Ready, Set, Goals! Shine Brighter Than Ever In The New School Year

Posted By: Kaitlin Windle Consortium Hot Topics,

Hey there, school leaders! Today, I'm excited to talk about something that's crucial for your school’s success: setting clear, actionable goals. 

As someone who spends all day helping schools track their performance, I've seen firsthand how thoughtful goal setting can pave the way for amazing achievements. 

Let's dive into how you can set great goals that really help your school shine.

1. Align Goals with Your Long-Term Vision

First off, let's start big. What are your school's dreams for the next few years? Do you have a strategic plan?  If so, start there to help you define your goals.  If not, come up with three of your school’s biggest priorities in the next five years. 

Once you have this vision, work backwards to set your goals for this year. This method ensures that every step you take is a step towards your ultimate objectives.  Working backwards (top-down) helps you create the strategy of how to reach your larger objectives in smaller, easier to achieve goals.

2. Collaborate Across Departments

Goal setting isn't a one-person job. It's crucial to bring different departments together—specifically finance, admissions, and fundraising—to set these goals. This collaboration ensures the goals are realistic and achievable and that every team understands and supports these objectives. 

This teamwork makes sure no goal is just a quick fix for meeting budget needs but a strategic step towards bigger achievements. 

3. Simplify and Specify

For each area of your school function—finance, admissions, fundraising—set one to three specific goals. Keeping the list short helps maintain focus. 

Most importantly, write these goals down! Documenting them reinforces commitment and keeps everyone accountable.

With your goals set, define a metric or KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for each one. This is a measurable value that will show how effectively you are achieving your goal.

4. Secure Board Engagement

Ever been in a board meeting that went off the rails and people were distracted by a discussion that was not, ummm, productive?  Yeah, me too.  It’s frustrating and a waste of valuable time.

Keeping board reports clear, consistent and visual helps keep everyone focused on what really matters - strategy and looking forward - and not confused about what is happening.

Set your goals and metrics that you are going to track with your board’s buy-in.  You can even have some fun and do this in a working session or board retreat together.  Doing this will keep everyone focused at meetings, clear on your objectives and working together towards goals you have set together.

5. Regularly Monitor Your Progress

Set a routine to review your KPIs monthly. This regular check-in helps you stay on track and take action if necessary. Think of it as a monthly health check to ensure you will reach and exceed your school's goals with ease!

Whatever you do, don’t just look at your data once a year when the school year is over. This is the least effective way to track your performance since you can’t course correct after the fact.

Proper goal setting can transform the way a school operates and achieves success. By making sure goals are collaborative, manageable, well-documented, and regularly reviewed, your school is set on a path to not just meet but exceed its expectations. Ready to set some goals? Let's make this academic year the most successful yet!

Want help setting your goals and tracking your success? We are here to help.  Please reach out to to set up a time to chat.

Kaitlin Windle, Founder, Apte

As a proud alum of Hathaway Brown School for girls, Kaitlin is particularly passionate about independent school data intelligence.

With a background of being a professional ballerina to working in investment banking and private equity on Wall Street with JPMorgan and Pantheon, Kaitlin then entered the nonprofit sector as a Development Director and then CFO. 

Leveraging her investment banking skills for analyzing data, she started by manually standardizing board reports and delighting executive teams and board members with newfound analytics and reports.  

Using these reports, she was able to help drive organizations to their most successful fundraising and financial performance in under a year.  Seeing the difference that can be made in such a short time by using data to drive strategic decision making inspired her to start Apte to empower other organizations and independent schools.