Strategic planning has been used by public and non-profit organizations for decades. Planning has both its adherents and its detractors--those who feel it is a useful exercise find that it helps to set direction and keep varied interest groups focused on issues important to the key mission. Others find it nearly impossible to create plans that anticipate all possible future scenarios, and particularly that monitoring progress falls to the wayside as day-to-day reality sets in. Recent research by Prof. Ralph Jasparro found that school districts experienced many benefits when undergoing strategic planning; in particular, leaders (both administrators and elected officials) had a clear sense of direction and communication was improved across groups (students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members). The broader and more meaningful the involvement of these groups (what the Prof. Jasparro terms "ownership"), the more committed were those responsible for implementing strategies. In a sense, they invited more accountability into their districts by involving more people in setting and monitoring priorities. Over the next few months we will be working with Austin Public Schools on a strategic planning initiative. Administrators and leaders have been enthusiastic about the opportunity to engage their community through a survey, meetings and workshops. They are conscious that their community is diverse, and want to provide ample opportunities for students, parents, teachers, community members and local organizations to get involved, so have planned many opportunities to do so. In addition, they are using an extensive media campaign to let people know how they can get involved. A recent article by Superintendent Raskin invites questions and explains that the process is important for helping the district plan, and dream, for the future.