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Strategic Planning

Charting the Course

October 8, 2019

I recall not long ago hosting a college admissions dean at an evening college information session.  He began by suggesting to the parents and students that what “the college process” needed more than anything was some creative rebranding.  He contended that the term called to mind the mechanical process that yielded ground beef and furthermore that no one looks forward to sitting down to a meal of “processed food.”   He suggested that as an alternative, we embrace the term “the college experience.”

In that spirit, I submit this update not on our strategic planning process but on our strategic planning experience!  Since my last update, we’ve been quite busy. In early September, our external facilitator, Ms. Jenn Desjarlais spent a morning with the school’s administrative council and then a few weeks later, she visited the Board of Trustees at their September Board meeting.  Her prompts were short and direct: a) What issues or questions must this process (sorry!) thoughtfully consider for it to be a success? And b) how must the process be structured and who must be included to earn the “buy-in” we will need to implement it. But those two short prompts yielded, as you can imagine, a plethora of data that is already proving to be useful.  

Also in this time frame, our Steering Committee has gathered on two separate occasions to consider what we have learned so far and what our next steps should be.  The most obvious “next step” will transpire here at school from Thursday, October 10 to Saturday, October 12, when Jenn will be on campus conducting sessions with a number of stakeholder focus groups. As you can see by her schedule, we have set a brisk pace for her!

Thursday, October 10
Student Group #1
Faculty Group #1
Student Group #2
Community Group
Parent Group #1

Friday, October 11
Parent Group #2
Academic Program Heads
Grandparents Group
Founding Faculty Group
Faculty Drop-Ins
Trustee Emeriti

Saturday, October 12
Alumni Council

I hope you agree that this schedule speaks to our original promise to adhere to a process that is both transparent and inclusive. 

As for the road ahead, by the end of this weekend, we will have gathered a generous supply of both quantitative and qualitative data, which has been the primary goal of what we refer to as Phase 1 of our “strategic planning experience.”  It will then fall to Ms. Desjarlais, with significant input from our Steering Committee to analyze that data and compile it into a “briefing booklet” that will inform Phase II, the exciting process by which we come to some consensus as to the strategic priorities that will guide us into the future.  

Stay tuned!

Yours in planning, 

Matt Green

About the Process & Updates

List of 2 items.

  • Why Now?

    This is an exciting time in Falmouth Academy's history. Thanks to the school’s richly deserved reputation for academic excellence delivered within a culture of kindness and support courtesy of our remarkable faculty, the generosity of our many benefactors, and the thoughtful stewardship on the part of the trustees and administration, the school’s position has never been stronger. For example:
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  • The Process

    Last February, the Falmouth Academy Board of Trustees gathered for a weekend retreat, where a trio of experienced strategic planning professionals from different fields shared their insights and best practices.  Among the outcomes of that session were: a) the development of a timeline that began in summer 2019 and will conclude by spring 2020, b) the initial framework of the plan, which will be agile and adaptive and target the next four years, c) the leadership: our process will be guided by a deliberately small representative steering committee and led by an external facilitator.
    Read More
"Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” —African proverb

Steering Committee

Members of the Steering Committee have worn multiple hats here at school. Among them are four current or former Heads of School, four current parents, seven parents of alumni, six trustees, seven current or former classroom teachers, and one alumnus. Combined, they represent more than 180 years of affiliation with Falmouth Academy!

Joe Valle, Board Chair, Past Parent, Grandparent
Matt Green, Head of School, Parent
Ben Feldott, Parent
Cynthia Feldmann, Board Treasurer, Past Parent
Joan Holden, Board Member, Former Head of School
Monica Hough, Faculty, Past Parent
Mike Jones, Board Member, Parent
Andy Kingman, Board Member, Alumnus
Liz Klein, Faculty
Ben Parsons, Faculty, Former Head of School
Laura Shachoy, Board Member, Parent
Rob Wells, Faculty, Past Parent, Former Head of School

Our facilitator

Ms. Jennifer Desjarlais is an experienced strategic planner. She is familiar with Falmouth Academy through her work in college admissions at Wellesley College, where she served as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid and a member of the senior leadership team.  Jenn’s firm, Cambridge Hill Partners, specializes in strategic planning and organizational change, and counts among its clients notable colleges including MIT, Harvard, Tufts, Williams, Wellesley and Smith, and schools not very different than our own, including Nashoba Brooks, Concord Academy, Beaver Country Day School, and Emma Willard.