A Discussion of Planning Techniques and Tips- Making It Fun and Purposeful


Molly Smith
Founder/Lead Planner
thinksmart planning inc

Jim Brady

Jimmy Disler
Executive Director for Capital Improvements
Leander ISD


1 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

A4LE is a venue for knowledge sharing. We see lots of really great projects, but rarely get a glimpse at “how” the great projects came about. It’s not magic! It’s not a big secret! Great schools are the result of intentional consensus building – and it’s hard work.

Our team has created this workshop because of our desire to share and demonstrate successful “tools of the trade” developed through our collective experiences.

We want to share, discuss, debate and demonstrate our experiences in working with commuities planning terrific school environments.

Here’s what we will share:

  • Collaborative Planning- the Who and Why: Team composition, seating, time frames, and how they create a dynamic committee,
  • Facilitator not Preacher: The facilitator is the guide or “discussion leader” for the group. The process of facilitation is a way of providing leadership without taking the reins. A facilitator’s job is to get others to assume responsibility and take the lead. The facilitator skillfully and thoughtfully guides the content and process in order to evoke participation and creativity. Facilitated discussions are the important work of a committee – we will discuss how to lead them appropriately,
  • Touring: Virtual and Otherwise Conducting an in-district, out-of-district or virtual peer school tour and why it’s important,
  • A War Chest of Session Exercises: We will demonstrate a variety of innovative session exercises we regularly utilize and how these are used to produce different committee interactions,
  • Presentations and How to Make the Most of Them: How to utilize presentations to inform and intrigue your committee,
  • Virtual Interaction and Committee Information: Facilitators will discuss how to use web-based blogs, wiki-spaces, on-line polling, live interactive audience participation via texts, and other on-line resources,
  • What to do if you Get Derailed: Techniques for dealing with nay-sayers, NIMBYs, hecklers, and subversives.
Learning Objectives:
  • This program will discuss the benefits and implications of intentional consensus building.
  • This program will discuss blended learning or flipping the presentation and how to use it in committee work.
  • As a group, we will demonstrate and practice a variety of planning exercises and techniques.
  • Our group will include an open and frank discussion about how to save a derailed process.
Primary Competency:

Educational Visioning: Exhibits an understanding of best and next practices related to educational leadership, programming, teaching, learning, planning and facility design. Establishes credibility with educators, community members and design professionals while conceiving and leading a community-based visioning process. Demonstrates the ability to articulate the impact of learning environments on teaching and learning and uses that ability to facilitate a dialogue that uncovers the unique needs and long-range goals of an educational institution and its stakeholders – translating that into an actionable written/graphic program of requirements for the design practitioner.

Primary Domain:

Toolbox: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the approaches, methods and applications when transitioning from design and concept into reality, actual existence through quality performance, execution and/or product.

Secondary Domain:

Process: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the importance of quality processes and practices implemented by the project team when creating learning environments. The who, what, when and how of various disciplines and applications.