Since passing the NEASC reaccreditation process, a team of KO board members, administrators, faculty, and staff have been tasked to gather data from the constituents of the school community to recommend specific steps the school should take in the next five years.
With the goal of presenting ideas for a strategic plan, the team is led by Director of the Middle School Ann Sciglimpaglia and Board of Trustees member, alumna, and parent Mary Martin, and is made up of Head of School Tom Dillow, Head of the Upper School Dan Gleason, Assistant Head of School for External Affairs Zaira Santiago, Assistant Athletic Trainer Julie Richardson, English teacher Ron Monroe, physics teacher Kathleen DiSanto, Middle School English teacher Anastasia Quinn, Executive Assistant to Head of School Sherri Malinowski, and Board of Trustees members Meg Becker and Mark Conrad.
Ms. Sciglimpaglia said that the team is not there to make any decisions. “Our job is simply to facilitate conversations to elicit feedback, and gather all that data,” she said. The team has already had some sessions with the board, faculty, seniors, and parents. The sessions included different visioning exercises with the groups, such as brainstorming what headlines people would want to see about KO years from now. “We will take that information, simplify it, analyze it and start to draft a strategy on one page with our vision for the school,” Ms. Sciglimpaglia said. The team will also continue to meet with constituents, as well as the alumni and parents.
Ms. Martin said that the team is trying to be as open as possible. “We want to be transparent, and it is something we want people to know about,” she said. Mr. Monroe said that the work the team is doing is certainly important. “We are providing info for the board that could very well dictate the programmatic direction of the school,” he said. The team’s main objective is to present their vision for the school to the Board of Trustees on Jan. 30, when the board will vote on whether or not to implement the vision. Once that gets approved, then the real work will start.
Ms. Martin said that the team has been doing a great job thus far. “Because we have representation from a good cross section of the community, everybody has a good perspective of the school, and together we have got it covered,” she said. “The group is so invested in the school and cares deeply about it.” Ms. Quinn said she agrees that the team is doing some great work. “I think that it’s important to have a vision to work towards,” she said. “KO is an amazing community that does amazing work, but we don’t want to become complacent in that and it’s important that we hear from the community that sees our next steps in becoming even better.”
Ms. Sciglimpaglia said that this is about moving the school forward. “We want everybody to know what a great school this is, and continue to improve as a school.” she said. “You have to think strategically and have to think towards the future. Schools have to evolve in order to continue to improve, and this will help everybody on campus understand this is what we are going to do next.”
Dr. Gleason said that the team has been asking questions, such as: Where are we and where do we want to go as a school? What is the best way for students to learn? “The strategic design team is a very inclusive process because we are buying into the wisdom of the community,” he said. “We are a sounding board for all these people and our job is to help define KO’s vision and clarify our definition as a school.” Ms. Quinn said she is really proud of the work the team has done and will continue to do.
“We are really excited about the data we have collected and synthesising the trends has been really powerful and exciting,” she said.
Overall, the strategic planning meeting have been a success.