Strategic Planning: 2017-19

October 2017

Dear ISP Community,

This summer, we began the invaluable process of updating our Strategic Plan for the school. Our Strategic Plan – adopted in 2009 – has been used by the Board of Trustees as a guide for making critical decisions and by the Head of School in making daily decisions about operations, curriculum, and administration. Since that time, many of the goals articulated in the 2009 Plan have been achieved.

ISP has reached another threshold in its growth, internal and external conditions have changed, and new issues have arisen. In 2016, the ISP Board and Head of School determined that it was time to update the school’s Strategic Plan. We are anticipating that the update process will take approximately 18 months resulting in a revised plan going to the Board in May 2019.International School of Portland’s updated Strategic Plan will document our values, vision, mission, and priorities for the next 10 years.

During the process to update the Plan we will:

  • Reaffirm or modify our school’s core values, mission, and vision for its future
  • Reaffirm or modify the goals to achieve our vision
  • Determine near term and longer term priorities

Ultimately, the updated Strategic Plan will be used to inform and guide the school leadership’s fundamental decisions and actions.

The adopted ISP Strategic Plan, completed in 2009, can be found here.

In our commitment to creating a comprehensive, inclusive, and representative Strategic Plan, the Strategic Planning team has structured the process with numerous opportunities for community and stakeholder input.  A Strategic Planning Group – a core group of stakeholders consisting of parents, parent network steering committee members, faculty, administration, and Board members – has been meeting over the past few months to help draft, review, and comment on plan materials.

We will be gathering additional feedback from administrators, Board members, parents, teachers, alumni, external supporters, and students.  It is imperative that we hear from YOU!

How can YOU get involved in the process?
There are several ways for you to stay informed and involved throughout the process, including through focus group interviews, reviewing draft Planmaterials on the ISP website, planned drop-in sessions, online surveys, and other communications such as In The Know, faculty and administration announcements and meetings, and emails.

1) Focus Groups: Sign up to participate in a stakeholder Focus Group Interview. This provides an opportunity for you to delve deeper into issues and provide feedback about what is important to you as a member of our school community. There are four sessions scheduled on October 17th and 19th; find one that works for you! Each group will be limited to 10 participants each to encourage effective dialogue. Click here to sign up for a Focus Group

2) Drop-In Sessions: Attend drop-in sessions to review and comment on information from two key steps in the planning process: 1) Vision, Mission, and Values and 2) High Level Goals. These drop-ins are scheduled for Tuesday, October 24th in Learners’ Hall. Come by any time from 7:30-8:30am, or from 3:30-5:00pm.

3) Online Review: Comment on materials posted on the ISP web site. Announcements of these materials will be put in ITK, and online surveys will be distributed.

A general overview of the process to update our adopted 2009 Strategic Plan and a timeline is below.  Your contributions will help to ensure that International School of Portland not only lives its mission fully each day, but also looks toward the future with purpose. Thank you in advance for your participation.


What is strategic planning?
Strategic planning is an organization’s process for defining its direction, and making decisions about how and when to allocate its resources (capital, human, and political resources) to pursue that direction.  The process and decisions are documented in a Strategic Plan.  The Strategic Plan is used to guide an organization in decision-making and through other planning processes, such as creating a Campus Facilities and Master Plan.

What is included in the Strategic Plan?
The Strategic Plan will document the school’s vision and mission and priorities, and will include an action plan for short-term and long-term priorities, resource allocations, and critical timelines.

The Plan will also include a process for implementing the Strategic Plan and a regular schedule for monitoring progress, evaluating outcomes and achievements, and making any necessary course corrections to address unanticipated events, thus making the plan a “living document.”

Who is involved in the planning process?
ISP is using an intensive approach to prepare the Strategic Plan.  A Strategic Planning Group – a core group of stakeholders consisting of parents, faculty, administration, and Board members – has been meeting over the past few months to help draft, review, and comment on plan materials.

A small group of administrators and volunteer staff from a local consulting firm are responsible for facilitating the process, preparing draft materials for comment and review, data collection and analysis, facilitating work sessions, and plan preparation.  Review and feedback from the broader school community will be solicited through drop-in meetings, work sessions and focus groups.  Students will also be encouraged to participate during brief, school-day sessions.

What are the steps in the planning process?
The steps in the process to update ISP’ Strategic Plan are summarized in the table below.

Strategic Plan Update Process Steps

Vision, Mission, and Values In this initial step in the process, we will reaffirm or modify our core values, mission and vision. We will use our core values as guiding principles that frame the Strategic Plan update process.
SWOT Analysis(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) This effort examines and documents external and internal factors (both good and bad) that inform the planning process.  External considerations include economic, social, demographic, political, legal, technological and international factors.  Internal factors include the organization, facilities, programs, financial resources, and personnel.
Goal Setting Our aspirations for our school’s future are declared in tangible, achievable, and measurable terms.
Community Feedback ISP community reviews draft Values, Mission, Vision and High Level Goals and provides feedback. The strategic planning group will make modifications based on ISP community feedback.
Strategies and Action Plans A gap analysis is conducted to evaluate the difference between where we are today and where we want to be in the future.   Through intensive workshops, the strategic planning group will develop concrete strategies and actions with appropriate timelines and resource allocations.  Benchmarks or performance measures are set for monitoring goal achievement and progress.
Plan Creation The updated Strategic Plan is prepared describing ISP’ goals and strategies and documenting the process.
Community Feedback ISP community reviews the draft Strategic Plan and provides feedback. The strategic planning group will make modifications based on ISP community feedback.
Implementation, Outcomes and Achievements Plan implementation begins.  The ISP Board and Head of School monitor progress and, most importantly, evaluate outcomes and achievements.  Course corrections are made to address unanticipated events.

What are the key dates in the process?
The Final Strategic Plan will be submitted for approval by the Board of Trustees in the Spring of 2019. A general summary of the activities is below:

Need to know more?
If you have any questions about how to get involved, or about the planning process please contact Robert Woods, Head of School,