The idea of SMART goals isn't a new concept. They have been around for some time now. Businesses use them, and campuses write their improvement plans around them, yet some schools seems much smarter than others. Results seems to improve in one school while results appear to flatline in the school next door. All schools have the same goals in common, but struggling schools have DUMB goals while the best schools have SMARTest goals.
What is a SMART Goal?
Specific & Strategic
It is the one thing that the school must focus on that will make the biggest impact on all kids.
It is a goal that can be measured with targeted data over time.
It can be reached in a short period of time.
It is tied to specific data points that can measure the goal's progress.
It is monitored and reviewed at regular intervals throughout the year.
What makes a SMART Goal become DUMB?
When a goal is created that doesn't have a thing to do with the daily work of the school, it is dumb. When the goal is largely ignored or not reviewed, SMART goals are referred to as stupid by the people within the school.
If a SMART goal is never checked for growth or progress, or worse other things are measured in its place, the goal loses its measurement component; thus making it an ignorant goal.
Goals can't change with the initiative "du jour" or the leader's opinion of the day, otherwise they lose their power. SMART goals should be developed with much thought and followed with even greater commitment.
Goals, that are too broad or that cover too many areas of emphasis, kill the collective efficacy that a school needs for improvement. Broad goals are like saying, "We're going to move forward", but nobody knows what forward actually looks like. Furthermore, broad goals send people running in different directions, which in turn creates a lack of focus.
How do We Keep SMART Goals SMART???
1. KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid:
Pick a goal or two that everyone can commit to. Too many goals or overly complex goals frustrate followers.
2. Schedule RegularTimes to Measure:
You schedule your dentist appointment 6 months in advance, right? Schedule your times in advance to check the progress of your SMART Goals at 6 or 9 week intervals and you'll never lose sight of them.
3. Share the Leadership:
If you want your SMART Goal to make the campus smarter, you have to include all the intelligence in the building and give others leadership responsibilities. SMART Goals are owned by all.
4. Celebrate Growth:
There will be times where you won't make as much growth as you'd like. Find the successes and celebrate every time you review. If you're making negative growth, find the contributing factor and celebrate the fact that you found it.
5. Stick with It:
Excellence is not an act, but a habit. Commit to your goal and work your plan every day to reach that goal. You'll be amazed at what will happen over time.
Successful organizations aren't smarter. They're more focused and more efficient. The best quote that embodies the spirit of SMART Goals is this:
It's not that I'm so smart.
It's that I stay with the problem longer.