On behalf of our Board of Trustees, I want to share how grateful I am to the over 500 members of our school community who participated in focus groups, and the community survey, as part of our strategic planning process. The strong level of participation speaks to our community’s sense of engagement and commitment to having their voices included in this critical part of school governance.
As I shared with participants at our recent retreat, the content of our last strategic plan provided me with the knowledge that the Roeper community had worked collaboratively to outline its central areas of focus, and that, while everyone might not have had their particular issue included, the overall content of the plan reflected the consensus of the community. I could move forward as the new incoming Head of School knowing that the strategic plan reflected the collective will of the community. That knowledge allowed us to move forward together on significant initiatives ranging from financial equity issues and capital improvements, to curricular development and the construction of critical core documents.
In our most recent work, I am pleased to share that your insights, thoughts, and ideas have been heard, and we are spending time reviewing the community’s comments. We are excited to take that data into the next stage of the planning process.
This past Saturday, January 27, 2018, our consultants from Triangle Associates worked with our Board and representative members of our community on this next phase. A 60-person committee participated in a day-long retreat that focused on essential strategic questions that came from our data collection in the focus group meetings and surveys.
The conversations were reflective, thought-provoking, and above all – strategic. Participants thought deeply about Roeper’s future – not just over the next 5 years, but how does Roeper prepare for the “unknown future” that George and Annemarie talked about in the philosophy. This is a time for us to think about our financial resources, our intellectual capital, and the core tenets that guide our practices. The committee looked at information shared by the community, and statistical information and demographic data on our region and industry to think about what Roeper will look like when our children’s children are students in our school.
All of the information contained in the written surveys and focus group sessions was reviewed by the Board’s Committee on Strategic Planning. As with previous surveys, the Roeper community was incredibly generous in sharing its thoughts and suggestions. We are a community that loves language, and we are not shy about taking advantage of narrative opportunities to share. Know that all of the information provided was read, and considered through the lens of strategic governance topics or operational content. If a comment was seen as operational in nature, and not strategic, the data was sent to me for review, and where possible, addressed by our administrative team. As a school leader, I am keenly aware, that any opportunity to hear the thoughts of such a broad span of our community must not be lost. The narratives I received, while not strategic, certainly provide valuable guidance for bettering our school, and I am grateful for the time and effort taken to write and share those thoughts.
The Board’s Strategic Planning Committee will now work through the new data they collected from the full day retreat, and begin to develop the key elements that will form strategic areas of focus. This narrowing of data is a critical period of drafting where we will work to stay broad and strategic in our goals knowing that action steps will certainly attach to these initiatives when we move forward. There is a great deal of work ahead of us, and we will be sharing updates with you as we move to next steps. Our timeline for the project is to bring the final document before the Board for ratification this year, and to share it with the community as a final draft after that approval.
As we work to shepherd this amazing institution into its next 75 years, I want to invite you to join me on Thursday evening February 8, 2018 at 6:30pm in the Bloomfield Hills Campus Children’s Library for our annual State of the School presentation. I will be joined by Board Chair Buck Baker, and Board Chair-Designate Ashley Lowe as we discuss the strategic plan, the school’s budget, and key initiatives that we are working on right now. The evening is a time to learn about the different levels of complexity that go into the governance and operation of our school. I hope you will make time to join us for this important meeting.