January 15, 2020
Since our November post to this site, our students may have enjoyed two vacations but the Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been hard at work. The activity of the past two months has set the stage for an upcoming weekend of intensive generative discussion and decision-making that will result in a set of strategic priorities that will usher our school into a new and noteworthy era of educational excellence.
Among the outcomes of our work during this phase was the production of a briefing book of approximately fifty pages that consolidates the quantitative and qualitative data we have been collecting for the past six months. The booklet provides a snapshot of the school we are today in major areas including program; finance; development; admissions; history; demographic, economic, and educational trends; and many more.
Since the student voice has always been so important at FA, we took the additional step of designing and facilitating a strategic planning session that was customized for students. Our facilitator, Jenn Desjarlais, along with faculty member Eleanor Clark, engaged about 25 upper schoolers in approximately two hours of activities that harnessed the creative energy and unique perspective of our terrific kids. The morning culminated with each small group designing and presenting Year 2025 newspapers with FA-specific headlines they would love to be reading in the future. You’d have been proud, but not surprised, by their enthusiasm and insight.
Finally, we are just a few weeks away from a pair of planning events for which the entire process to date has been pointing. On Friday afternoon, February 7, the Steering Committee will be joined by the Board of Trustees and the Faculty for an “Innovation Session.” In response to the themes that have emerged during the planning process and with input from the Steering Committee, we have put together an interactive panel of professionals from a variety of fields representing a wide range of experience and expertise. We will engage in a series of exercises designed to provide even more focus, definition, inspiration and creative thinking for the important work slated for Saturday.
The full Saturday will be devoted to our culminating “Strategy Session,” during which a small group will consider what has been learned from the various focus groups, the aforementioned briefing booklet, and the previous day’s innovation session and, through a series of facilitated discussions and activities, come to a consensus as to where and how the school will be directing its resources in the years to come.