AchieveKids II

Fall-Winter 2019
Project Type
Fast track
Project Focus
Strategic Planning
Organization Type


AchieveKids provides special education and mental health services to children with complex developmental, emotional and behavioral issues. AchieveKids operates two schools that offer individualized, multi-disciplinary education to approximately 120 students as well as support for their families. Funding comes primarily from 35 local school districts.


AchieveKids is a strong organization with a healthy balance sheet and dedicated board of directors. The question of adding a third campus comes up from time to time, with San Mateo and Livermore having actively approached AchieveKids. The board will launch a strategic planning process in early 2020. Rather than specifically focusing on the third school issue, leadership and the board want to broaden the question to “how to have the most impact?” while considering important challenges such as potential changes to funding model and the impact of the high cost of living on teacher and staff recruitment and retention.

Project Objectives

AchieveKids asked an ACT team to conduct a SWOT analysis of its organization and define a process for its strategic planning committee to follow in order to formulate a strategic plan, implement it, and provide for continual evaluation and control.

Project Overview

The project involved four activities: 1. Conduct a SWOT analysis, 2. Validate currently identified business opportunities and identify new opportunities, 3. Provide a detailed analysis of one of the opportunities in order to provide a model of analysis for other opportunities, 4. Define the steps and content necessary for AchieveKids to complete its strategic plan.

Key Recommendations

AchieveKids wants to grow its impact, not in desperation but in search of new opportunities. Some of the opportunities we identified will be more challenging than others: competitively, financially, and operationally. The ACT team took one of them apart – a Fee for Service model for Applied Behavioral Analysis and behavioral support – to demonstrate feasibility. We concluded that this expansion vector was doable, but represented a major transition for AchieveKids and carried substantial but containable risks.