A Vision for Graland to Thrive

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THRIVE Graland Country Day School A Vision for Students, Educators, & Families to Thrive Strategic Plan, Fall 2022



Dear Graland Community,

Sincerely,Headof School President, Board of Trustees

The Strategic Planning Committee, under the leadership of Michelle Eidson, spent the majority of the 2020-21 school year rethinking how strategic planning works and envisioning a dynamic framework that would allow the leaders of the school to adapt the plan to present needs. They also defined the criteria that led us to our strategic planning consultant Monique Davis, choosing a partner in this endeavor who understood our goals of creating an innovative strategic design better suited for Graland today and into the future.

Leadership. We are grateful for all those who took a leadership role in this endeavor, specifically Bernie Dvorak in his last year as board president, and look forward to the continued leadership of the board and the administrative team as we develop the assessment tools to measure our progress toward the strategic objectives in this brochure. We are excited about how this plan is designed for more regular evaluation and iteration and thereby can nimbly adapt to a more unpredictable world, while ensuring that our graduates are prepared to succeed in the future. We are committed to doing our part to inspire students to thrive by empowering educators, engaging families, and fostering a culture of belonging.

During the last strategic plan and through the pandemic, we have consistently celebrated three important values – innovation, collaboration, and leadership. Throughout the creation of the strategic plan presented here, we relied on those same elements to design a unique framework both constant in its long-term vision and adaptable in its short-term execution.

From the beginning of the strategic planning process, we were determined to hear from all members of the community by facilitating intentional conversations with board members, educators, parents, students, alumni, and former trustees. During listening sessions, we gathered important feedback, input that helped us refine the plan and ensure it reflected the priorities of the community. Throughout this process, we were consistently reminded of the power of the collective and its essential role in reaching our strategic vision to thrive.

Thrive: /thrīv/v.i. To prosper and flourish by pursuing excellence and wellness.

A great school opens minds and hearts. It sparks a lifelong love of learning by fueling giant imaginations. Most of all, a great school helps children thrive. And educators. And families. We are deeply dedicated to being that kind of great school. And this is our plan.

Ascende Omnem Montem Climb Every Mountain Our Mission: Achieve intellectual excellence, build strong character, enrich learning through the arts and athletics, and prepare our students to be engaged citizens and thoughtful leaders. We prepare our students for the future by following these Guiding Principles: Pursue Excellence Guide Critical Thinking Instill Integrity Inspire Leadership Promote CelebrateCultivateStimulateIndependenceInnovationHonorIndividualityCompassionEmbraceExperiencesPerseveranceValueTraditionBuildCommunity

We want our whole community to THRIVE. To thrive — at school, in the community, and beyond — is at the heart of our new strategic vision for students, educators, and families.

What it means

Nearly 100 years ago, our founders believed that instruction should focus on the whole child, and they valued intellectual development as well as physical, emotional, and character growth. Today, as we carry forward that vision, we consider our changing world filled with new technologies, opportunites, and challenges. Our strategic plan recognizes this changing world in the importance of creating, nurturing, and extending an environment that balances the pursuit of excellence with wellness, well-being, and strong mental health. Simply put, thrive.

What it takes

The best education possible requires all of us to connect and care Connectiondeeply.:Students are only one factor in the pursuit of thriving. It is a vital responsibility – shared between students, educators, and families – to connect and create the synergy that leads everyone to thrive.

Shared Purpose: Pursuing excellence as a community means bringing people together to grow, learn, and discover a shared purpose. Our common goals guide the work. Belonging: The ability to thrive is grounded in a culture of belonging. Each of us should feel valued for who and what we are. At Graland, each and every one of us can show up and know we fit. This is our space. We are more than welcome here. We are cherished. Complete acceptance brings genuine belonging.

Go Thrive

We look at a Graland education as preparing kids for life.

Each goal depends on the others. No group can thrive without the others. The synergy between the three is paramount, and the fourth goal, a culture of belonging, binds them together.

An approach that is constant, yet adaptable

The Graland wheel is always in motion, and it moves in both directions. While students have always been the focal point, increasingly students must take responsibility for playing a bigger role towards inspired academic and personal growth. Empowered educators draw them in. Families provide support to guide them towards success. Together, students, educators, and families are wrapped in a blanket of belonging and move in synergy with the world that surrounds them. By moving as one, we all thrive.

surrounded by a Culture of Belonging.

The Graland wheel also displays the dynamic nature of the strategic vision. The visual pinwheel, which illustrates the strategic framework and four goals, remains a fixed guide for our long-term growth. At the same time, the strategic objectives under each goal are designed to adapt and evolve as we change so that Graland always goes forward with powerful vision.

Inspire byGraland’sEngageEmpowerStudentsEducatorsFamiliesstrategicplanisrepresentedapinwheelwiththreeequalparts:


GOAL InspireONE:


The strategic vision also challenges school leaders to look critically at the campus and imagine how its learning spaces might be transformed to enrich opportunities for students to adapt to new technologies, enhance creativity, and embrace new and interactive educational techniques.

Pursuing excellence and building strong character have always been central to Graland, and never have they been more foundational as stepping stones in the development of resilience than today. Students in Colorado and elsewhere report high degrees of stress, worsened by a pandemic and global instability, which threaten their mental health and well-being. Therefore, the goal to inspire Graland students is steadied by a program that incorporates wellness and the opportunity to thrive. The character framework developed last year and the continuing partnership with Challenge Success will both be used to further this wellness initiative.

Graland’s first head of school, Georgia Nelson, was passionate about the concept of “living the learning” and educating children with their futures in mind. Our commitment to her vision is strong. The investigative element of learning cultivates student agency and guides Graland’s program with authentic learning experiences. The strategic plan commits to the growth of these learning experiences, utilizing purpose-driven, project-based, and inquiry-driven approaches, and promotes engagement with partners like the World Leadership School.

Create an educational experience that ignites curiosity, passion, and purpose, launching students on a lifelong journey of learning. By accomplishing this goal, we foster character traits and intellectual skills that prepare students to thrive in school and beyond.

Strategic Objectives:

• Provide dynamic and engaging learning experiences that captivate students and cultivate competencies that reflect our mission and guiding principles.

• Utilize state-of-the-art facilities and technology to galvanize engagement and curiosity.

• Prioritize a well-balanced learning experience to ensure wellness, resilience, and fortitude.

Cultivate a dynamic community where our entire team of educators – faculty, administration, and staff – are dedicated to growth, collaboration, and innovation. By accomplishing this goal, every educator thrives with purpose and agency while creating engaging growth opportunities for students. Graland is the sum total of its people. Each contributor, no matter which department they work in – administration, staff, or faculty – is considered an educator, because together everyone is responsible for moving the school forward. By fully understanding and valuing each person’s role on campus, the school creates a culture that flourishes as a result of the synthesis of complementary talents and provides the opportunity to celebrate the collective success.

GOAL EmpowerTWO: Educators

Graland’s sphere-based compensation system continues to clarify and inspire the professional journey of faculty by emphasizing the school’s values of innovation, collaboration, and leadership. Recruitment practices will reach farther to identify and attract qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds, expanding the school’s commitment to being a dynamic, inclusive, and innovative place to work.

In the same way students find purposeful inspiration, educators also become purpose-driven in their jobs. A Professional Growth Partners program, based on a coach-the-coach model, will be rolled out and supported. This program matches each educator with a non-evaluative advisor to help one recognize their strengths and pursue growth opportunities. Through this individualized professional development program each educator will be put on a path that encourages them to define purposeful growth and a meaningful professional trajectory.

• Increase understanding and appreciation of the collective effort of Graland’s educational endeavor by valuing all colleagues’ contributions and emphasizing shared success.

Strategic Objectives:

• Create a fulfilling and collaborative culture of growth by fostering agency and trust, inspiring professional development, and encouraging leadership.

Graland families are the most powerful ambassadors and influential role models for students. Families reinforce the importance of intellectual excellence and strong character, which are at the heart of a Graland education. It is also Graland families who set the stage for the full educational journey by fostering continued growth and development at home and perpetuating a deep love for lifelong Atlearning.Graland, intellectual excellence is centered around four skill areas: expertise, thinking skills, motivation, and attitude. As mentors, leaders, and role models, families can cheer on their students by reinforcing the school’s approach and guiding principles, and through supporting educators and the classroom experience. Graland families are key to building crucial connections with one another and developing community. Meaningful relationships bring more meaning to the Preschool – Grade 8 journey. Our collective energy comes together centered on common goals and brings our mission to life.

GOAL EngageTHREE: Families

Ensure that everyone at Graland clearly understands and commits to our mission and guiding principles. By accomplishing this goal, the entire community thrives through our purpose-driven work resulting in the growth and success of each student.

Strategic Objectives: • Engage our entire school community with the mission, principles, and traditions that have been the foundation of Graland’s success through the years. • Communicate a clear definition of intellectual excellence and how it relates to future success. • Live our principles beyond Graland by building partnerships with outside organizations.

GOAL CultivateFOUR: a Culture of

WhenBelongingwecultivateaninclusive community, we fulfill our collective mission to foster intellectual excellence and build strong character. By accomplishing this goal, all members of the Graland community feel the sense of belonging necessary to support and inspire students to reach their highest potential and thrive.

A broadly diverse community fosters empathy, enriches teaching and learning, and promotes intellectual excellence and strong character. Connections are made and fortified as everyone respects the multitude of identities and perspectives within the school community and promotes a safe and supportive learning environment. The strategic plan will facilitate conversations about Graland’s values.

The strategic plan emphasizes the work of inclusive classroom practices, and takes it to the next level, ensuring that students feel seen, heard, protected, and treated fairly. Each partner brings new insight, and the Challenge Success program will share with educators additional approaches to advance Graland’s culture of belonging.

Graland’s commitment to inclusivity among its students, educators, and families helps to cultivate a culture of belonging, which touches –and subsequently supports – each member of the community. It is, in fact, central to Graland’s mission. A culture of belonging means that each student, each educator, and every member of every Graland family has a unique story to tell. Sharing these stories enriches the lives of everyone in the community and nurtures an environment of understanding and great admiration.

• Innovate toward greater inclusivity by deepening our understanding of diverse experiences at Graland and enhancing all community members’ sense of belonging.

Strategic Objectives:

• Promote inclusive classroom practices to ensure all students feel valued, respected, and supported.

• Demonstrate the alignment between inclusivity and our mission and guiding principles through communications, policies, and practices.

We pledge to be the kind of great school that lights the way for all of Graland to THRIVE.

Graland Country Day School 55 Clermont Street Denver, CO 80220 THRIVE WITH graland.org/StrategicPlanUS.

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