Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Richard P. Manatt


Strategic planning is one of the decision-making structures available to educational administrators. Given the myriad of social, educational, and economical forces impacting education and the national outcry to produce changes, urban school districts like Des Moines use strategic planning to gather and decipher information needed to make the best decisions. Failure of decision makers to utilize a structure to gain proper perspectives places the district in a posture to respond to those issues which engender the emotions of stakeholders. Without a structure, those with the loudest voices and the political prowess to achieve their special interests outcomes are more apt to be satisfied irrespective of organizational needs;This study describes the implementation of the strategic planning process used by the Des Moines Public Schools. Strategic planning in the district uniquely combines William Cook's strategic planning framework and Robert Terry's Human Action Model. An analysis of Cook's planning definition serves as the basis for the procedures and components of the plan. Procedures includes a review of the research, selecting a central planning team to design the "plan to plan." Staff development activities were designed to support the process and the components. Standard components includes, among others, a mission statement to narrow the focus of the organization with accompanying goals, objectives, and action plans to achieve desired results;Terry's model focuses on the human action dimension within the organization. Its premise is that an understanding of how human action flows within an organization is a prerequisite to increasing the likelihood of successful implementation of strategic planning as well as many other educational initiatives;The research spans over a three-year period using a naturalistic orientation of inductively gathering data to discover answers to specific questions rather than attempting to verify established hypotheses. Some of the specific techniques includes participant observations, interviews, and document analysis. The findings disclose the pre-planning events, processes, district-wide goal development, and a discussion of the major outcomes of the strategic planning process for the Des Moines Public Schools.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Troy Jude Vincent



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

223 pages