Thank you to everyone who has participated in our strategic planning process thus far. During our spring survey process, we received feedback from 67% of our parents and 21% of our alumni, and fall discussion forums, which drew participation from more than 120 members of our community in 8 sessions over the course of 3 days.
Informed by your feedback through these surveys and discussion forums, the Board of Trustees worked to identify and articulate key strategic focus areas for Flint Hill. These themes were discussed over a series of meetings by individual task forces, whose specific charges and participants are listed in the task force tab. The groups concentrated on a number of key themes, which were endorsed by the Board at an October retreat with school faculty and administrators. The themes are highlighted on the “Task Forces” tab on this website.
Our challenge boils down to this: continuing to make Flint Hill’s exceptional education accessible to students in ways that remain innovative and relevant to graduates in the 21st century.
We welcome and invite your continued involvement in planning Flint Hill’s future. We will provide periodic updates on our progress in the weeks to come, and will continue to provide updates on our progress and opportunities for you to comment and help shape the next iteration of our collective goals, strategies and action items. With the 2015-2016 academic year underway, we enow have a fully articulated Strategic Plan to guide our work and set our priorities.
Like most independent schools, Flint Hill is being tested by a changing landscape comprised of cultural, educational and economic factors. Our strength and future opportunity come as we recognize the ever-present need to learn and evolve. The new Strategic Plan is our road-map for adaptive change. We are prepared to act with confidence and conviction in accordance with the school’s mission. As ever, we’re profoundly grateful to you for your support of Flint Hill.
Each of our Task Forces was comprised of parents, alumni, faculty, staff and trustees who met several times between November and January to discuss the strategic areas of focus. We are grateful to the individuals who participated in this part of the strategic planning process.
Academic Excellence Task Force
The Academic Excellence Task Force is charged with proposing to the Steering Committee new programmatic approaches and flexible models for delivering a Flint Hill education. Academic excellence is comprised of both the design and delivery of program offerings. To this end, it is recommended that the Academic Excellence task force consider breaking into two, mutually interdependent yet separate focus areas – Program and Personnel
The process of reviewing the school’s academic program within the context of excellence should include asking such questions as:
- How can we build on our experiential learning successes? How can we do that in ways that enhance the teaching and learning experience, and yet are affordable for Flint Hill?
- How can we foster stronger connections between the departments and divisions, to encourage cross-curricular integration and to improve student learning and outcomes? What programs, policies, and/or structures strengthen those connections?
- Are there opportunities to facilitate and/or enhance the above by changing the way we schedule our offerings, and the way we structure our academic calendar, that would give us greater flexibility in programming and increase innovative teaching opportunities?
- How might (or will?) distance learning play a role in our ability to offer the highest quality education in the most flexible way? How can faculty best use online/in person (hybrid) teaching approaches and other technology options to enhance their programs and create more flexibility for students?
The process should include asking such questions as:
- How can Flint Hill ensure that its commitment to faculty in terms of professional development, and creative work becomes stronger than ever as we embark upon this new vision?
- What kinds of support systems need to be in place in order that faculty can make significant contributions to curriculum and program development at all stages of their careers?
- How can we build and retain a diverse faculty, diverse in its gender, age, ethnic, socio-economic, family structure, sexual orientation, religion, learning styles, special needs, country of origin and racial contours, and in its outstanding scholarly and creative achievements?
- How can we better integrate processes for evaluation and accountability to strengthen faculty development and planning?
Community and Constituent Relations Task Force
The Community and Constituent Relations Task Force is charged with exploring Flint Hill’s outreach and engagement efforts with Flint Hill parents, alumni, and the neighbors/community in which the school’s two campuses are located.
The process should include asking such questions as:
- What role do we envision for our parents/alumni/neighbors as members of the Flint Hill community?
- How can we foster a community of engaged, committed and enthusiastic Flint Hill parents?
- How can we foster a community of engaged, committed and enthusiastic Flint Hill alumni and students as future alumni?
- How do we foster strong, positive and productive relations with our neighbors?
Governance & Leadership Task Force
The Governance and Leadership Task Force is charged with exploring Flint Hill’s governance and institutional leadership models, practices and succession plans.
While the task force is likely to be informed by best practices as prescribed by NAIS and VAIS, as well as the experiences and expertise of the task force members, it is important that such information does not unduly constrain the task force’s deliberations and recommendations – nor should industry best practice be unduly set aside. Rather, the task force is charged with examining the issues critically and exploring freely and creatively a broad spectrum of means aimed at enhancing governance and leadership effectiveness at Flint Hill.
The process should include:
- An examination of all aspects of the Board’s governance structure, and recommend changes, as necessary, to ensure effective and accountable governance. Governance structure includes, but is not limited to, the role of the board (collectively), the role of individual trustees, the size of the board, the nominations and appointment process, and the committee structure. The charge is not to conduct an operational audit of the Board or its members. Rather, the focus is on the School’s governance structure(s), the values that undergird them, and their impact on the effectiveness and accountability of the Board of Trustees.
- An examination of all aspects of the school’s organizational and leadership structures and recommend changes, as necessary, to ensure the school has effective and accountable infrastructure and leadership. Organizational and leadership structures include, but are not limited to, the School’s senior leadership team and roles; the leadership structure within each academic division and/or department; and the organizational structure of the administrative leadership and related infrastructure. The charge is not to conduct an operational audit of the School’s administrative faculty and staff. Rather, the focus is to examine the school’s overall structure and infrastructure in this regard: efficiencies, redundancies, gaps, succession plans, accountability and effectiveness.
STEM Task Force
The STEM Task Force (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is charged with exploring opportunities and making recommendations, as appropriate, to improve, encourage, and facilitate student access and success in STEM programs.
The process should include asking such questions as:
- Where do we demonstrate particular success for students in the STEM disciplines? How can we build on, augment or add new programs that build students skills in STEM and expose them to opportunities in STEM careers?
- Identify opportunities for improving coordination and collaboration among existing programs for students involving STEM projects.
- Identify opportunities to broaden the scope of STEM offerings – both curricular and co-curricular – and strategies to attract and engage students in these programs in all divisions.
- Identify strategies for encouraging partnerships and opportunities in STEM initiatives with businesses and universities in the area.
Student Life Task Force
The Student Life Task Force is charged with exploring scenarios and proposing models to enhance student life and co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences to the Steering Committee & Board of Trustees.
The process should include asking such questions as:
- How do we nurture and celebrate Flint Hill’s Core Values, further integrating our Core Values into school life as an essential and inherent component that is woven throughout all elements of school life?
- How can we build on the Core Values to build a community that values and respects differences, embracing diversity in all its forms?
- How do we foster school spirit, sense of community, and belonging?
- Are there opportunities to enhance and expand co-curricular opportunities to support learning; creativity; and personal development, growth and exploration; especially in and through student/faculty interactions?
- What kind of school atmosphere/environment should be fostered to enhance lifelong connections with students of all ages, as future alumni of Flint Hill?
- What models of athletics/athletic programming could enhance/promote health and wellness while encouraging school participation, spirit and community-building?
- How can arts offerings encourage and enhance school spirit and community-building?
- How can the school provide expanded opportunities and program offerings to promote and enhance character and leadership development?
Signature Programs Task Force
The Signature Programs Task Force is charged with identifying and defining what the Signature Programs at Flint Hill are, and crafting a vision for how those programs might broaden and strengthen Flint Hill’s regional and national presence over the next decade.
The term “signature programs” generally refers to the finest, largest or most important program(s) within a series or group of offerings that distinguish the institution.
The following elements of Flint Hill have been identified as such (now or at some point): Field Studies, Latin, Technology and the Learning Center.
Keeping in mind that the opportunity for students to participate in activities that tests one’s boundaries, encourages meaningful risk, develops intellectual independence, fosters self-actualization through knowledge of and belief in oneself, and builds confidence and perseverance, are all typically elements of a school’s Signature Progams. To this end, Flint Hill would be well-served to identify – and commit to – its Signature Programs; defined as engaging, innovative and collaborative programs that contribute to the success of our students, the diversity of our community and make a tangible difference in the lives of the students involved.
- Review current offerings and define what the Signature Program(s) are (or might be established) at Flint Hill that could be positioned as key differentiators among peer institutions
- Review opportunities for growth and development in each of these programs – e.g. How do we leverage the Learning Center to best serve a spectrum of learners? How do we best empower our faculty and what programs, policies and/or structures do we need to have in place to best serve students’ differentiated learning styles? To what extent can we accommodate students with differences?
- Identify opportunities to integrate these programs in a synergistic fashion at all grade levels
- Identify and make recommendations regarding specific Signature Programs
Task Force Member List
Co-Chairs: Lisa Lisker & Brian Lamont
People (chaired by Lisa Lisker)
Faculty: Ann Bazzarone & Lola McCray
Programs (chaired by Brian Lamont)
Faculty: Naa-Adei Kotey, Abigail McKenzie
COMMUNITY & CONSTITUENT RELATIONS:
Co-Chairs: Randy Byrnes & Katie Evans
Faculty: Matt Philipp, Linda Okoth
GOVERNANCE & LEADERSHIP:
Co-Chairs: John Kudless & Tim Mitchell
Faculty: Harrell Rentz & Katie Evans
Co-Chairs: John Beatty & Bill Ennist
Faculty: Molly Tanner & Ann Westlake
Co-Chairs: Gary Rappaport, Mia Burton & Lisa Williams
Faculty: Julia Cardone, John Magner, Bridget Montagne
Co-Chairs: Jackie Copeland & Emily Sanderson
Faculty: Alex Lester, Tanya Salewski, Michele Velchik
September 2015: State of the School Presentation and Strategic Plan Rollout
On Tuesday, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. in the Olson Theater, we will convene as a community to discuss the culmination of our year-long Strategic Planning effort during a State of the School presentation. Members of the Flint Hill community will have the opportunity to join the Headmaster, Board of Trustees, Leadership Team and other parents, alumni, past parents, faculty, staff and friends on September 29 to discuss the Strategic Vision and the School’s plans for its implementation.
Online registration is available at www.flinthill.org/stateoftheschool. Hard copies of the Strategic Vision will be mailed to members of the Flint Hill community on September 21.
June 2015: Definition of Strategic Goals
Flint Hill must always be vigilant in keeping our program mission-driven and effective. The quality of academics, co-curricular programs, athletics and the arts must remain healthy and vigorous and – equally important – the School needs to maintain a safe and nurturing environment for the social and emotional growth of its students.
The world is changing rapidly and the questions we face in society are becoming increasingly complex. Thoughtful planning must ensure classroom support, enabling best practices and innovation to flourish while maintaining Flint Hill’s position of leadership in independent school education. Flint Hill’s reputation has been built on a student-centered and innovative academic program with a forward-thinking perspective and an innate understanding of differentiated learning styles, as well as by powerful intellectual, athletic and artistic emphases, and a commitment to service and civic engagement.
The thrust of Flint Hill’s Strategic Vision is the reinforced commitment to academic excellence, student and community engagement, and an intentional effort to build on our strengths and innovate in ways that keep education relevant and dynamic. Flint Hill will achieve this through the following strategic goals:
Goal I: A Dynamic Academic Program
Vibrant independent schools are able to build on their program strengths and innovate in ways that keep education relevant and dynamic. The world is changing rapidly and the questions we face in our society are becoming more complex. We must be aware of the capabilities our students will need to face such a world and the kind of education we need to offer.
Flint Hill attracts and retains the most passionate and qualified educators, adept at incorporating a variety of teaching strategies and tools, understanding of the wide range of cultural and societal influences at play, and committed to meeting the individual learning needs of every student.
Flint Hill balances rigor, creativity, innovation and student-led achievement to provide a multi-dimensional learning environment.
Flint Hill provides an educational experience that embeds the core School values into all facets of our academic program while emphasizing critical thinking, collaborative problem solving, creative expression, and cogent communication; fostering individual achievement and personal success for themselves and the world in which they will serve.
Goal II: A Transformative Student Experience
At Flint Hill, we recognize the need to ensure that students feel both free and safe to take meaningful risks. Intellectual independence, a knowledge of and belief in oneself, perseverance and passion are all elements we seek to encourage, inspire and foster in our students – providing each with the confidence, courage and skills they will need to succeed in college, and in life.
Flint Hill provides a balanced and well-rounded student experience that encourages participation in and among academics, athletics and the arts.
Flint Hill upholds a School culture in which adults and students alike model and reinforce our core values (respect, responsibility, honesty and compassion), fostering a mutually-supportive environment and a commitment to service to oneself and the world in which they will serve.
Flint Hill promotes an environment in which individuality is valued and appreciated.
Flint Hill generates School spirit by cultivating traditions that create opportunities to develop long lasting personal relationships, forge strong ties with our alumni, and enhance pride in and engagement with the School.
Goal III: An Engaged Community
Flint Hill is a community in which all constituents can contribute to the fulfillment of our mission, each benefitting from the full and enthusiastic participation of the others. Building and sustaining connections and philanthropic support with and among our students, faculty and staff, families, alumni, and our local and global community enriches and improves the learning environment and experience of our students.
Our students embrace and uphold the values of the School, arrive excited and ready to learn, welcome new experiences, exhibit a commitment to service and to becoming responsible global citizens, and are open to meet the challenges that each day offers.
Our faculty and staff model the core values of the School and support the mission, are passionate about their work and the role they play at Flint Hill, collaborate effectively with colleagues and with parents for the betterment of the students, foster a mutually supportive environment, and are committed to personal and professional growth and development.
Our alumni, as valued, vital and integral members of the Flint Hill community, are engaged in School life, serve as ambassadors of the institution, and actively further the mission and vision of the School through their involvement, advocacy and philanthropic support.
Our parents work in partnership with Flint Hill’s faculty and staff; uphold the School culture in a manner that is guided by a common understanding of the mission and core values; and demonstrate their commitment to the School in many ways through their volunteerism, advocacy, philanthropic support and dialogue, and by other means that promote the best interests of the students.
Goal IV: A Strong Model of Governance
Flint Hill is governed by a Board of Trustees who, working collectively and collaboratively, ensures the strength and sustainability of our School.
The Board of Trustees upholds the vision, mission and core values of Flint Hill School, adheres to sound governance principles, including prudent fiscal management, and hires and supports the Headmaster. Trustees advance these endeavors through their active service, thoughtful support, and development of a culture of philanthropy. They recognize the long tradition of excellence at the School and are committed to vigorously reinforcing it, believing the School should always be working toward continuous progress through thoughtful strategic planning, and regular assessment and evaluation.
Goal V: A Sustainable Future
Flint Hill operates with a prudent and long-range financial plan in order to ensure the School’s fiscal health, including, but not limited to, its ability to support institutional objectives and strategic initiatives, to steward its resources wisely, and to handle unanticipated challenges.
At Flint Hill, the Board of Trustees and administrative leadership understand that management of the School’s finances requires a balance of important considerations. The School must be able to compete for the very best faculty and staff; the value of tuition must be acknowledged as commensurate with the value delivered; and the school must be able to ensure access for a wide array of mission appropriate students to maintain its commitment to diversity in all its forms; the program must be rich and stimulating; campus and facilities maintenance and improvements must be made and monitored in a constant, consistent fashion, and; the school must maintain long-term financial stability.