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Education in Action Toward Humanity, Purpose, and Collaborative Learning at NMH NMH 2020 Strategic Plan


“I want to speak of an attitude with which school life, all life, should be approached… For lack of a better term, I call it the pioneer attitude, that guides itself by principle, not by what is being done in other places, other schools, by other people. — Mira B. Wilson, Principal Northfield School for Girls, 1929–1952


Education in Action Toward Humanity, Purpose, and Collaborative Learning at NMH

NMH 2020 Strategic Plan


Spring 2015 Dear NMH Community, The world should have high expectations for schools such as NMH. As an independent school, we are able to scan the horizon and adjust our course, with our north star always being what is best for our students. Over the past year, we have done just that, and now we are eager to share with you a new strategic plan for NMH. It’s our vision of what an NMH education should be. It’s our direction for the future and our priorities for the next three to five years, built upon our enduring commitment to education for the head, heart, and hand. Academic excellence is only the beginning. It is our responsibility to look further and deeper, to understand what constitutes a better, richer version of excellence. But the strength of our academic curriculum is why we are able to do that. Our diverse, experienced faculty and long class periods already allow students to dive deep into material. The new strategic plan calls for a reinvention of our programs in science, math, engineering, and technology—with emphasis on engineering, coding, statistics, and design. We won’t leave the arts and humanities behind; we’ll integrate our curriculum creatively and make vital connections among subjects. The new academic excellence is about creativity, independent thinking, and collaboration. It is about working hard and striving. But it is incomplete unless students learn how to live and work among those whose stories are different from theirs. That is why, besides focusing on educational and academic innovation, the new plan also calls for further investment in financial aid and our continued promise to provide all our students with a diverse, talented group of peers.


Our planning has spanned many months, and has been the product of hundreds of conversations with faculty, parents, students, alumni, and trustees. A current faculty member, after reviewing the plan, told us, “I feel proud to work for a school that is moving in this direction.” Still, a plan means nothing if it’s not put into action. We’ve developed an implementation timeline, and are beginning to raise the funds that will allow us to start meeting our goals. Some important work has already begun, such as design of an innovative math and science facility, new direction in advising and student life, and our first class of “Rhodes Fellows in Social Entrepreneurship.” We are thrilled to share this vision with you today, and we hope you will feel inspired to help us make it a reality in the months and years to come.

Peter B. Fayroian Head of School

Stephen S. Fuller ’58, P’98 Chair, NMH Board of Trustees


NMH 2020 STRATEGIC PLAN

I. Mission, Vision, and Values Mission
 Northfield Mount Hermon engages the intellect, compassion, and talents of our students, empowering them to act with humanity and purpose.

Vision
 We
 are 
a school where 
humanity and purpose drive our approaches to teaching and learning; where we consider character and ethical grounding, collaboration, and individuality essential to academic excellence; and where students are charged with turning what they learn into action in the larger world. We will lead secondary schools by insisting on the better version of excellence that is possible when students build foundations in a diverse, caring, and just community, and we will prepare students to thrive in a world that requires them to be brave, creative collaborators and individuals.

Values Our vision aligns our rich history of equity, diversity, and social justice with the needs of our students to be prepared to learn and act in a shifting educational and professional landscape. From our earliest days we have been animated by a spirit of global responsibility and compassion, elevated by the beautiful natural surroundings of our school. This spirit lives powerfully in what we continue to value. ††

Intellect: the academic excellence that springs from intellectual creativity, intense engagement, and natural curiosity

††

Compassion: the power of empathy and care for others to create a just society, global community, and sustainable future


NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON 2020

EDUCATION IN ACTION

††

Individual Talent: the respect for the independent thinking and unique abilities of each student

††

Humanity: the attention to diversity, pluralism, and social justice essential to both the curriculum and our community

††

Purpose: the hard work that makes living and learning an intentional collective effort

In order to remain rigorous, NMH 
must 
embrace 
these
 foundational principles — this education for the head, heart, and hand — while we innovate and incorporate advances in educational thinking.

II. Process

This Strategic Plan reflects a multiyear process that included several written surveys as well as vigorous information-gathering sessions with the entire NMH community: trustees, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and students. The feedback we gathered has been essential to making sure that the course we set now is in as many respects as possible the right one for NMH. We hope it is evident that this vision is a collective one — representing countless dialogues and discussions in our community. Just as it is our common vision, we hope it will be our common plan. We have built a detailed implementation plan alongside the vision and broad goals of this strategic plan. We have identified tactics to accomplish specific objectives that will draw us nearer to these goals, and we have considered the role of financial sustainability in deploying these tactics. For each of the goals, appropriate leadership and project teams will be charged with further developing specific strategies, financial models, benchmarks, timelines, and means of assessment.


TOWARD HUMANITY, PURPOSE, AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AT NMH

NMH has a compelling opportunity to differentiate itself from other schools in a way that is true to its essential values while also being relevant to the realities of the boarding school market. If we are to ensure the future strength and success of the kind of education NMH offers, we must move quickly and decisively to define the particular benefits of that education for those who will wish it for their children. Just as the success of our students will depend on their creativity, resilience, and self-knowledge, the success of NMH will depend on our ability to know ourselves, critique ourselves, and work continually to improve ourselves. We hope this plan is both concrete enough to enable this self-definition and improvement and flexible enough to adjust to changes and innovations in education that we cannot predict.

III. Summary The
 new and soon-to-be realities of higher education and global life compel us to understand how to prepare our students to be active and fulfilled participants in both. There is more need than ever for what Northfield Mount Hermon has always considered to be central to the education of our young people — compassion, hard work, creative individuality, and ethical action. At the heart of our work at NMH is our commitment to teaching students to be unafraid to act with humanity and purpose. In every classroom, in the residence halls, on the farm, in the dining hall, among the maple sap lines, on the athletic fields, on the stage, in the chapel, and in the larger community of which we are a part, our students and faculty work hard to create a powerful model of mutual responsibility, thoughtfulness, and engagement. We
 will 
fulfill 
our
 mission 
by
 extending
 Northfield Mount Hermon’s 
 legacy 
as 
a school community devoted to the intellectual, spiritual, and practical growth of our students — to the head, heart, and hand. Our Strategic Plan, which aims to continue and to improve upon the good work of our school, consists of three main priorities.


NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON 2020

EDUCATION IN ACTION

1. Educational Action and Innovation:

We will create innovative programs and facilities to promote academic engagement that is ethical, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary, and that comprises real-world experience and action for our students.

2. Advising Individuals in a Diverse Community:

Our advising will focus on individual mentorship, and we will build our financial aid program to sustain a truly diverse community, which we believe will best enable student success.

3. Resilience, Sustainability, and Citizenship:

We will focus on creating a sustainable environment for living, learning, and stewardship at NMH so that we may teach the next generation of leaders to care for themselves, their planet, and their society. The priorities of the Strategic Plan will shape both our work and our investments in the coming years.

IV. Strategic Priorities Educational Action and Innovation Research shows that students who engage in project-based learning and connect their academic experience with real-world practice are most successful in college and in life. Our College Model Academic Program (CMAP) allows for extended class periods that encourage moving beyond lessons into life. Using this unique schedule we will create the best conditions for NMH students to construct knowledge and act on it; to develop a growth mindset that embraces failure as a step toward success; and to understand the human context of their work. With this goal in mind, we will: ††

Study our CMAP to understand and optimize its effects on student learning;


TOWARD HUMANITY, PURPOSE, AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AT NMH

††

Use the best new thinking about connected, project-based, and interdisciplinary learning to further develop our academic programs;

††

Explore ways to use our campus as a living laboratory — better integrating the Connecticut River, our working farm, and surrounding forests into our curriculum and co-curriculum;

††

Design and build a STEM facility that will incorporate the newest and best informed approaches to classroom spaces, maker spaces, and idea labs;

††

Reimagine our STEM curriculum — incorporating engineering, design, coding, statistics, ethics, and applied sciences — and connect it with humanities, arts, and social sciences curricula;

††

Explore partnerships and collaborations that will make possible for our students a wide variety of internships and other real-world opportunities.

Advising Individuals in a Diverse Community In our Partnership of 12, each student’s unique abilities and strengths are celebrated and supported by a group of caring adults who are prepared to help that student take best personal and educational advantage of our pluralistic community. We believe our students should have access to a diverse team of mentors on and off campus, including those in the larger NMH community, such as current and former parents and alumni. Students should also have a peer group with the widest possible range of experiences and backgrounds. With this goal in mind, we will: †† Deliver the Partnership of 12 model of holistic advising — with leadership training, advisor training, expanded advising time, and greater accountability;


NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON 2020

EDUCATION IN ACTION

††

Invest in financial aid, understanding that engaging all kinds of diversity — socioeconomic, multicultural, spiritual, gender, ableness — is crucial to our vision of an NMH education;

††

Define our approach to learning skills and academic coaching for all students

††

Create strong, intentional alumni networks for students;

††

Strengthen the connections among students, families, and the school by enriching the parent experience.

Resilience, Sustainability, and Citizenship NMH will renew its legacy of leadership in educating students about stewardship of the environment, and in encouraging sustainable practices and resilience in all spheres of school activity. We will focus on student wellness and balance, community engagement, and personal responsibility. We will continue to teach compassion, empathy, and equity; foster a culture of collaboration; provide international experiences for students; and honor hard work by ensuring that every student has experience with it. With this goal in mind, we will: ††

Devote resources to sustainability projects and initiatives both in and out of the classroom;

††

Uphold sustainable standards in the design, construction, maintenance, and retirement of all campus building projects, including our new STEM facility;

††

Create a Center for Learning Through Action as a hub for experiential-education programs, including those focused on international travel, multicultural education, service learning, the NMH Farm, workjob, and social entrepreneurship;


TOWARD HUMANITY, PURPOSE, AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AT NMH

††

Create a new and integrated skill-building curriculum;

††

Explore how best to enhance student fitness, wellness, and physical education;

††

Create more time and space for student reflection.

V. Directives Our directives as a school underlie the entirety of our current plan and are vital to fulfilling it. We must:

1. 2.

Approach our goals while carefully considering the financial sustainability of the school;

Focus on attracting, retaining, developing, and appropriately compensating a diverse and highly qualified faculty who can deliver on our educational aims;

3.

Review the school’s 2011 Campus Master Plan in view of our strategic priorities.


NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON 2020

EDUCATION IN ACTION

Implementing the Strategic Plan For each of the plan’s priorities and goals, we will establish project teams and charge them with developing strategies, benchmarks, timelines, and means of assessment. To stay informed about the Strategic Plan and the school’s progress in reaching specific goals, please visit www.nmhschool.org/about-nmh/strategic-plan. To fund the initiatives in the Strategic Plan, NMH is in the quiet phase of a capital campaign and will seek investment from alumni, parents, and friends in the coming five years.


NMH faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni spent many months gathering information, deliberating, and envisioning the school’s best way forward, which is now articulated in the “Northfield Mount Hermon 2020 Strategic Plan.” I am deeply grateful to all who devoted their time, attention, and skills to this important effort, especially the strategic planning committee of the board, which led the overall initiative. — Peter B. Fayroian, Head of School

Strategic Planning Committee of the NMH Board of Trustees Mariah D. Calagione ’89 Peter B. Fayroian Head of School Josephine M. Hart ’74 Sharon L. Howell Associate Head of School Thomas W. Payzant ’58 Garrett A.H. Price III ’88 Chair of the Committee William J. Shea ’72 Ann G. Tenenbaum ’79


2015 NMH Strategic Plan  

Strategic Plan for Northfield Mount Hermon.

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