While 2023 is still fresh, we begin together the work of articulating our next comprehensive strategic plan for Matthews Hall. In the world of business and non-profits, the concept of a “strat plan” is not new. They are considered essential for organizations to be able to realize their goals for the future. Like a roadmap, a good strategic plan charts the course for all stakeholders over a specified time period.
Our last fulsome strategic plan was an ambitious undertaking that set several goals for the development of our campus and program. It concluded in 2020 just in time for the onset of a global pandemic during a year to remember. At the time, we had scheduled sessions in place to initiate the strategic planning process, but it was necessarily put on hold while we (and the rest of the world!) focused on the priority of ensuring our people were supported to the best of our ability. As we moved forward during this interregnum, we engaged the help of Mr. Bob Snowden, consultant and a former long-serving CAIS Head of School, who is currently assisting us with this process.
Beginning with a review of our School’s mission, vision, and values which started last June, we are nearing the point when a fresh, invigorated plan will be shared across our whole school community. The ultimate goal of this process will be the articulation of the priorities and plans for our school over the next several years.
Properly understood, the work of developing a strategic plan is the responsibility of the Board of Governors, who are entrusted with safeguarding and advancing the mission and vision of our school into the future. And not just for next year, but for the next generation of children who will call Matthews Hall home long after all of our current students have graduated. I am very thankful for the Board, its committee members, our faculty, staff, parents and all stakeholders who will have contributed to this process by the time our new plan is ratified later this year.
The ultimate purpose of any strategic plan is to ensure the success of the organization. In order to achieve this success, it’s important to know what success means. A school with a strategy can monitor its progress toward such success (i.e., key outcomes) and evaluate where and how it may get off track from time to time. With a plan in place, we have a roadmap which we can track, evaluate, and modify to facilitate better governance decisions and provide direction for the future of our school.
In complex organizations like schools, communication of the plan is critical, so that everyone understands his or her responsibilities and departments are effective in coordinating their efforts. As an additional benefit, the plan helps with advancement and donor engagement – a crucial element that ensures the strength and permanence of any independent school. A well implemented and communicated plan also holds all stakeholders accountable and encourages collaboration. This is so vital to our work as a community.
Best of all, our strategic planning efforts will provide a framework to ensure that the most important priority of our school – the students – are taken care of today and tomorrow.
Thank you for your input and participation, as we map out next steps together.
Ric Anderson, Head of School