From the Desk of of the Head of School - January 26, 2018
The strongest institutions in the world - whether they are small businesses, corporate giants, or even families - thrive on reflection and discourse. This year, we have utilized valuable time together as a faculty in order to preserve discourse as a sacred part of our strategic planning process. The teaching profession in the classroom can often be a solitary experience for an educator. Only by creating and valuing the time and space to come together and discuss how our practices, policies, and beliefs align with our mission can we guarantee that Harding is the best school it can be for every single student who calls us home. Our Wednesday time together this year has facilitated this work and we are so grateful for it.
Starting next week, we will be sending out weekly updates that focus on the work of the school committees that have been meeting weekly during Late Start Wednesday. These emails will feature a brief video touching on the highlights of each committee’s work thus far and will link to a more in-depth summary that can be found on CompassNet. As a part of each of these updates, we will provide a forum for feedback. I encourage you to let us know what you think.
This year, our school committees are reflecting and recording their thought process regarding the Road Map outlined at the State of the School address last May. These priorities originated from over 250 conversations I had with various members of the Harding Academy community.
School committees have been an integral piece of the growth of the school since the late 1990s. This year, each committee is made up of approximately fifteen faculty and staff from across grade levels, subject, and specialties. Within each committee are small groups called teams. The teams are intentionally placed within each committee so that ideas can be cross-pollinated and efficiencies can be found. You can see the topic of each committee as well as what each team is focusing on in the chart below:
The key purpose of the teams is to unpack the problem or task they see ahead, define the value of the work we are engaging in, and empathize with our end user (the student). This work involves research, investigating other programs, and conversation - essentially a deep dive to understand the challenge and recommend an early approach for Harding Academy that aligns with our mission and core values.
As the teams come back together under their committees, the work of the larger group is to prioritize the programs/models and find ways to synthesize the work of the teams of the committees. At that point we begin to brainstorm ideas for the most promising models that can meet the charge of each committee. Finally, we will identify one or two key initiatives out of the committees to focus on over the course of next year. We look forward to sharing this collaborative work with you.