Priority #1: Supporting Transformative Learning
Throughout the strategic planning process, our constituents consistently expressed the importance of a demonstrably strong academic curriculum, one in which excellence and student-centered outcomes are clearly defined at all levels. As we noted in writing the Plan, it is clear that such excellence is facilitated not only by innovation and academic rigor, but also by learning outcomes that can only be reached in a diverse, healthy community. The following is a list of the action steps associated with this Priority and the work done to implement these steps over the past year.
Review the scope and sequence of the curriculum of our 3-year-old through 12th grade program and set benchmarks and goals that clearly articulate what it means for each child to meet his or her full potential. This exploration of our curriculum will include: a review of how we incorporate diversity, in all of its forms, into our program.
Create and implement a Health and Wellness Program to provide all of our students with the tools needed to be their best selves in the ever-changing world. This program’s curriculum (modified so as to be appropriate for different student ages) will address core topics in the areas of mental, social, emotional, and physical health.
Create a learning environment for faculty in which we support, expect, and recognize ongoing professional development. We will empower and invest in our faculty by providing them with the resources they need to help each child meet their unique potential. Through these efforts, we will prioritize attracting and retaining talented, passionate, innovative educators.
Maintain infrastructure, including a repair and replacement schedule, and the addition of devices as needed. We will also regularly evaluate the relative merits and appropriateness to Doane of various strategies for providing devices to our students. In addition, we will assess and implement the technology needed to best support our administrative functions and communication with our community.
Priority #3: Enhancing Our Campus
As noted in the original Strategic Plan, we still have some programs that are underserved by our facilities. Moreover, we want our campus to inspire the entire community to develop new and innovative programs for our students. In other words, as we described in the Plan, our current facilities and footprint should not limit the innovative work and enhancements that will come from elsewhere in the Strategic Plan.
Since our acquisition of the Boudinot property (described in last October’s implementation update), we have devoted significant time and resources to (a) planning for the use of the Boudinot property this year and for potentially longer and (b) planning for the property’s use long-term.
The enhancement of our campus has become a major priority as we consider the future of the Boudinot property. We continue to evaluate how our current facilities support our programs and how enhancements could improve the delivery of our programs to our students.
Priority #4: Telling Our Story
As noted in our Strategic Plan, Doane’s community, traditions, and student outcomes deserve to be shared with a broader community. Telling Our Story effectively will support both our enrollment and teacher recruitment. This priority supports the financial sustainability of Doane and reinforces the continued growth of programs and innovative teaching we provide our students.
As we noted last year at this time, none of us contemplated the possibility of a global pandemic arising less than two years later when the Board of Trustees approved the Strategic Plan in 2018. That said, the Plan’s priorities helped us to quickly reimagine our operations in 2020 and successfully pivot to a new operating model, especially when we were teaching remotely in the spring of that year.
In 2021, our challenge has been to move forward with the implementation of the Plan while continuing to operate under pandemic conditions. Balancing these priorities has been difficult but we are proud to report that we have made significant progress this year in advancing the Plan’s priorities, even at a time when many of our resources have been diverted to maintaining our operations during the ongoing health crisis. For example, at a time when many schools de-emphasized professional growth, we maintained our focus on using the Folio process for goal-setting, classroom observations, and growth conversations with teachers in support of our Transformative Learning priority.
Indeed, the above update provides readers with a long list of actions we have taken to implement the 2018 Plan. Our progress has been so notable that we are already beginning the process of developing a new Strategic Plan, which will acknowledge our accomplishments while recognizing the need for Doane to continue to build on our success. This upcoming process will, as it has in the past, rely on input from all of our constituents. Thus, it is quite possible that the next correspondence that you receive from us will ask for your help in identifying our priorities for the coming five years.
We are hopeful, of course, that the coming year will be less eventful than the last twenty months. But we are confident that the Strategic Plan will continue to provide us with the focus that is so important as we make our way through an ever-changing landscape.