Strategic Plan Year 3 Update: 2018-2019 Achievements and Exciting Next Steps
By Ryan Dahlem, Assistant Head of School for Strategic Initiatives
St. Margaret’s aspirational Strategic Plan continued to guide innovation across all areas of campus in the 2018-2019 school year. The professional community executed action steps created through the Design Thinking process to achieve larger Strategic Plan goals identified by the Board of Trustees. Now in its third full year of implementation, the Strategic Plan remains alive as ever and is driven by the engagement and creativity of the professional community.
The following is a summary of achievements on strategic initiatives during 2018-2019 and a preview of next steps in each of these important areas.
Health and Wellness
The redesigned school schedule launched with overwhelmingly positive feedback and measurable improvements in student sleep habits and perception about the schedule’s impact on academic and co-curricular pursuits.
Parent education was aligned with the health and wellness initiative. The PTF Parent Up Speaker Series presented visiting experts in sleep, technology use and mental health.
The Social Institute was brought to campus to engage students and parents in positive uses of technology, particularly social media
The Assessment, Intervention and Care Committee (AICC) was formed to identify and support students with significant social and emotional needs
The Magnus Health System data was used to identify student health trends
Next Steps: student engagement survey selected through Stanford University’s Challenge Success program to better understand daily experience of students and measure progress in health and wellness initiatives; formal partnership entered with Social Institute to expand social media education; homework analysis conducted to assess volume and relevancy; programming developed in purpose, meaning and goal setting to help students pursue larger intentions around purposeful lives and their impact on the world.
Next Steps: New courses approved for 2019-2020 in architecture, artificial intelligence, advanced engineering and research methods in American studies and social movements; Innovation Grants 3.0 expanded to include funding for creation of interdisciplinary, cross-divisional and experiential curriculum; Innovation Block mini-classes expanded to grades 9 and 10.
STEAM and Entrepreneurship
Girls in STEAM Symposium expanded to a full-day event with more than 100 students attending from throughout Southern California
Tartan Tank Incubator Pilot provided guidance and support for students interested in taking next steps with innovative solutions beyond class requirements
Innovation Block mini-courses were offered on start-ups and personal finance
Next Steps: VR programming class offered in grade 7, robotics programs expanded and supported through dedicated robotics space in Library, STEAM curriculum developed for Lower School Outdoor Classroom, mySMES implemented to consolidate and enhance student user experience with learning management systems.
Cultural Competency and Global Education
Director of Equity and Inclusion Victor Cota concluded a highly successful first year in new position
The Equity Team was formed with focused subcommittees on a PK-12 cultural-competency framework, professional development, culturally responsive teaching, hiring and retention, and data and measurement
A survey was administered to the professional community to assess areas of strength and pathways for growth
Language and Culture Day was expanded to include opportunities for celebrating all cultures including and beyond Spanish, Chinese and Latin in the world languages department
World Leadership School educator pilot will run in Costa Rica in summer 2019
Initial discussions held regarding St. Margaret's international partnership or campus
Next Steps: Develop and implement action plans from Equity Team subcommittees; Spanish III course in Salamanca, Spain planned for summer 2020.
Experiential and Service Learning
New Upper School service-learning model based on consistent relationships expanded to Grade 10
Next Steps: Upper School service-learning model expands to grades 11 and 12; annual all-school service-learning project formalized with culmination at spring Eucharist; many Innovation Grants funded to support development of experiential lessons and activities where students are learning by doing.
Professional Development funding was aligned with Strategic Plan goals
In-service days were split between all-school and divisions based on feedback from the professional community
Professional community office colleagues were included during in-service days
The professional development budget increased a sustainable 3.2 percent
Feedback trajectory regarding relevance and application of content is positive across the two divisional in-service days
Next Steps: On-site professional development through Stanley H. King Institute for Middle and Upper School advisors; enhanced professional development resources.
Second phase of Upper School renovation completed fall 2018
Construction of new Upper School science lab completed fall 2018
Creation of Lower School STEAM Center including remodeled science classroom, ICE Lab and CUBE completed fall 2018
Construction of new Lower School Outdoor Classroom completed fall 2018
Significant endowment growth to $12.6 million
Communications strategy prioritized on strategic initiatives
Next Steps: Renovation of Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC); relocation of Wee Tartan Center to ECDC; remodel of Library space including construction of dedicated robotics lab; construction of front entrance monument; construction of maintenance and transportation center.