St. Margaret’s Episcopal School leaders, Head of School Will Moseley and Assistant Head of School for Strategic Initiatives Ryan Dahlem, were invited to the National Association of Independent Schools headquarters in Washington D.C. by Chief Innovation Officer Tim Fish to participate in its first NAIS Strategy Lab Sandbox this fall with a handful of the most innovative schools across the country.
The NAIS Strategy Lab team identified seven schools for their innovative strategic practices, and invited them to collaborate, iterate and help design a prototype for the next phase of the Lab’s programming to support other independent schools implementing strategic initiatives. Strategy Lab is a think-tank arm of NAIS helping independent schools make strategic progress, solve pressing challenges and seize the right opportunities in order to live their missions and secure sustainable futures.
The Sandbox was designed to uncover important insights from leading schools on what contributes to successful implementation of new initiatives in the school environment. The school leaders each presented recent innovations from their respective schools and together looked for themes of innovation competencies and challenges in school areas including leadership, culture, processes and resources. St. Margaret’s presented the student-centered design thinking approach it uses to identify and implement school priorities, and highlighted several examples of change including the schoolwide schedule redesign implemented last school year.
“St. Margaret’s has moved away from a traditional strategic plan toward an ongoing innovation strategy that relies heavily on end-user feedback and continual iteration,” said Mr. Moseley. “We were very excited to participate in the NAIS Strategy Lab Sandbox, to share our innovation strategy with fellow schools, to learn from each other and to be a part of advancing the way schools across the nation enact change, evolve and grow.”
The next meeting of the Strategy Lab Sandbox will take place in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., in February 2020, when St. Margaret’s will host the same seven schools for further work together to co-create the next iteration of Strategy Lab open to all 1,800 NAIS schools.
Earlier this year, Mr. Moseley and Mr. Dahlem led two presentations at the National Association of Independent Schools annual conference
. The 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.