The Process of Putting Our Mission Into Words

Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: February 8th, 2019
Brendan Largay, Head of School

Last week in this space, I wrote about the AISNE accreditation 5-year visit. The team spent the better part of Monday visiting with us and left offering kind words about the thoughtful work being done, both in response to the AISNE recommendations and, more broadly, at our school. It is always great to have an opportunity to showcase the school to folks from outside the campus, and Monday felt particularly good in light of all the work the school has done in the past five years.

Recommendation 5 encourages us to take a fresh look at our Statement of Purpose—a powerful, important, and long-standing artifact for our school. We will approach this recommendation by engaging a mission subcommittee of the strategic planning committee to author the school’s first mission statement through an inclusive, community-wide process scheduled to take place over the next four months.

Last night at the annual board-faculty dinner and again this morning at the parents’ association meeting, we started this process by looking to the future, and imagining what might be on the minds of our school community in 2027, when the centennial graduates of Belmont Day will receive their diplomas. Then we considered where we are today. In an exercise designed by the Greenwich Leadership Partners and Stephanie Rogen, we filled countless sticky notes and ‘big paper’ with a wonderful diversity of thought and opinion among the various constituencies represented at the dinner—trustees, faculty, parents, and alumni.

We considered the following:

  • How will parents, alumni, faculty, and students describe their BDS experience in 2027?
  • What will have changed since the winter of 2019?
  • What will have been preserved? Why?

We also looked at where we are today:

  • What is the educational promise we make to families in 2019?
  • What approaches to learning are we putting forth?
  • What unique or special learning opportunities do we promote?
  • What do we say about our culture and community through our traditions, our school-wide events, or our board, parent, and faculty committees?

The answers were far-ranging but entirely fulfilling. They were a testament to the passionate belief in all that we aspire to do here on behalf of children, and always kept the experience of our students at the fore.

What comes next will be a design-oriented process of data gathering, discovery, brainstorming, iteration, prototyping, and testing our results. We will begin the initial drafting process next week at the committee level and bring our ideas back to the community multiple times throughout the spring. Most notably, keep an eye on the March calendar for some focus group opportunities to offer your feedback and insight into our work. Ultimately, the goal of the subcommittee will be to have a draft to submit to the board for consideration at the end of the school year. Between now and then, we will need your help and will be asking for it frequently.

Thank you in advance for your hard work. And have a great weekend.

P.S. Patriots. Super Bowl Champs. That means our eighth grade students will have witnessed ten local professional sports championships in their young lifetimes. Not bad.

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