to take on a life of their own leading to additional dysfunction and a lack of order. Because of their experience and position, leaders are invested with the authority to intervene and correct or abandon malfunctioning systems. At the very least, they can advocate for change in a way that those with less positional authority cannot. Leaders at all levels should, therefore, be alert to systems that drive human behavior inimical to organizational effectiveness (Reed, 2006). Leaders therefore need to see the parts along with the whole. <br />In her book Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives (1997), Mary Jo Hatch provides an introduction to general systems theory that is useful in thinking about organizations. She makes a point worthy of repeating: the language of simple machines creates blind spots when used as a metaphor for human or social systems; human systems are infinitely more complex and dynamic. In other words, it can be counterproductive to treat a complex dynamic social system like a simple machine (Reed, 2006). <br />Systems, like the human body, have parts, and the parts affect the performance of the whole. All of the parts are interdependent. The liver interacts with and affects other internal organs—the brain, heart, kidneys, etc. You can study the parts singly, but because of the interactions, it doesn’t make much practical sense to stop there. Understanding of the system cannot depend on analysis alone. The key to understanding is, therefore, synthesis (Reed, 2006). The systems approach calls for the leader to identify a system; some of which are simple while others are complex. Leaders must also continuously focus on the whole rather than its parts. The systems thinker retains focus on the overall system, and the analysis of the outcomes. <br />Systems’ thinking is a holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system's constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems. The systems thinking approach contrasts with traditional analysis, which studies systems by breaking them down into their separate elements. Systems thinking can be used in any area of research and has been applied to the study of medical, environmental, political, economic, human resources, and educational systems, among many others. According to systems thinking, system behavior results from the effects of reinforcing and balancing processes. A reinforcing process leads to the increase of some system component. If reinforcement is unchecked by a balancing process, it eventually leads to collapse. A balancing process is one that tends to maintain equilibrium in a particular system (Pegasus Communications 2009). <br /> <br />What Is Comprehensive School Reform?<br />Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) centers on reorganization and rejuvenation of schools, as opposed to implementing a certain number of focused, and potentially uncoordinated, school improvement initiatives. Generally, CSR efforts have targeted schools most in need of reform and improvement. Most often schools that engage in CRS are high-poverty schools with low student test scores. According to recent data from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), schools receiving money to implement CSR models through the CSRP have an average poverty rate of 70%. Further, nearly 40% of schools receiving CSRP funds were identified for school improvement under Title I regulations and more than 25% were identified as low-performing schools by state or local policies (SEDL, 2009). The Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, which also aims to expand and improve educational opportunities in the nation’s high-poverty schools, has also provided a wealth of funding for CSR efforts. <br />The U.S. Department of Education frames CSR around eleven distinct components that, when coherently implemented, represents a “comprehensive” and “scientifically based” approach to school reform. Specifically, a CSR program must: <br />Employ proven methods for student learning, teaching, and school management that are<br />grounded in scientifically based research and effective practices, that have been replicated successfully in schools;<br />Integrate instruction, assessment, classroom management, professional development, parental involvement, and school management;<br />Provide high-quality and continuous teacher and staff professional development and training;<br />Include measurable goals for student academic achievement and establishes benchmarks for meeting those goals;<br />Is supported by teachers, principals, administrators, and other staff throughout the school;<br />Provide support for teachers, principals, administrators, and other school staff by creating<br />shared leadership and a broad base of responsibility for reform efforts;<br />Provide for the meaningful involvement of parents and the local community in planning,<br />implementing, and evaluating school improvement activities;<br />Use high-quality external technical support and assistance from an entity that has<br />experience and expertise in school wide reform and improvement, which may include an institution of higher education;<br />Include a plan for the annual evaluation of the implementation of the school reforms and<br />the student results achieved;<br />Identify federal, state, local, and private financial and other resources available that<br />schools can use to coordinate services that support and sustain the school reform effort; and<br />Meet one of the following requirements: the program has been found, through<br />scientifically based research, to significantly improve the academic achievement of participating students; or the program has been found to have strong evidence that it will significantly improve the academic achievement of participating children (U.S. Department of Education/Comprehensive School Reform Guidance, p.5).<br />Strategic Planning: Through a Post Modernistic Systems Thinking Lens<br />Strategic planning determines where an organization is going over the next year or more and how it's going to get there. Once a leader sees the organization through a systems lens, strategic planning will take on new meaning. Typically, the systems thinking process is organization-wide, or focused on a major function such as a division, department or other major function. Most school board members and district administrators instinctively like the idea of strategic planning. Many districts, however, have no real understanding of what it is and what it requires. Strategic planning, writes William Cook, Jr. (Eric Digest Series, 1988):<br />"Is aimed at total concentration of the organization's resources on mutually predetermined measurable outcomes. An effective plan, by this definition, encompasses an organization's entire resources and purpose”. <br />It must be constructed deliberately and thoughtfully (Peterson, 1989). Strategic planning enables people to influence the future. The very act of planning implies that schools are more than passive pawns in the hands of socioeconomic forces. <br />A strategic plan often begins with a mission statement. Most districts and schools also build in the vision statement to support the direction of the organization. Both the mission and vision process serve as the pillars of school or district-wide systemic change. The strategic plan also summarizes the district's purpose and operations, what it wants to accomplish, and what it does. It is recommended that schools and districts participating in the strategic planning process identify major trends affecting the organization as a foundation to launching the strategic planning process. Thomas Hart (1988) recommends using several small groups to begin the planning process. Within these groups participants discuss, combine, and rank their goals for the district. Representatives from each group report to the larger body so that everyone shares a sense of cohesion and consensus. Once the planning group enjoys a degree of consensus, it can release its goals to subcommittees that formulate objectives for each goal. They should specify when the task is to be completed and who is responsible for completing it. <br />Strategic plans are typically comprehensive. In schools today, almost all principals have to lead their school teams through the process of creating campus improvement plans, which have become a spin-off the strategic planning. These plans generally include everything essential to a district's or schools’ mission. Strategic planning typically includes several major activities or steps in the process. Different people often have different names for these major activities. There are several post modernistic ways of conducting strategic planning activities: strategic analysis, setting strategic direction and action planning. Strategic analysis includes a scan or review of the overall environment of the organization. This can include elements of the environment including demographics, changes in social and economic forces, etc. Within this activity there is also an assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; also known as a SWOT analysis. <br />Another activity related to challenging the way in which organizations plan is the setting strategic direction activity. This activity includes assessing the state of the organization including the major issues and opportunities. From that, the organization is ready to set strategic goals and strategies to achieve those goals. Within this process, goals meet the following criteria: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This process is also known as establishing SMART goals. <br />The final activity related to strategic planning is action planning. Action planning involves how the goals established will be accomplished. This process involves specific objectives and results the organizations seeks to accomplish. When establishing an objective, the method is established defining how the organization will succeed. The final stage to action planning involves establishing whose responsible and specific timelines to measure progress against the goals. Systems for monitoring and evaluation are also established during this activity. <br />The Baldridge Model: Applying the Realms of Meaning to the Strategic Planning and the Systems Thinking Process<br />Baldridge is a process of continuous improvement that has been used in business. Named after former Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge, the Baldridge criteria is a blueprint for developing quality business practices. In 1998, the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award was expanded into healthcare and education and an education application of Baldridge was developed called BIE (Baldridge in Education.). BiE incorporates Baldridge criteria into a framework through which local stakeholders and communities assume leadership in transforming their own education systems. It enables them to improve overall school effectiveness, use of resources and capabilities. It provides a blueprint for administrators, school boards, union leaders, businesses, teachers, parents and students to collectively take responsibility for implementing their own improvement efforts. The basic purposes of Baldridge include: helping improve education performance practices, providing basis for self-assessment and a process for continuous improvement feedback, facilitating communication and sharing of best practices within/among educational institutions- state departments of education, districts, schools and classrooms, fostering partnerships across sectors, and serving as a tool for improving education performance, planning, training and organizational assessment. The Baldridge model ((National Association of Elementary School Principals, 2006), is broken into seven categories:<br />Organizational/Visionary Leadership <br />Strategic Goals and Measures <br />Customer Requirements (Student and Stakeholder Focus) <br />Information and Analysis <br />Human Resource Focus <br />Process Management <br />School Results/Learner-Centered Education <br />The Six Realms as a Fundamental Framework for Systems Thinking & Strategic Planning Using the Baldridge Framework<br />Understanding the modes of human understanding using the six realms of meaning offers a guide to improving organizational effectiveness and offers a strong opportunity to increase student achievement in schools across the country. These six patterns are designated as: symbolics, empirics, esthetics, synnoetics, ethics, and synoptics. Each realm of meaning and each of its constituent sub realms may be described by reference to its typical methods, leading ideas, and characteristic structures (Kritsonis, 2007). <br />Symbolics: The Language of Planning <br />The first realm, symbolics, comprises ordinary language, mathematics and various types of nondicursive symbolic forms, such as gestures rituals, rhythmic patterns, and the like (Kritsonis, 2007). Principals who use the art of symbolics as a means of communicating their expectations, establishing rituals and patterns, and using the power of language have the ability to effectively move their campuses forward. In recent years, principals have begun to establish leadership teams; a core group of personnel who work to support the principal’s agenda. Members of these teams lead other teams within the school, and generally the symbolic nature of the principal using those around him/her works to move the school forward.<br />Empirics: Knowledge as a Strategic Approach<br /> The second realm, empirics, includes the sciences of the physical world, of living things, and of man. These sciences provide factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations that are based upon observation and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind, and society (Kritsonis, 2007). Through an understanding of empirics, principals are able to engage their stakeholders in the need to systematically change the way in which school reform efforts will impact the school as a whole. Principals do this by focusing in the establishment of systems, processes, procedures, and structures that work to impact students. It matters not what one’s individual agendas are; as long as the principal can demonstrate a keen focus on the best solutions for students. It is equally as important for principals to arm their stakeholders with the knowledge, tools and resources need to empower change. <br />Esthetics: The Beauty in the Strategic Planning Process Focused on Learning-Centered Education & Organizational/Personal Learning<br /> <br />Esthetics, the third realm can be defined as the branch of philosophy dealing with beauty and taste (emphasizing the evaluative criteria that are applied to art). Esthetics contains the various arts, such as music, the visual arts, the art of movement, and literature (Kritsonis, 2007). Learning-Centered Education is where the focus of education is on learning and the real needs of students. The primary emphasis is on active student learning tailored to individual styles. Students are involved with self-assessment and chart personal progress. Organizational & Personal Learning is the continuous improvement of existing approaches and processes and adaptation to change. Learning is embedded in the organization and engages all faculty, and students as contributors and active participants. <br />Strategic planning is an art form. Principals must embrace and use the strategic planning process to provide stakeholders with a road-map for comprehensive school reform. It is only through the beauty of seeing a plan come to fruition and impact the lives of students, that the power of the work becomes real to those involved. Principals who have mastered this art generally have the most success in leading comprehensive school reform efforts. This explains why some principals are able to turn-around troubled schools, while others cannot. <br /> The Realm of Synnoetics: Valuing Relationships with Faculty, Staff, and Partners <br />Interpersonal skills, planning skills, instructional observation skills, skills in research and evaluation align with the fourth realm, synnoetics. Synnoetics embraces “personal knowledge” and signifies “relational insight” meaning having sympathy or feeling. This personal or relational knowledge is concrete, direct, and existential (Kritsonis, 2007). Valuing faculty, staff & partners is the practice of creating both internal and external partnerships that are learning-focused and accomplish overall goals. Mutual investments are made for the development of knowledge, capabilities, and motivation of faculty, staff, and students.<br />Interpersonal or people skills are essential for the success of being a principal. These skills maintain trust, spur motivation, give empowerment and enhance collegiality. Throughout the strategic planning process, promoting collegiality, sharing, cooperation and collaboration, are essential. Planning with clear identification of goals or vision to work towards as well as induce commitment and enthusiasm, and continual assessment of what changes need to occur.<br />Ethics: The Moral Barometer or Organizational Development<br />The fifth realm, ethics includes moral meanings that express obligation rather than fact, perceptual form, or awareness of relation (Kritsonis, 2007). A list of competencies for principals recommended by a National Association of Secondary School Principals' task force includes problem analysis, organizational ability, decisiveness, effective communication skills, and stress tolerance. NASSP has developed a statement of ethics for a principal that recognizes their important professional leadership role in the school and community. It states: <br />“Principals must articulate a vision and values that they can use to transform or revitalize a school's atmosphere, according to the Office of Educational Research and Improvement's Principal Selection Guide (1987, p.11). <br />They should be determined, creative, and enthusiastic--willing and able to confront problems and seek out opportunities to inspire their school communities toward beneficial change”. This growth needs to occur, Richard DuFour and Robert Eaker (1987) state, through empowerment rather than coercion, by "delegating, stretching the ability of others and encouraging educated risk." The principal must be the catalyst and champion of school improvement. <br />Synoptics: Visionary Leadership and Revealing Choices to All Stakeholders<br />The sixth realm synoptics refers to meanings that are comprehensively integrative. Historical interpretation comprises an artful re-creation of the past, in obedience to factual evidence, for the purpose of revealing what man by his deliberate choices has made of himself within the context of his given circumstances (Kritsonis, 2007). In order to ensure that schools can focus on systematic improvement, principals must arm their stakeholders with choices through empowerment. In regards to the artful recreation of the past, and obedience to factual evidence, principals need to prevent fragmentation and conflict, and focus on avenues for coherence, evaluation and improvement.<br />Visionary Leadership is setting and communicating clear and visible directions, and high expectations in a student-focused, learning-centered climate. There is a visible commitment to continuous improvement and modeling of continuous improvement principles and practices.<br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, both the Realms of Meaning and the Baldridge Model provide a structured model for performance excellence. The Baldrige criteria are generally used as a framework for understanding, evaluating, and improving their businesses or schools. Without a framework schools will continue to find comprehensive school reform difficult to achieve. Both the six realms of meaning and the Baldridge approach provide an avenue to look at school reform holistically.<br />References<br />Cook, W. J., Jr. (1988). Bill Cook’s strategic planning for America’s schools. <br />Arlington, Virginia: American Association of School Administrators. <br />DuFour, R., and Eaker R. (1987, September). "The principal as leader: Two major <br />responsibilities." NASSP BULLETIN 71, (500):80-89. <br />Hart, T. E. (1997). Long-range planning: School districts prepare for the future. Eugene, <br />Oregon: Oregon School Study Council, Eugene, Oregon. OSSC Bulletin Series. <br />Hatch, M. J. (1997). Organizational theory. Oxford University Press.<br />Kritsonis, W. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Houston, TX: National <br />Forum Press.<br />What is systems thinking? HYPERLINK "http://www.pegasuscom.com/systems-thinking.html. <br />Retrieved July 4" Retrieved July 4, 2009 Pegasus Communications Website: <br />http://www.pegasuscom.com/systems-thinking.html <br />Peterson, D. (1989). Strategic Planning. ERIC Digest Website: Retrieved July 4, 2009. <br />http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9213/planning.htm.<br />Reed, George (2006). Leadership and systems thinking. Defense AT&L Website: Retrieved July <br />4, 2009. http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/dau/dau/ree_mj06.pdf. <br />Southwest Educational Development Laboratory Website: HYPERLINK "http://www.sedl.org/csrd/awards.html<br /> Retrieved July 4" Retrieved July 4, 2009.<br />http://www.sedl.org/csrd/awards.html. <br />U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved July 4, 2009. Comprehensive school reform (CSR) <br />Program Guidance Website:<br /> tth://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/compreform/guidance2000.html. <br />The Virtues of Postmodernism electrified with the use of the Six Realms of Meaning and Strategic Planning<br />Simone A. Gardiner<br />Ph.D. Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A & M University<br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor and Faculty Mentor<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Prairie View A & M University<br />Member of the Texas A & M University System<br />Visiting Lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />Central Washington University<br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />ABSTRACT<br />The purpose of this article is to examine how Postmodernism and the Six Realms of Meaning authored by Dr. William Kritsonis can be implemented in our schools with strategic planning. These authors have conceptualized the following six realms of meanings: Symbolics, Empirics, Esthetics, Synnoetics, Ethics, and Synoptics. My attempt is to apply these to Post modernistic perspectives. These terms, and assumptions have penetrated the core of American culture over the past decades. Postmodernism primary significance is its power to account for and reflect vast changes in our society, cultures, education and economy as we move from a production to a consumption society. Postmodernism has captured our interest because it involves a stunning critique of modernism, the foundation upon which our think and matriculate at different institutions of learning.<br />Introduction<br />In today’s world Postmodernism can be viewed as a response to the preceding modernist movement where modernism simply reacts against classical concepts. Postmodernism is not just a philosophical movement: it is found in architecture, the graphic arts, dance, music, literature, and literary theory. As a general cultural phenomenon, it has such features as the challenging of convention, the mixing of styles, tolerance of ambiguity, the emphasis on diversity, acceptance of innovation and change, and stress on the contractedness’ of reality. Postmodernism is often seen by its proponents as bringing an end to metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, and so forth, on the ground that these types of discourse assume a fixed, universal reality and method of inquiry. Strategic planning is a powerful tool to provide a focus for the few key things that an organization or institution must do in the next few years. Strategic planning must also be able to add value to the activities of that organization or institution.<br />Purpose of the Article<br />The purpose of this article is to discuss how Postmodernism and the Realms of Meaning concepts can be implemented in students learning with the use of strategic planning. It will explore “Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning” by Dr. William A. Kritsonis (2007) and postmodern challenges according to Dr. Fenwick W. English. The emphasis will be on exploring postmodern views with the use of Symbolics, Empirics, Esthetics, Synnoetics, Ethics, and Synoptics. The concentration will be on how the educational institute students can benefit from fostering this hierarchy of modern change and structure of learning with a higher level of learning and planning strategically.<br />In the Eyes of Postmodernism <br />The main word when trying to understand postmodern education is constructivism. Constructivism is the main underlying learning theory in postmodern education. The basic idea is that all knowledge is invented or "constructed" in the minds of people. Knowledge is not discovered as modernists would claim. In other words, the ideas teachers teach and students learn do not correspond to "Reality," they are merely human constructions. Knowledge, ideas and language are created by people, not because they are "true," but rather because they are useful. <br /> Postmodern perspectives, terms, and assumptions have penetrated the core of American culture over the past decades. Postmodernism's primary significance is its power to account for and reflect vast changes in our society, cultures, education and economy as we move from a production to a consumption society. Postmodernism has captured our interest because it involves a stunning critique of modernism, the foundation upon which our thinking and our institutions have rested. Today, postmodernist institutions are increasingly viewed as inadequate, pernicious, and costly. Postmodernists attack the validity and legitimacy of the most basic assumptions of modernism. Because higher education is quintessentially a modern institution, attacks on modernism are attacks on the higher education system as it is now constituted.<br />Postmodernism has become the orthodoxy in educational theory, particularly in feminist educational theory. It heralds the end of grand theories like Marxism and liberalism, scorning any notion of a united feminist challenge to patriarchy, of united anti-racist struggle and of united working-class movements against capitalist exploitation and oppression. In essence, the concept of postmodernism is that there is logical historical connection with existentialism which essentially brought to light in literature and philosophy a realization of the meaningfulness of modern life.<br />The postmodern take on things is that all 'certain' meaning which can be proposed from history, or science or other methods of knowledge, can be shown to not be 'certain', but instead to have come about through the biased construction of certain individuals, groups, governments, and educational institutions. Postmodern may seem scary to people who feel like their sense of certainty is built on concrete, but philosophically that may turn into a different assumption .Few people are able to retain a high level of consciousness in postmodern thinking because it is not paired with a strength of will for constructing new meaning that goes beyond the corrosive power of postmodernism. Post-modernism challenges modernist dependency on reason, uniformity, and grand theories (meta-narratives), which provide umbrella explanations of phenomena and events. Post-modernism questions the progression towards certainty and clear unambiguous reasoning. It welcomes diversity, variety, multiple interpretations of phenomena and multiple strategies.<br /> Implementing the Realms with Postmodernism Strategies<br />The first realm, symbolics, comprises ordinary language, mathematics and various types of nondiscursive symbolic forms, such as gestures, rituals, rhythmic patterns, and the like. These meanings are contained in arbitrary symbolic structures, with socially accepted rules of formation and transformation (Kritsonis, 2007, p.11).Ordinary language uses communication, everyday speech, writing and knowledge. In the postmodernism world true language is more concerned with power because this theory embraces both the structure of its language, and its ability to describe things in order to communicate and influence others (English, 2003, p. 15) <br />In examining language the postmodernist rationality towards “meaning” as well as how it is seen in the realms symbolics subjectively they are essentially integral patterns. The postmodernist example would be a red cloud has no particular meaning in weather systems; a red traffic signal does have a specific meaning within communication. Red means stop is purely contained within that notational communication system (English, 2003, p. 16) Therefore, in educational standards both Kritsonis (2007) and English (2003) have commonly grounds to confer that in some cases language can be theoretical. <br />Empirics, the second realm, includes the science of physical world, of living things, and of man. It provides factual descriptions, generalizations, and theoretical formulations and explanations that are based upon observation and experimentation in the world of matter, life, mind and society (Kritsonis, 2007, pg. 12). Science is concerned with matters of fact, different abstractions and assessments. In postmodernism science is simply a language game, a set of rules governed by linguistic habits that use non-scientific metanarratives to justify and legitimize larger social context (English, 2003, pg 13). <br />Postmodernist prospective is that science in education has to be real especially finding the theoretical framework which grasps students to fully comprehend in-depth science and its real meaning. Therefore, administrators should be able to use lessons which are strategically planned to incorporate the models of postmodernist and empirics to replace the metaphor dominant in education to vocally train those teachers to be effective individuals that will allow demands to take precedence over actions that requires improving the educational productivity of students.<br />The third realm esthetics, contains the various arts, such as music, the visual arts, the arts of movement, and literature (Kritsonis 2007, p.12). In this realm, meanings “are concerned with the contemplative perception of particular significant things as unique objectifications of ideated subjectivities”(Kritsonis 2007, p. 12). Teaching music offers many classes of satisfaction to students as well as adults. Usually a teacher can work with learners of all cultures & ages experience the thrill of sharing thoughts and feelings with others and seeing others learn is so important in esthetics. Esthetics can help educators and administrators expose those children who are not able to grasp things easily; but, with the use of visual art, movements and music then the patterns of sounds or art will be better able to direct them with a better foundation of comprehension. <br />The postmodernist view is that leaders in schools must envision “actors” who occupy organizations and engage in social processes (English, 2003, pg 28). In this 21st century, educational administrators will have to use strategic planning to change their leadership style in order to have schools shifted to a positive sense of value that will impact significant school improvement and the perceptions that teach children the arts will help them achieve a well rounded education.<br />Synnoetics the fourth realm examines and embraces what Michael Polanyi calls “personal knowledge” and Martin Buber the “I-Thou” relation” (Kritsonis 2007, p. 12). Synnoetics signifies “relational insight” or direct awareness.” Personal or relational knowledge is concrete, direct, and existential (Kritsonis 2007, p. 12). In examining the knowledge strategies of school administrators and teachers in schools to acquire and use information for decision making in various areas of school development, emphasis on personal knowledge strategies of school administrators and teachers are highly correlated to the perception of positive knowledge for safer environments in the school systems. It is quantifiable and supremely to state that personal strategies also tend to influence the knowledge culture within schools. School administrators and leaders can center personal strategies that can maneuver the way students and staff seeks and tolerates new knowledge, and how ideas are valued and used. Educational administrators and leaders should establish higher levels of personal knowledge strategies which will also likely result in a stronger belief in the quality process of decision making in schools. The knowledge strategies are not an exhaustive list but school leaders need to cultivate competent knowledge strategies amongst their staff members to consolidate the knowledge culture in schools. According to (English, 2003, pg 28), the state’s role in education has evolved slowly since the nineteenth century. At the time state involvement in education focused on creating local districts, academic requirements and compulsory education. It is evidently a pattern that administrators should critically identify the need to actively create a school environment that enables teachers to actively and intensively utilize the information to create new knowledge and enhance the knowledge and information culture in their schools. <br />Ethics the fifth realm of meaning “includes moral meanings that express obligation rather than fact, perceptual form, or wariness of relation”(Kritsonis, 2007, p. 13). Ethics “is a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions, the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of life” (Rand, 1964, p. 13). Right and wrong are deliberate actions and moral choices made by an individual have “both personal and impersonal elements” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 438). According to Kritsonis he states “ethics is everyone’s business”, I must state I am in agreement with him. English looks at the school administrator as an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by facilitating the development and stewardship of a vision (English 2003, pg. 103). Rand alludes to ethics as a code which is based on and derived from a metaphysics that is from a theory about the fundamental nature of the universe in which man lives and acts. (Rand 1964, p. 55). <br /> In examining the concept of ethics from the postmodernist view point, it is the education administrators’ responsibility to ensure that the rationality as it relates to ethics should be integrated within the educational system. It is only agreeable that educational leaders should promote the success of all students in an ethical manner and collaborate with families and community members. On the surface, it appears that educational administrators should ensure a measureable value to the humanistic orientation and the rhetoric of education in making the elicit responses ranging from doing things right.<br />Synoptics the sixth realm of meaning which refers to meanings that is comprehensively integrative. This realm includes history, religion, and philosophy (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 130). In the synoptic realm history, religion, and philosophy can be an overall learning plan for student academic achievement and success. <br />Educational administrators and leaders must expand learning for students in the synoptic realm, as this will challenge their students to read and study more in-depth philosophy, religion, and history as it affect their world. Bloom’ taxonomy can also be used by administrator and leaders as a foundation of the principle in focusing on the fundamental disciplines in education. The postmodernist approach towards the educational leaders focuses on insisting that education is absolutely necessary in order to remain innovative and competitive in this increasingly global economy.<br />Strategic Planning and Postmodernism in Schools<br />Postmodernism transcend learning and instructional design as a process that exists in a world of rapid innovation and increasingly unclear and quickly shifting social and cultural boundaries. Counter dependent on objectivity and efficiency are less easy to generalize across multiple settings. Postmodernism holds that particular group; efficiency-minded, scientific and historically controlled by not only access to knowledge, but also the standards by which knowledge is considered valuable or legitimate in our schools today. <br />Education has a crucial role to play in the struggle for a future where postmodernism, social, economic and political options are the domination of its value-form. Postmodernism is an obstacle to the formation of open and radical perspectives which challenge administrators and leaders in our schools inequalities as the deepening of the rule for all areas of the embedded ideas and paradigms. Postmodernism has derived and assumed the modern permeates of an educational theory; modes of ‘reflective’ teacher practice and postmodern educational research methods which the schools can strategically plan and engage success which can be embraced regardless of the dilemma school boards may have. Strategic planning poses a particular challenge to those viewing education as a resource for social equality and democracy.<br />In order for administrators and leaders to implement a full understanding the programs and guides that are offered as a comprehensive approach for creating, organizing, and implementing a strategic plan will provide step-by-step advice, case studies, and exercises for producing a successful plan, whether for an institutional or a particular school system review. The guide administrators or leaders will design specifically for their schools will interlock cognizant of the formidable challenges of strategic planning in an environment with myriad communication and modernism references.<br />In today’s schools, educational administrators will have to monopolize guiding the process, and bringing the plan’s and goals to fruition as a strategic plan. Emphasis will be on key strategies for effective leadership, communication, and assessment throughout planning phases. Educational administrators will have to reviewing the guiding mission principles as a useful reference point for planning, especially when determining how to allocate resources and measure students’ achievements.<br />The resulting system of educational administrators identifying critical stakeholders, with particular attention to their expectations for the plan’s to development and be implemented is the underlying grounds of postmodern perspectives so school improvement strategies will work. It is the responsibility of the educational administrator to examine the cultural issues, resource concerns, and other factors that may impinge on the planning process.<br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, an integrated model based on the Strategic Planning and Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007), as in examining postmodernism (English 2003) is an aspect of seeing the many challenges that the educational system meets. By utilizing and applying the strategies and framework set forth by both English and Kritsonis it is evident that educator administrators will be able to structure a learning environment that should be integrating in a post modernistic pattern.<br />All students have the potential to learn regardless of their situation as educators the post modernistic models can be arbitrary in the educational communities as student will be able to have the opportunity to learn in theoretical dimension.<br />Reference<br />English, F. (2003). The postmodern challenge to the theory and practice of educational administration. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas – Publisher, LTD.<br />Kritsonis, W. A. (2007). Ways of knowing through the realms of meaning. Houston, Texas National Forum Journal<br />Rand, A. (1964). The virtues of selfishness. New York: Penguin Putnam<br />Strategic Excellence through the Empowerment of Postmodernism and Realms of Meaning<br />Demetria Diggs<br />PhD Student in Educational Leadership<br />College of Education<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Principal Intern<br />Houston A+Challenge in Consociation with Holland Middle School<br />Houston Independent School District<br />William Allan Kritsonis, PhD<br />Professor and Faculty Mentor<br />PhD Program in Educational Leadership<br />Prairie View A&M University<br />Member of the Texas A&M University System<br />Visiting Lecturer (2005)<br />Oxford Round Table<br />University of Oxford, Oxford England<br />Distinguished Alumnus (2004)<br />Central Washington University<br />College of Education and Professional Studies<br />ABSTRACT<br />Schools have the liberty to thrive as a result of strategic planning emphasizing postmodern thinking. When educators put a plan in motion that is beneficial for their unique organization and acquire a state of mind which allows them to see education differently and work differently within an educational setting, students are the primary beneficiaries. We must understand that there is no one panacea to strategic planning or school reform. Educators and students do not benefit from a one size fits all approach. Astute educators understand the importance of multiple truths which instantaneously open educators to a myriad of success avenues. They accept differences within the organization, instructional strategies, and diverse student needs. They view educational truths from several perspectives in search of the best practices for students.<br />Introduction<br />Strategic planning has proven to be the threshold of paramount meaning to bring forth transformation in educational settings across the United States. Organizations move toward their desired status when those involved gain a clear and heightened awareness of where they function currently, where the organization is destined, and the strategies they will elect to embrace. “In a postmodern society, however, knowledge becomes functional--you learn things, not to know them, but to use that knowledge” (Klages 2007). Augmented by the six realms of meaning, organizational practices welcome exponential gains in efficacy and erudition on the part of the students, teachers, and administrators. The six realms of meaning will assuage the disappointment of mediocre views related to education whether in strategic planning, curriculum development or instructional delivery. The invaluable knowledge gained from the six realms of meaning provide educators with the tools necessary to put knowledge into practice in any aspect of the educational process. They are tools of culture, tools of significance, tools of intelligence.<br />Purpose<br />The purpose of this article is to apprise educators of how incorporating the six realms from the Ways of Knowing through the Realms of Meaning (Kritsonis, 2007), into school improvement and strategic plans to yield avant-garde results for all educational stakeholders. With a postmodern emphasis, the reader can acquire exceptional knowledge related to the six realms of meaning, and how ethics, synoptic, symbolics, esthetics, empirics and synnoetics can add the lifeblood to educational planning and learning. A successful organization is at minimum threefold in nature, where gains are on a continuum for students, teachers and administrators. <br />Building a Postmodern Mission using the Realm of Symbolics/Empirics in Urban Schools<br />An initial and imperative stage in the strategic planning process is to collaboratively develop a mission statement. This statement, comprised with boldness, serves as a symbolic declaration uniting the school community in its entirety, while understanding the diversity within. “The objective of using language is communication. Language is a binding force in society” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.116). Because this concise statement will tout, drive and merge the works of the professional learning community, the contributors must include language that empowers, embraces, and evokes Excellency. Student Excellency, teacher Excellency and leadership Excellency is the quest. “Through language, communities are created and sustained. The strongest motive for learning language is the primordial urge to belong to a community” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.116). <br />The creation of a mission statement is not an inconsequential endeavor. It is a calculated attempt to communicate and foster belonging for all despite differences in age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status etc. Postmodern theorist suggests that each distinct culture, comparable in value embody important realities. Minorities in urban schools must be provided with educational experiences that preserve their culture and allow them to take advantage of education at the same time. If the mission will serve as a general statement representative of the school community in its entirely, the entire school community must assume an active role in its development. This will ensure the diverse voices are heard and incorporated within the school’s mission statement. <br />Establishing Postmodern Belief Statements using the Realm of Ethics/Synnoetics in Urban Schools<br />Belief statements are assertions within strategic planning by those within an organization. Belief statements invite productive relationships within the organization through common language. “Persons in relation are responsibly concerned for others, seeking their well-being, living to serve, to heal, to teach, and to strengthen them in every possible way that does not contradict their freedom” (Kritsonis, 2007 p. 394). They posit and energy of positivism to what the organization deems is of value. An organization may value cultural differences, diverse perspectives or diverse truths. “Freedom means the power to be and to become through relationships in which the integrity and worth of each person are responsibly affirmed by the others with whom he is associated” (Kritsonis, 2007, p. 395). When considering the establishment of belief statements, the school community must embark on this endeavor with an open mind. They also require a high level of optimism. The belief of a more favorable side has to be ingrained in the developers of the statement. Finally, these statements require a heart that is open and respectful toward diverse cultures of learners. We can no longer ill afford to tailor our educational endeavors toward one dominant culture. If statements are to be believed, there must be threads embedded within them that satisfy the idiosyncrasies of several groups. Statements of belief answer the questions: What do we collectively believe? What values do we want to instill within our students and organization as a whole. What will we do to support and enhance what we believe? How will we continue to address the needs of all? <br />The Belief statements, when adopted and internalized, ignite vivacity while encouraging the organization to develop into its full bloom. “Ethical language is used to alter feelings and behavior so as to produce the most harmonious satisfaction of desires and interests” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.437). Belief statements are often more valuable when they are constructed as brief and powerful declarations. They are not merely words to be scribed, sealed in a frame and mounted on a wall. Beliefs statements should be learned, practiced, believed and adopted throughout the entire school community. They allow educators to develop values related to their culture. Postmodern educators assert that “Important values to teach include striving for diversity, tolerance, freedom, creativity, emotions and intuition” ( Xenos Christian Fellowship, 2009, p.1 ). <br />The cynosure of these supportive commitments is ethical and moral knowledge. They support the notion of doing the right thing for students and the school community because it’s the appropriate thing to do regarding the academic, social and emotional development of children. “The appropriate organization of society from an ethical standpoint is the one which is just, that is, which gives each person what is due him, or what he ought to have” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.439). “Discursive practice- forms of communication which become codified and sanctified as legitimate, formally or informally within context and culture” (English 2003, p.247). Example belief statements are as follows:<br />1. We will foster appreciation and acceptance of all individuals of diverse backgrounds.<br />2.We will recognize diverse values while accommodating students’ unique skills to ensure Excellency for all.<br />Defining Postmodern Goals using the Realm of Synnoetics/Synoptics in Urban Schools<br />Defining campus goals is the meat of strategic planning. It is in this stage that campus leaders turn negative propensities into smart goals. They can even further positive propensities into more favorable outcomes. They find the most severe areas of growth or opportunity gaps and set a goal to advance the organization to the next level. Campus goals could include closing a gap between campus performance that is below district and state standards. Campus goals can hone in on specific populations of students who are not meeting their student expectations. Campus goals can also be put in place to challenge populations of students in good standings to reach higher heights toward college and career readiness. Depending on the needs of the campus, goals will vary. An example of this would include indentifying students who are on the cusp of commended performance, and setting a goal to get more of these students in that performance range. <br />These goals, specific in nature, clearly indicate the who, what, where, when, which and why. Smart goals entail what persons are involved in the goal. The targeted group could be students within a grade level, sub-population group or students within an academic area. They entail what the organization wants to accomplish, the specifics of the desired increase. It tells where the location of the accomplishment will occur. They set an established time frame to accomplish the goal. It determines which requirements and constraints may present themselves, and the benefit for reaching the goal. Smart goals are also measurable. They establish a rubric to measure progression toward the attainment. It helps the organization reach the desired target dates. They are quantitative results that the organization plans to achieve. Smart goals are attainable. They are attainable because educators create them realistically and belief in their capacity to accomplish them. Educators have faith that they will reach their goals. “Faith is the illumination that comes in going to the limits. Goals that are high, yet reachable are a great way to challenge an organization. It accelerates educator’s motivation and serves as the catalyst for change. Time is an imperative when setting smart goals. It sets a sense of urgency and puts action to the words spoken. Examples of smart goals are:<br />1.Math Problem-Solving – During the 2009-2010 school year, all seventh grade students will improve their math problem-solving skills with a one year gain national equivalent growth<br />2.Writing –During the 2006-2007 school year, the number of first through fourth grade students in special education will improve their writing skills by 6% at each designated grade level. The Six-Traits scoring rubric will act as the measuring tool.<br />Leaders must understand that success of their goals can only be obtained through exemplary classroom instruction. Effective instruction is instruction that allows students to construct their own knowledge. It is not a classroom where educators act as authoritative transmitters of knowledge. It depicts educators and students as co-constructors of knowledge. The educator is acting as the primary facilitator of learning, not a sage on the stage. This gives students the opportunity to become extremely resourceful. Students can pull from their knowledge base, embark on trial and errors experiences, and redesign their learning so that it makes sense to them. They can bring their own creativity into the learning environment, providing them a sense of autonomy centered around their educational endeavors. <br />Postmodern Strategies to Accomplish Goals in Urban Schools Emphasizing Empirics<br />When strategic goals have been put in place to provide a map for success, there must be supporting strategies in place to assist in accomplishing those goals. “A map is a formal representation of an area” (Kritsonis, 2007, p.176). Strategies tell us how to achieve our goals. Strategies should exist for each smart goal created. They serve as an objective for the goal. Strategies to achieve goals can involve budgetary considerations. Leaders have to allocate and utilize funds to bring progression into fruition. If a goal in the plan is to increase student performance in science, the leader must reserve and spend funds toward that area of need. The expenditures should have a direct impact on science advancement. The resources could be allocated for the purchase of Gateway Science books that are highly aligned with the Texas Essentials of Knowledge and Skills. Resources could be allocated for the purchase of one Purple Cow per classroom to show science action clips to students. Resources can also be used for the purchase science notebooks for each student to document his or her learning over time. Strategies to accomplish goals can entail soliciting and building more community partnerships to support the attainment of goals. <br />A goal may be to increase student achievement through increased parent involvement. Business partners may assume the responsibility of hosting events periodically to attract parents to the campus. A third example of a strategy to accomplish smart goals could be to develop special programs to meet the needs of students who are underserved. If results show that Hispanic students are not performing up to par in mathematics, special offerings should be put into place to remedy this shortcoming. <br />Concluding Remarks<br />In conclusion, strategic planning can have few to several components depending on the needs of the organization. Campus leaders, regardless of the need can increase their odds of continuous student achievement by facilitating strategic planning that encompasses postmodern views related to knowledge, culture, values, and human nature. They can further enhance their chances of success by incorporating the six realms of meaning into their strategic plan. Great leaders can find a direct correlation between their strategic plan and the realms of ethics, synnoetics, symbolic, esthetics, synoptic and empirics. <br />References<br />English, F.W. (2003). The Postmodern Challenge to the Theory and Practice of<br />Educational Administration. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas<br /> Publisher, LTD.<br />Klages, M. (2007). Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed. Continuum Press. <br />Retrieved July 22, 2009, from http://www.colorado.edu <br /> Kritsonis, W.A. (2007). William Kritsonis, PhD on Schooling. Mansfield, OH: <br />Bookmasters, Incorporated<br />Kritsonis, W.A. (2007). Ways of Knowing Through the Realms of Meaning. Oxford <br />Round Table (2005) University of Oxford, Oxford, England.<br />Xenos Christian Fellowship. (2009). Comparing Modernist and Postmodern <br />Educational Theory. The Death of Truth. Retrieved July 15, 2009, from http:<br />www.xenos.org<br />AUTHORS<br />Following is a list of the authors published in this issue. We encourage you to contact any author(s) and estabilish a dialogue to give positive feedback about the article. <br />Demetria DiggsQueinnise MillerCarmelita Thompson<br />1600 Gellhorn20026 Arbor Crek 1055 East Hacienda St<br />Houston, TX 77029Katy, TX 77449Bellville, TX 77418<br />Tyrus DoctorDavid PalmerKashan Ishaq<br />10240 West Rancho Diego LnP.O. Box 519; MS 2800 5902 Indian Hills Ln.<br />Crowley, Texas 76036 Prairie View, Texas 77446-2800 Sugarland, TX 77479<br />Simone GardnerRosnisha StevensonSheri Miller-Williams<br />14823 Cross Stone Court, P.O Box 289118810 Park Key Cir<br />Cypress, Texas 77429Prairie View, TX 77446Houston, TX 77084<br />Cristine LewisBarbara Thompson<br />10922 Creek Mist Dr.7283 Chasewood Bldg. 34<br />Cypress, TX 77433Missouri City, TX 77489<br />