Realizing the Promise - Buckingham Friends School's Strategic Plan

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Buckingham Friends School’s Strategic Plan


Buckingham Friends School’s Strategic Plan September 2019

VISION OF BFS IN 2024 Buckingham Friends School is the regional leader in preserving the spirit of youth while preparing diverse global citizens to engage with confidence and thrive in a changing world.



Dear Friend of Buckingham Friends School, In the fall of 2018, we came together as a community to embark on a long-range strategic planning process designed to reaffirm our mission, to articulate our core values, and to create a shared vision for the future of our school. We were guided in our efforts by an independent consultant who wrote the book on strategic planning for independent schools; championed by our School Board; and supported by hundreds of faculty and staff, current and former parents, students, alumni, and friends of the School who participated in surveys, roundtable discussions, and a strategic planning visioning day. It was a truly collaborative effort embraced by a thoughtful and engaged community that values children, education, and the future of our school. The result is a restated mission—“Buckingham Friends School honors the Light within each person, inspires scholarship and spiritual community, and instills the value of caring for others and our world”—and a shared vision that is as bold as the goals we have set for ourselves around community, teaching and learning, enrollment, and stewardship of our resources. The strategic framework outlined in this book is just the first phase of our work. The Administration, in concert with a number of faculty and Board committees, is now in the process of further developing the plans and the initiatives that will guide our efforts in the years to come. Overseeing this next phase and the ongoing implementation of our plan will be a newly-charged Strategic Planning Committee of the Board. Our vision for the future dares to imagine us as a school “that is the regional leader in preserving the spirit of youth while preparing diverse global citizens to engage with confidence and thrive in a changing world.” We hope that every member of the BFS community will continue this journey with us and help realize the promise that exists within every child, and at this extraordinary school. Sincerely,

Paul Lindenmaier Head of School PAGE 3



ANITA JENSEN Trustee; Co-Clerk, Strategic Planning Committee; Executive Committee; Current Parent; Alumni Parent

GINA ALVAREZ Current Parent; Alumni Parent

PAUL LINDENMAIER Head of School; Ex-Officio, all Board Committees ROBERT ROOP Trustee; Co-Clerk, Strategic Planning Committee; Executive Committee; Clerk, Physical Plant Committee; Alumni Parent

OLIVIA BRANGAN Trustee; Committee on Trustees; Current Parent; Alumni Parent MELISSA CLAYTON Director of Admissions and Financial Aid; Alumni Parent KATELYNN CONNOLLY Director of Advancement; Current Parent JENNIFER GIBSON Fourth Grade Teacher; Current Parent MICHAEL GODSHALL Trustee; Clerk of the Board of Trustees; Ex-Officio, all Board Committees; Alumni Parent LINDA KAMEL School Counselor; Mindfulness Teacher


AMY KAUFMAN Current Parent KAREN KEMP Math Teacher; Sixth Grade Advisor

CONSULTANT: CHRISTINA DROUIN Founder and President, Center for Strategic Planning

CHRIS KERR Trustee; Committee on Trustees; Alumni Parent LISA PRETCRUM Trustee; Executive Committee; Clerk, Finance Committee; Alumni Parent JESSE SANDBERG ’03 Alumnus GROVER STULTS Former Trustee; Alumni Parent STEPHANIE THLIVERIS Science and Mindfulness Teacher; Eighth Grade Advisor MATT ZELESKO Current Parent; Alumni Parent


MISSION Buckingham Friends School honors the Light within each person, inspires scholarship and spiritual community, and instills the value of caring for others and our world. Approved by the Board of Trustees – December 12, 2018

EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY As a Friends school, we believe that each individual contributes in unique and important ways to our community. As educators, we nurture the inherent promise of each student, demonstrate our faith in their abilities, and challenge them to develop the motivation and discipline necessary for personal, social, and academic success. We teach for life inside and outside the classroom through projects and experiences relevant to the reality of today and the potential of tomorrow. Each student is expected to take responsibility for their work; to strive for high levels of achievement; and to participate fully in a variety of academic, artistic, and athletic pursuits. We foster a loving and structured environment in which young people look forward to being together, and where accomplishment becomes a shared celebration. We encourage children to maintain a balanced approach to life, to view mistakes as learning experiences, and to address challenges with creativity and confidence. Our students work hard, respect themselves, recognize each other’s humanity, and welcome the diversity of society—building self-awareness and a set of personal values that will guide their contributions to the local and global community for the rest of their lives. Affirmed by the faculty – June 17, 2019


VALUES Rooted in the beliefs and traditions of Quakers, our values as a Friends school guide us to engage members of the school community in the shared responsibility of honoring the Light within each person and fostering the growth, individual talents, and passions of every student. Inspirational Academics – We promote academic achievement within an environment of experiential learning to inspire curiosity, creativity, critical and analytical thinking, communication skills, and collaboration. We strive to meet high standards, to remain agile and innovative, and respect individual approaches to thinking and learning. Individual Character and Personal Integrity – We foster originality, honor and encourage each voice, and recognize that the development of an authentic, confident self provides the foundation for realizing personal fulfillment and success as a learner. Caring for Others – Guided by the principles of friendship, we educate young citizens and awaken a strong local and global consciousness, a commitment to peace, and an ability to understand and contribute meaningfully and substantively to our diverse, changing world. Connected Community – We cultivate a joyful, involved, and inclusive community devoted to kindness, respect, and establishing trust and accountability. Together, we invest in the success and the well-being of each child, family, and one another. Stewards of Our World – We engage community members in service work and teach the importance and responsibility of environmental sustainability. We believe it is essential to connect, collaborate, and make a positive impact on our world for present and future generations. Spirituality and Wellness – We embrace the quality of our spiritual community and strive to ensure the physical, social, and emotional health of each person. Our intention is to encourage selfawareness, mindfulness, confidence, empathy, and compassion. We understand that a sustained, balanced approach is vital to being a healthy and productive individual and member of society. Approved by the Board of Trustees – December 12, 2018





By 2024, BFS will have expanded and enhanced the quality of our community. We are a connected community of engaged parents, impassioned educators, inspired learners, dedicated trustees, supportive former families and students, members of Buckingham Monthly Meeting, and like-minded friends. We have much to learn, much to give, and much to share. We are known for the shared values we hold and stand for, the powerful actions we take, and the unique contributions we make. We value the process of learning, as well as the growth that comes through exploration and collaboration. We strive to understand, celebrate, and expand the diversity that makes us who we are, and hold that knowledge as global citizens of the world. As a Friends school, our mark on the community is distinct; our place as a good neighbor recognized; and our role as an educational leader in our community deeply valued. Strategies: To reach this goal over the next five years, we will‌ A. increase opportunities for constituent engagement with one another, the School, and its Quaker ideals. B. actively and visibly increase awareness of, celebrate, and share BFS’s Quaker ideals. C. engage all constituents in new and meaningful initiatives that increase diversity and inclusivity. D. invest in becoming a leader and valued community partner in the pursuit of social justice and service on campus, locally, and globally. E. strengthen adult awareness of childhood, child development, and parenting practices.



Student Achievement


By 2024, BFS will have adapted and innovated to optimize student achievement. Exceptional teachers inspire, shape, and impact each student in meaningful ways that extend well beyond the classroom. They invest in the success of their students, often with life changing effect. It is in this spirit that we support our dedicated faculty with the tools they need to be energetic, informed, agile, innovative, and creative thought leaders— positive influencers in the lives of our students. Our dynamic curriculum is a magnet for minds that can and will make a difference. Our commitment to excellence attracts and engages passionate individuals who are born to teach. They don’t just share knowledge– they share wisdom. They cultivate awareness and originality, instill confidence and model compassion—making the BFS experience one that prepares young people to become globally engaged, emotionally intelligent leaders. Strategies: To reach this goal over the next five years, we will… A. implement evidence-based and innovative pedagogies using an adaptive and dynamic curriculum that is aligned across grade levels and disciplines, and infused with Quaker values and thoughtfully integrated technology. B. invest in technologies that incorporate whole child Gen Z focused teaching and learning. C. increase BFS’s investment in equipping faculty to continuously improve, develop, and innovate as professionals. D. expand and enhance co-curricular and extra-curricular offerings. E. expand and enhance innovative outdoor and experiential education spaces. F. prioritize, expand, and promote programs and practices that benefit whole child growth in a changing environment.





By 2024, BFS will have achieved full enrollment. Our future strength and vitality as a school is contingent on our ability to increase enrollment to capacity. For the BFS community to grow, we believe it is crucial that we build awareness and understanding of the value of a BFS education. We must identify the differentiating factors that define BFS in order to stand out in a market filled with a multitude of public and independent school options, then invest in planning and action steps that address recruitment and retention. By clarifying our statement of educational philosophy, we will unite our teachers around our shared beliefs and what we stand for as educators. We strive to shake off the burden of being the “best kept secret in Bucks County,” and to be seen as a school of choice because of our commitment to celebrate the spirit of youth and steward the promise of each individual to build an engaged learning community. Strategies: To reach this goal over the next five years, we will… A. build awareness and understanding of the value of BFS starting with the successful launch of our brand. B. develop, fund, and implement an integrated marketing communications plan. C. create, fund, and implement a three-year enrollment management plan that addresses recruitment and retention. D. expand reach into promising new markets. E. develop and implement a sustainable tuition model that increases financial accessibility. F. increase number and reach of feeder programs.





By 2024, BFS will have stewarded all its resources – financial, campus, and talent – for a sustainable future. The foundation for long-term health is built on thoughtful strategic planning, the ability to attract and retain exemplary teachers, the stewardship of our facilities and campus, fundraising success, and sound financial management. For all of our resources to be stable and sustainable we must create a plan that not only reflects the realities of today, but supports our vision for teaching and learning, as well as the future of our facilities and 44-acre campus. This goal drives us to actively identify, measure, and implement best practices in the areas of hiring, professional development, and philanthropy, and create a long-range financial plan that informs the operation of all aspects of our school, from enrollment to facilities management. This goal also requires that each of us see ourselves as stewards of the School and its mission, giving what we can to strengthen our resources today and endow Buckingham Friends School’s future. Strategies: To reach this goal over the next five years, we will… A. attract and retain a diverse and exceptional faculty and staff aligned with BFS’s mission and Quaker values. B. revitalize and/or update campus facilities and grounds in environmentally proactive ways that improve aesthetics and functionality. C. cultivate a culture of philanthropy across all constituencies. D. seek non-tuition and non-philanthropic revenue streams that align with mission and values. E. increase endowment.



Speaker, writer and planning consultant, Christina Drouin is a former classroom teacher and a thirty-five year practitioner of nonprofit planning and marketing. A former independent school administrator and the recipient of several national awards, she is a frequent session leader and speaker at independent school annual conferences, including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). As founder and president of the Center for Strategic Planning, Christina Drouin is known for her innovative work in adapting business models, principles, and practices to school and faith-based settings. A veteran group process designer and facilitator, she has designed and facilitated more than 450 group processes over the past thirty years that have included board and faculty retreats, strategic plan launches, strategic thinking sessions, core values identification workshops, vision casting and goal setting sessions, community-wide symposia, and outcome-based objective writing workshops. Writing projects have included the chapter “Building the Campus Marketing System” published in Marketing Independent Schools in the 21st Century, released in 2001 by NAIS. She also co-authored The Strategic Process – 10 Steps for Planning Your Independent School’s Future, NAIS’s newest book on strategic planning, first published in 2007.


Ralph V. Oswald III Photography

Melissa Clayton, Katelynn Connolly, Michele Levy, Paul Lindenmaier, Deirdre Snyder

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Buckingham Friends School FOUNDED 1794

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