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Strategic Plan 20i2-20i7

Holy Comforter Episcopal School

Strategic Plan

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Our Future At our opening faculty and staff meeting each employee of Holy Comforter Episcopal School was asked to write a word, or phrase, or draw a symbol on a rock that would then be collected and held in a community basket. Throughout the year one faculty member may take a rock that symbolizes something significant to them at the time or share it with one of their colleagues. On my rock I wrote, “Impossible. Difficult. Done.” Holy Comforter has a history of taking on the “impossible.” This began with our dream of creating a school back in 1955 with 25 students and only one teacher; to walking onto our beautiful 86-acre campus with nearly 600 students. We are blessed to have our children thriving in and out of the classroom as we carry out our mission to nurture their spirits, challenge their minds, and strengthen their bodies in a Christian environment. Selfishly, I could not have begun my tenure as Head of School at a more opportune time. During my first year I had the opportunity to work with our school community and Board in developing our Five Year Strategic Plan. Our goal in this process was to envision Holy Comforter Episcopal School in the year 2017, and lay the groundwork for achieving our said goals for our future school. We envision a bright future and will work hard to ensure this vision by making our Strategic Plan a living document that provides a compass for our school community. Our success will grow from a continued commitment of dedicated teachers, loyal staff, parent volunteers, alumni and friends of the school all working to achieve our common goals. We are incredibly fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful school community as we help create the best school that we possibly can to equip our children for the brightest future. As we lead by example for our children we must continue to look at the challenges that we encounter along the way as: “Impossible. Difficult. Done.”

Peter M. Klekamp Head of School August 2012

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Strategic Plan


Our Charge Dear Friends, More than 5 years ago, the Holy Comforter Episcopal School Board of Trustees began a process of planning strategically to set goals and objectives that would be the road map for the Board and the School Administration to manage all aspects of HCES. This plan is a living document which must be assessed and updated to reflect changes happening on our school campus, in our community, and throughout society in general. Our world is an ever-changing place and we must keep pace insuring we continue to live our mission of “encouraging each child to achieve his or her maximum potential as a contributing member of society.” In that regard, the Trustees and Administration began a yearlong task of updating this plan for the next 5 years. We began the process of updating the strategic plan by evaluating how we had done in reaching our goals from the previous plan. We discussed the effects of changes we have seen over the past 5 years and what changes we may see in the next 5 years. How do we address the changes in technology and how our children learn? What is the continuing affect of our economy and how does that affect funding for our school programs? Where do we see HCES in 2017? That seems like a long time from now, but it will be here before we know. We have examined our current academic offerings, our athletic programs, our enrollment and marketing plans to bring new families to our campus. In addition we’ve assessed the spiritual life of our school and our religious education, the advancement of our school through endowments and annual giving, the financial health of our school and what we need financially to continue the support of our programs. Finally, we continue to evaluate the growth of our school to perhaps include a high school division in the future. All of these represent the total that is HCES and we must be persistent to continue advancement and become an even better institution than we are today. The Trustees and their committee members have worked hard throughout the year and we are proud of the document we have produced. But the words on the pages are only our starting point, our road map. We will use this document to guide us to insure that the children we are serving continue to be “lifelong learners, and productive citizens with a recognition of God’s love for all people and a knowledge of His work in the world about them.” Sincerely,

Gail F Knight Chair, Board of Trustees Strategic Plan

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Our Mission, Vision & Philosophy Mission:

Holy Comforter Episcopal School believes that each child is a unique creation of God. Our mission is to nourish the spirit, challenge the mind, and strengthen the body in a Christian environment, encouraging each child to achieve his or her maximum potential as a contributing member of society.

Philosophy:

Our philosophy at Holy Comforter Episcopal School is that the education of the total child can best take place in an environment centered in, and supported by, the love of God in Jesus Christ. We recognize that each student is a unique creation of God. We endeavor to help our students discover their talents and abilities, while encouraging them to develop a personal relationship with God. We strive to instill habits and attitudes conducive to academic achievement, responsible behavior, positive nurturing relationships, respect for others and maturity. We pledge to maintain a high scholastic standard and to equip our students with intellectual curiosity and confidence enabling them to achieve their maximum potential. We aim to provide our students with opportunities to acquire an education that includes knowledge of the world around them, basic skills in subject matter, practice in decision-making, citizenship, moral and ethical conduct, mental, physical and emotional health, scientific and cultural appreciation, and environmental and economic understanding. Using our philosophy as a foundation, the School works as a unified body to provide quality education in a Christian atmosphere to students of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, races, and economic levels. We maintain accountability within the community we serve by encouraging interactions among staff, students, parents, and the Holy Comforter parish family.

Vision:

Our vision at Holy Comforter Episcopal School is to continue its tradition of developing successful students, lifelong learners, and productive citizens with a recognition of God’s love for all people and a knowledge of His work in the world about them.

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Our Charge

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Academic Quality Goals:

• Continue to assess and improve the quality of academic offerings at Holy Comforter Episcopal School. • Evaluate and support classroom instructional practices. • Provide training for faculty in integrating STEM and technology into the classroom including problem-based/inquiry-based learning. • Review current standardized testing and make an assessment of all standardized testing options available. As Holy Comforter continues to “challenge the mind”, its academic offerings continue to be a primary focus. Our parents continue to indicate that one of the main reasons they choose HCES is for our academic offerings. A strong academic environment is critical to our success as a school. Our academic programming must continue to adapt to the changes that are happening so quickly around us. Learning in the 21st century is different than in the past, but the ultimate goals are still the same. We want all HCES students to achieve the academic successes they need to be a “contributing member of society” but also to be life-long learners. We must continue to hire and retain the best faculty and give them the tools to teach our children in our fast paced world. High academic standards must continue to be the backbone of our educational offerings. Some of the objectives included under these goals are to evaluate course offerings that include high school credit, on-line course offerings, and gifted programming on campus. Continue to fund professional development to insure the opportunities for staff development of our faculty in STEM curriculum and how technology can be infused into daily lessons. Evaluation of our current standardized testing and reporting system to insure that we are using the program which is the best fit for HCES and to continue to enhance the information for parents to evaluate the successes of their children.

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Advancement Goals:

• Establish a plan for developing corporate partnership, growing the existing endowment funds and beginning a major gifts campaign. • Enhance the Crusader Fund program to increase constituent participation and grow the annual amount received. The Office of Advancement is responsible for all fund-raising activities, admissions and marketing at Holy Comforter Episcopal School. This section of the strategic plan is dedicated to the fund-raising goals. A strong independent school cannot be successful without a well-run fund-raising operation. The realities of today’s economy make this a challenging task but one that must continue within any economic situation. Independent schools cannot rely on tuition dollars only. HCES has done a better job over the past 5 years in educating its constituents about the need for other sources of funding. The Crusader Fund must continue to grow to bridge the gap between tuition dollars and the total cost to educate our children. We must continue to grow our participation so that we can apply for grants and matching contributions. Our parents continue to be generous with capital campaign pledges but as our capital needs continue to expand, we must look for donations outside of the parent body. We must expand within our community to develop corporate sponsors to grow our major gift campaigns. Objectives under these goals include developing corporate sponsors and instituting a community outreach committee to secure major gifts; continue to expand the educational opportunities for constituents to learn about independent school financing and what is required beyond tuition.

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Athletics Goals:

• Develop a regionally recognized independent K-8th grade school athletic program. • Expand athletic program funding sources by 25% in the next 5 years. • Design a high quality, highly effective marketing plan to increase awareness and participation in the HCES athletic program. • Improve existing athletic facilities to develop a state of the art program. • Create an identity for the Athletic Booster Club as the primary support organization for all athletic events on campus. Athletics continue to be an emphasis at Holy Comforter School. Our middle school athletic program continues to expand and its successes on the field continue to be some of the best in Tallahassee. We must continue the expansion of both team sports and physical education offerings in order to “strengthen the body” and to provide additional options for all children. Our goals are designed to increase the awareness within the community and to expand our programs and facilities to recruit and retain students. Some of the objectives under these goals are to continue to recruit the best coaches; continue to expand team sport experiences outside the regular school day through clinics for lower and middle school students. Expand the role of the Athletic Booster Club to increase awareness and fundraising. Continue to schedule special events in conjunction with home games to increase attendance and highlight athletic accomplishments.

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Strategic Plan


Buildings and Grounds Goals: • • • •

Complete the STEM Academic Building Complete the STEM Courtyard Update the School Wide Campus Master Plan Review and update development and maintenance plan for the Athletic Fields. • Review/Update 10-year Capital Maintenance Plan of existing buildings and grounds Expansion of the campus continues to be a major focus. Also the maintenance of buildings that are now over a decade old must continue to be funded. Completion of the Knight STEM building will provide the needed classroom space to support the large classes entering middle school through the next several years. The maintenance on the athletic fields is also an emphasis during the next several years. Some of the objectives under these goals include determining the next capital project; identifying the issues that need repair on the athletic fields; and reviewing the 10-year maintenance plan.

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Finance Goals:

• Continue to reduce annual operating reliance on tuition from 95% to 93% • Implement cash-flow procedures to maximize the earning potential of cash surpluses while maintaining financial security. • Educate constituents on financial requirements of independent schools. • Continue to set tuition rates to meet financial needs of the school within the constraints of reasonable percentage increases and a competitive market. Due to the uncertainties in our current economy, ensuring that all dollars are spent wisely is more important than ever before. Educating all constituents on funding beyond tuition dollars must continue and include understanding the needs and demands of maintaining and expanding a quality program. Preparing for future financial needs based on growth of program offerings as well as unexpected issues that may arise is the focus of any solid financial planning. Some objectives included under these goals are to increase endowments to help offset tuition assistance, develop an investment committee to assist with the best investment options for prepaid tuition and campaign funds, and continue to review all long term financing arrangements for the best terms and conditions.

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Future Growth Goals:

• Conduct a needs assessment and feasibility study for a potential high school. What about a high school? That’s a question asked by many parents who enroll their young children at Holy Comforter. What are the costs? How would we finance a high school program? Do the demographics of the Tallahassee-area community indicate a future need? And perhaps most importantly, does a high school further our mission? These are the same questions that were asked as the previous strategic plan was completed. However, due to the economic constraints of the past 5 years, the feasibility study was not completed. During this planning session, it was determined that a feasibility study should still be included in this plan and completed in the next couple of years. A strong long-range plan should begin to address these questions and a true feasibility study, in which every aspect of a potential high school program including cost, need, demand, size, academic, athletic and religious programming, staffing and administrative needs is addressed, is necessary before the school can determine whether or not it might be appropriate to pursue such an expansion. The Head of School should assign staff to work with board committee chairmen in pursuing a comprehensive study in the fall of 2013 through the spring of 2014. The objective included under this goal is to determine demand, need, cost, demographic impact, and feasibility of a potential 9-12th grade program.

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Marketing & Communications Goals: • • • •

Retain Current Student Population. Recruit new PK3, PK4 and Kindergarten students each year. Recruit new Middle School students each year. Continue to increase linkage to Alumni by tracking 9th grade GPA, athletic involvement/scholarships, and college choices. • Increase community awareness through an expanded branding campaign. • Conduct Parent and Faculty surveys to gauge satisfaction and connectedness. This section of the strategic plan includes enrollment and admissions, alumni relations and community awareness through branding. When we think about enrollment we not only must consider what student population is ideal for a school like Holy Comforter, but also how many students are needed to meet our annual budget demands. A responsive marketing program must be designed to retain current students and recruit new students in the future, based on predetermined school size goals and changing demographics. Some objectives under these goals include using social media to connect potential parents with current parents, improving the school’s website, sponsoring a luncheon on campus in partnership with some community organizations and exploring the possibility of bus transportation for specific neighborhoods where student population is sufficient.

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Spiritual Life Goals:

• Worship & Christian Education – Provide meaningful, age-appropriate worship and Christian Education, rooted in the Episcopal tradition and supporting the spiritual development of all students, regardless of faith, as they progress through the school. • Service – Provide various community service opportunities throughout the Tallahassee area for middle school students to assist those in need. By definition, Holy Comforter is a Christian program, and our spiritual offerings are an important part of who we are. The Rector of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church is the spiritual director and is involved in reviewing all aspects of Christian education. Are we doing enough to provide opportunities for spiritual growth and character development among our students? What about parental involvement and outreach? We must insure that the programmatic offerings ensure that we “nourish the spirit” of all Holy Comforter children and families. Some of the objectives under these goals are providing resources to assist faculty and students in class chapel services; determine need for a full-time chaplain position, review age appropriate religious studies for grades PreK3 through 3rd and create opportunities for middle school students to serve the community throughout the year.

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Technology Enhancements & Education Goals:

• Technology will support student acquisition of 21st century skills: creativity and innovation; critical thinking and problem solving; communication; and collaboration • Provide professional development for teachers that will support the integration of 21st century technology skills into instruction. • Develop initiatives to communicate technology goals and objectives to the school community. • Outfit classrooms with the necessary equipment to support technology goals. • Increase community awareness through an expanded branding campaign. • Conduct Parent and Faculty surveys to gauge satisfaction and connectedness. As outlined in the academic quality section, teaching 21st century skills to our students is a critical area to complete our mission of “encouraging each child to achieve his or her maximum potential”. Our technology must provide the tools necessary to compliment this area of the curriculum. Technology changes so quickly that we must insure that our tools and software are continually updated to meet the current technology needs. Some of the objectives under these goals are providing training for teachers on the use of specific technology devises, students participating in an integrated technology curriculum incorporating the National Educational Technology Standards, provide informational workshops to educate the school community on the use of 21st century technology skills, and achieve one to one technology program in grades 1st through 8th within a 4 year replacement schedule.

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Holy Comforter Episcopal School 2001 Fleischmann Road Tallahassee, Florida 32308

Strategic Plan 20i2-20i7 Holy Comforter Episcopal School

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Strategic Plan


Holy Comforter Episcopal School Strategic Plan