Strategic Planning

November 26, 2019 Update

Since our October post to this page, Falmouth Academy’s strategic planning process has continued to gather steam.  The activity of the past two months has provided us with a generous supply of qualitative and quantitative data that will undoubtedly inform and inspire the next stage of our process as we build consensus around the strategic priorities that will usher our school into a new and noteworthy era of educational excellence.

The most visible manifestation of our recent work undoubtedly occurred in early October. Our consultant, Ms. Jennifer Desjarlais, principal at Cambridge Hill Partners, spent three very full days with us during which she met with two student groups, two parent groups, three faculty groups, two community groups, an alumni group, and more.  Jenn provided each focus group with a similar set of prompts: 

  • What are Falmouth Academy’s key strengths and how can we build on them? 
  • What are the primary challenges that we must be aware of or address moving forward? 
  • Putting aside feasibility, what opportunities could strengthen the academic experience and support student engagement?  

As you can imagine, conversation was spirited and constructive.  Jenn was impressed with how deeply passionate every group was about the school and about the extent to which participants were able to consider the school’s challenges and opportunities at the strategic level.    We are deeply grateful for the contributions of our two-hundred plus volunteer participants.

Sitting in my office that Saturday afternoon, Jenn and I reflected on a very busy 72 hours.  “If the job of a consultant,” I joked with her, “is to come to know you better than you know yourselves, than you are really good at your job!”  Jenn left school that Saturday with more than a little data, which she spent the next week reviewing for overlapping themes, as well as for any tension points that may have emerged.  She was encouraged to discover, even among this collection of very different stakeholder groups, a great deal of consensus about our school’s culture, our many strengths, and the opportunities and challenges that await us in the months and years to come.  

On Monday, November 18, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee reconvened to review and discuss the results of the visit.  Based on what we learned from the site visit, as well as from the other data that have been collected over the past six months, we turned our attention to next steps.  First, do we believe Jenn now has the data she needs to assemble the briefing booklet that will serve as a reference for the Committee as it digs into future planning sessions?  And second, based on what we have learned, what kinds of external expertise might we want to invite to school to inspire or provoke our creative thinking?  

As we head into the holidays, the planning process here at school goes on a bit of a hiatus.  Jenn, however, will be hard at work collecting resources and setting the stage for the Innovation and Strategy sessions scheduled for later in the winter.  We are in terrific shape and are looking forward to “phase two” of this exciting process.  

In the meantime, we thank you for your continuing interest in and support of our efforts and wish you and your family the happiest of Thanksgivings.

© Falmouth Academy. All Rights Reserved.