Deirdre Moore | June 2016

Is It SMART? Reflecting on Goal Setting and Working SMARTER

This past Friday was a great day.  An initiative generated by a committee I head was enacted and, from what I observed in the classrooms and what I have seen in the surveys I have collected thus far, it was a hit with our families.  And, if what I observed and what I’ve overheard is any indication, I would guess it was a hit with the staff as well.  (Those surveys will be handed out at the next staff meeting so I can know for sure!)

After that great start to my day, I had the privilege of sitting down with a supervisor and mentor of mine from Turnaround Arts California and diving into our school’s Strategic Arts Plan, written by another committee which I co-chair, to look at how we did this year as a school and what we might want to do differently next year to increase our chances of success in reaching our goals.

As I reflect on that day and the meeting I had with my supervisor, I am realizing the beauty of the SMART goal setting.  In fact, I wrote an article nearly 3 years ago on creating SMART or even SMARTER goals.  It really is a great acronym and yet, I don’t remember to use it and really think about what each letter means.  The funny thing is that there is one section of our Strategic Arts Plan that specifically asks if each goal is SMART.  Naturally we wrote “yes” in that column for each of our goals.  I mean, who would write a goal that wasn’t smart?

Unfortunately, there is no place on that document that requires you to explain HOW your goal is SMART.  That might really have stopped us in our tracks and made us re-think our whole plan.  What I am also realizing is that this initiative that was implemented on Friday actually was SMART goal setting, even if we didn’t use the acronym to guide us.  And what do you know, it looks like that was a success!  Funny how that works….

What did we do right on that committee?  First, we set our intention.  We wanted to get families more involved in our school (Relevant).  Next, we generated several ideas (Specific) and floated them by our faculty by means of a short survey.  Then I analyzed the surveys and shared the results with the committee.  We decided to keep things “do-able” (Attainable) and chose 2 ideas that were popular with the staff and fairly easy for us to implement (Relevant and Attainable).

At the same time we decided how we would gather data to determine the effectiveness of our initiative (Measurable)  and who would be gathering and crunching that data (every step of the process needs to be Attainable for the goal to be achieved).  We also discussed when the initiative would be implemented, when the surveys would go out, when the data would be crunched and shared with the staff, etc. (Time-Bound).

To be SMART-ER, at our next meeting we will Evaluate the data we received in the form of surveys and Reflect on what that data tells us about moving forward.  We might need to Redefine our original goal or just Rejoice in our success (of course that would be SMART-ERRR)!

Armed with even just the small success of this past Friday and the realization that it was successful in part because it was a SMART goal setting, I am reinvigorated to examine our Strategic Arts Plan with my team and make sure that next year it’s really a SMART or even SMARTER plan.

As this school year comes to a close, may you have time to Evaluate and Reflect on your goals from this year, make time to Rejoice in the goals you met and prepare to make the next school year even SMARTER!

About the Author

Deirdre is a teaching artist and AI coach in the San Diego public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. Deirdre has an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience. Email Deirdre.