2020 Strategic Plan
Dear Frederica Academy Families,
A school’s Strategic Plan is a critical tool that guides a board in setting a budget and making decisions on policy issues. In its Trustee Handbook, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) states that a board of trustees is charged with two primary responsibilities: overseeing the Head of School and the overall, long-term strategic and fiscal viability of the school. Most Frederica Academy Board of Trustees meetings are focused on looking at reports from Admission, Advancement, and Finance in order to assess the financial health and sustainability of the school. The board is responsible for supporting the mission, thinking strategically about the policies it sets by the decisions it makes, and promoting a bright future for the school. The board periodically reviews and updates the Strategic Plan. This document is the result of such a review that was conducted during the school year 2019-2020.
Two circumstances made this an ideal time for Frederica Academy to take a deliberate and thoughtful look at the strengths of the school, where there are opportunities for improvement, and where the school would like to be positioned in the future. First, Frederica Academy had a new Head of School who brought perspectives and ideas and would be able to reinforce all that the school is doing well. In addition, Frederica Academy is in the process of conducting the self-study portion of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) re-accreditation process. Each of these situations encourage a careful review of all aspects of the school.
In August of 2017, the Frederica Academy Board initiated the search for a new head of school by appointing a Search Committee. This committee began meeting to identify the characteristics that were being sought in a new Head of School and developed materials about the school to introduce potential candidates to Frederica Academy. The Search set the tone for developing the current Strategic Plan. The various items contained in this document represent a roadmap that will guide the board and the administrative Leadership Team in the coming years. It will inform budget development as well as policy decisions and new initiatives.
Scott Hutchinson’s introductory letter summarizes the process that has this Strategic Plan in a position to be shared with stakeholders. We join Scott in inviting you to read this Plan and encourage you to share your comments with us.
Greer Brown, Board of Trustees, Chair
Susan Myers, Board of Trustees Strategic Planning Committee, Chair
Dear Frederica Academy Family and Prospective Stakeholders,
Healthy schools recognize the importance of being prepared for the future by planning with creativity and collective vision. The challenges of operating an independent day school have become increasingly complex with each passing year. A wide range of external and internal factors requires an institution to reexamine periodically its mission and goals. External factors vary from evolving technologies, the economic climate, demographics, societal values, family demands, and even the recent pandemic. Internal demands include the financial state of a school, a school’s ability to attract and retain excellent administrators, faculty, and staff; the affordability of tuition; and the depth and breadth of programs.
A strategic plan enables a school community to reaffirm its priorities and to reassess its needs and strengths. Those involved in the planning scrutinize each facet of school life and determine where and how improvements might be made. A strategic plan is a document to guide the Board of Trustees and the administration as they continue to identify appropriate and impactful goals and strategies for the school’s future.
This strategic plan is the cumulative result of more than a few streams of suggestions, both formal and informal. A Board-appointed ad hoc committee, comprised of Board and Leadership Team members, served as the central group through which all ideas were presented and vetted. Work began with Leadership Team and Board retreats last summer before engaging the entire faculty and staff and the parent body with the Strategic Plan survey earlier this year. The Board’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Leadership Team carefully reviewed the survey results to identify themes that could be incorporated into the draft plan; and from that analysis and those conversations, a plan was presented to the full Board for final approval and adoption.
The final document is structured to reflect three critical and distinct elements of our school’s plan going forward.
The Stewardship portion of the plan identifies best practices that must occur consistently in the daily operations of the school. Those practices anchor the school’s policies and programs and form the bedrock of our culture.
The Action portion of the plan identifies sixteen specific initiatives or special events that are essential for the continued growth and development of the school. The timeline for these initiatives, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, was one year. That timeline is being revisited in the context of a better understanding of the pandemic’s duration.
The third portion of the plan is the Vision segment, and that identifies initiatives to be begun and hopefully completed within the 2-4 year range.
In each case for all three parts, the specific responsibility for managing the completion of the initiative is identified in the plan; in general, most of the work to implement the plan falls to the Leadership Team and the Head of School, who will periodically report to the Board on the work progress.
On behalf of all those who collaborated to create this 2020 Strategic Plan, I invite you to peruse the document and become acquainted with its contents. It will serve as a blueprint for institutional growth at Frederica Academy going forward.
Scott L. Hutchinson, Head of School