Dear Flint Hill School Families,
I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and that you were able to reflect on why this day is so important to all of us. Memorial Day is a special time to meditate on everyone who has served our country and especially those who were not able to come back or survive in that process. These are people who showed great commitment to the integrity of our way of life and people who had been willing to stand up to defend our great nation.
So often, when we talk about the great strength of our nation and of our School, you realize that it ultimately comes down to people, planning, the free flow of ideas, the building of momentum, excitement, and a sense of pride in all that we have accomplished. While our nation has done this for hundreds of years, our wonderful School has just completed a significant period of that same experience.
I am very proud to announce that during our recent Board meeting, the Board of Trustees voted and approved “Making a Difference: The Strategic Vision for Flint Hill School 2015-2020.” While the document will be posted on our School website in greater detail in the fall, later this week we will post a letter from the Chairman of the Board of Trustees Skip Coston, informing us of this tremendous step and describing the initiation of the plan and our commitment to key areas for which we have created specific goals.
The creation of the Strategic Plan has been a yearlong process. It started last year with the Parents Satisfaction Survey that you all so diligently filled out and returned in record numbers. Your feedback was thoughtful, informative and helpful as we began to look carefully at our School. In the fall, Round Table Open Discussions followed, which were attended by more than 120 parents and alumni. Ingrid Healy, who has been working with us tirelessly throughout this process, led all those meetings. Based on the insights provided by everyone who stepped forward, six Task Forces were created: STEM; Student Life; Community and Constituent Relations; Academic Excellence; Signature Programs; and Governance and Leadership. More than 50 people participated in the Task Forces, including Board members, School leadership, parents, alumni and faculty. The process allowed them to analyze what we were doing in each of those areas and provided an opportunity to make recommendations for what we could do to make things even better. Obviously, there was overlap, which helped us to determine the critical points we needed to focus on. This process culminated in February with a retreat, on the coldest day of the winter, during which nearly 100 participants identified strategic priorities for the School.
The Board ultimately refined that list into a clear focus for the next five years. Finally, a draft of these initiatives was produced and approved by the Board on May 20.
This has been an amazing step for Flint Hill and a true community effort. Everyone has had the opportunity, at some point, to speak up, share their thoughts, ideas, suggestions, impressions and ultimately show their love for the School by helping us plan the next phase in our history. It also has allowed us the chance to reflect on the huge responsibility that we all carry to educate our children in the best way possible. Everyone needed to participate to make it successful and that is exactly what happened. A huge thank you to all of you who gave so much of your time, for your thoughts and efforts and your commitment to actively participate to make this happen. It will be an exciting time next year as we roll out the initiatives and begin to address the action items that are ahead. Let’s never lose sight of the fact that the true beneficiaries of this entire process are the children… your children, the children who are here right now and the children who will follow them in the years to come. To use one of their favorite words today, it is an “awesome” responsibility but one of the most important, valuable, and exciting things we will ever do.
Each planning process is building one more layer on the foundation of excellence that really makes Flint Hill strong, viable and vibrant. We had an aggressive schedule this School year. Special thanks need to go to Katie Evans and everyone in the Development Team for the enormous amount of work they produced to help make all happen. And to our tremendous Board of Trustees for their vision, stewardship and leadership.
Please continue to keep an eye on the Strategic Planning area of the website for updates and be ready for the rollout of the plan in the fall. The Driving Spirit and the sense of momentum we all cherish here will always be with us. If I can help you in any way possible as we move into this new phase, please do not hesitate to call on me.
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas