St. Margaret’s school leaders shared insight into the school’s innovative and leading approaches to strategic planning with independent school educators from across the country last week, as members of the National Association of Independent Schools gathered for their annual conference in Long Beach. St. Margaret’s administrators led five different workshops and sessions on strategic planning, mission-driven assessment and health and wellness over the three-day conference focused on “reimagining independent schools.”
Head of School Will Moseley and Assistant Head of School for Strategic Initiatives Ryan Dahlem together led two presentations centered around St. Margaret’s innovative use of the design thinking methodology in schools, putting student needs at the center of the process to conceptualize and implement strategic initiatives. Their presentation was selected from 800 submissions to be included in the conference. The conference committee also identified St. Margaret’s as one of the 10 most innovative schools in the nation, and invited Mr. Moseley and Mr. Dahlem to present in the “Speed Innovating” workshop on school transformations.
In the two sessions, they detailed the school’s reimagined approach to strategic plan implementation through design thinking, including ethnographic research, ideation, prototyping and testing with students. They also walked through several case study examples of the results: the new school schedule, virtual reality, service learning, interdisciplinary studies grants and the innovation block life-skills courses.
“It was an honor to share the efforts that are leading St. Margaret’s into the future with colleagues from across the nation as they look to strategic planning work in their own schools,” said Mr. Moseley. “The wonderful turnout to our sessions and the positive responses we have received are very affirming, and a result of the vision set forth by our Board of Trustees and the school-wide engagement of our professional community in this ongoing work.”
Mr. Moseley also led a pre-conference half-day retreat for National Association for Episcopal Schools heads of school, exploring the topic “Why Schools Do Not Change Like a Business: Managing School Change Within a Fluid Environment.” The workshop was designed to reflect on the nature of school headship and its intersection with spiritual life.
Upper School Principal Jeneen Graham was also a presenter, as a part of the California Association of Independent Schools Assessment Think Tank. The team shared “Creating a Mission-Driven Assessment System: Lessons from the Assessment Think Tank,” which analyzes member schools’ assessment use and trends in assessment-related major recommendations from the accreditation process. In the session, Dr. Graham shared St. Margaret’s approach to data and how it drives decision-making.
In total, 20 members of St. Margaret’s professional community attended the 2019 NAIS Annual Conference, engaging in workshops and other professional-development.