Strategic Planning

Charting the Course

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.  



About the Process & Updates

List of 4 items.

  • November 26 Update

  • October 8, 2019 Update

  • 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.
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"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.