Dear Flint Hill School Families,
I hope everyone had a tremendous Thanksgiving and a chance to enjoy a much-deserved and much-needed break from normal routines.
As we get back to school, you can feel the level of energy picking up. We are now moving into the holiday season and with that, a host of events to lead us into Winter Break. From Thursday’s Percussion Concert to athletics events and upcoming exams, there are a number of activities to round out the year.
At the same time, there is an enormous amount of energy behind the scenes as we bring balance to a number of key efforts all at once. Some of you may recall the movie “Ben-Hur” with Charlton Heston. It was one of my favorite movies growing up, and I especially loved the chariot race. I have a vivid image in my head, of the School in a chariot, with four horses charging ahead — granted the image is a little off with huskies standing in the chariot box — and I can relate them to some specific aspects of our School.
One horse is our Strategic Vision. Our faculty and staff finished their work over the Thanksgiving break and have targeted some exciting initiatives that make the Strategic Vision more robust. They were very deliberate, thoughtful and strategic in looking forward to some of the great initiatives we can bring to our students.
The second horse is the Campus Master Plan. Our architect has met with every faculty and staff member, a representative group of our parents, the Board of Trustees, and our students. He has also been hard at work with the Campus Master Planning Committee to identify basic priorities as we look to the future. All of that is coming to fruition very quickly and reflects the vision and passion that is being generated by the Strategic Vision.
The third horse is our enrollment management consultant. For more than a year, we have been working with an enrollment management consultant, Brian Zucker. He has worked with countless colleges and universities all over the country and his reputation is impeccable. Flint Hill is the first secondary school that he has worked with. Brian’s very thorough examination of this part of the country and our unique market is just the start of an ongoing conversation. He has shared some incredible data and now we need to determine where that data is going to lead us. You may be surprised to know that:
- 90% of our families come from a 12-mile radius.
- Within a 35-mile radius (also a part of our catchment area), there are 1,100 public schools and more than 150 private and parochial schools. That is an enormous array of options for families and brings into focus our challenge to make sure that our value proposition is clear and significant.
The fourth horse is our focus on building a culture of philanthropy. We are taking a very strong and direct approach to philanthropy, sharing our story more openly, and getting out and talking more directly to parents and alumni about the Flint Hill Fund and the value that it offers to every child here at school each and every day. Our parents have provided a tremendous amount of feedback on how pleased they are with the experience their children are having. We also have seen that in our retention numbers at the end of nearly every year and yet, our parent participation in the Flint Hill Fund was at 53% last year. It ranks well below the norm when compared to our peer schools, who are consistent between 80 and 90%. Our focus this year is on getting that participation number up to where it needs to be. Our faculty and staff came in at 100% on September 21, our Board of Trustees is right at that level, and our Parent Board is nearly there. I believe our parent body can achieve that same level of commitment. We must remember that we are all doing this for the benefit of our students.
Those “four horses” are charging ahead at full speed and I find it very exciting! As each of these initiatives comes to fruition, we will continue to keep you updated. Please join me in celebrating this amazing school as we work hard to keep a balance in all that we are doing. Let’s keep the smiles on everyone’s faces, keep that Husky pride in our hearts and constantly bring ourselves back to our vision of what we want for our students: Take meaningful risks. Be yourself. Make a difference. It is an exciting time to be at Flint Hill! We are thrilled that you and your family are key members of our team!
I look forward to seeing you at the concerts and games ahead. Go Huskies!
Best wishes to you!
John M. Thomas