Strategic Planning for Short and Long-Term Education Initiatives

Strategic Planning for Short and Long-Term Education Initiatives

The National Park Service has a well-established planning framework that sets it apart from other historical and cultural heritage organizations. Outside of the core foundational documents, some parks also have specific interpretive, education and/or partnership plans while others may not have any plans at all to effectively guide educational initiatives. Fortunately, a wealth of NPS vision documents and service-wide interdisciplinary strategic plans exist that can effectively aid park educators in developing educational programs.

The purpose of this resource is to raise awareness of the current NPS service-wide plans you can use as well as a new framework you can apply to your individual plans to ensure relevance remains an important part of your planning activities.

In this resource you’ll find guiding questions, activities, and additional resources. It will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

How to Use this Resource:

  • Complete the following activities.
  • Review and use the Additional Resources at the bottom.
  • Leave a review (how useful was this resource?).
  • Join our group in the CLP Commons.

Guiding Questions

  • How do your park planning documents impact the development of education programs at your site?
  • How have you established meaningful relationships within your local community?
  • Remember to include yourself in the planning process. What professional development opportunities could help you leverage this work?


  • Review the following plan and list three ideas, concepts, or action items. Have a discussion with your team regarding your ideas or share the plans with a co-worker or peer.
  • Create a SMART goal around creating a strategic education plan for your park.
  • Create a T-chart describing the pros and cons of an Education Advisory Committee and discuss the results with your team. If an Education Advisory Committee seems like the right idea, write a one page proposal to your leadership to gain support.
  • View Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Ted Talk and reflect on the following questions (consider writing them in a journal) and discuss them with your team:
    • How do you think you can apply the Golden Circle concept to the development of curriculum-based programs at your site?
    • Try applying the WHY, HOW, WHAT framework to an existing program or an idea you would like to develop.

Additional Resources

Write a Review

  1. I am interested in courses or cohorts that will provide a good look inside the boundaries we most follow as government employees when reaching out to form partnerships and solicit donations for our parks and education programs. Does anyone have some suggestions about where I can begin to establish a good foundation and understanding of our NPS Ethics and solicitation rules/guidelines?

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