STRATEGIC PLAN 2 016 – 2021
PACE ACADEMY OUR MOTTO To Have the Courage to Strive for Excellence
OUR MISSION To create prepared, confident citizens of the world who honor the values and legacy of Pace Academy.
OUR CORE VALUES • We create success through partnership with parents, students and faculty. • We are dedicated to developing the whole child. • We have respect for others and their unique ideas and beliefs. • We have pride in our accomplishments and our heritage.
A LETTER FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Dear Friends of Pace Academy, I’m proud to share with you Pace’s strategic vision for the coming five years. The Strategic Plan 2016–2021 measures our progress relative to previous Strategic Plans, articulates our key objectives over the next five years and establishes Pace’s path forward. The Strategic Plan is the result of countless hours of work— information gathering, data analysis, thoughtful discussions with Pace’s many constituencies and careful synthesis. Most institutions enlist the help of outside counsel when crafting strategic plans. In true Pace fashion, the members of our Board of Trustees took this important project upon themselves. I would like to thank Strategic Planning Chair Liz Price and her committee, listed on page 17, for their tireless dedication to this critically important task. Overseeing the execution of the Strategic Plan 2016–2021 is a top priority for the Board of Trustees. Board subcommittees have been created to assume responsibility for each of the plan’s five focus areas. Over the next few months, we will hold briefings to review and discuss each of these focus areas, and you are invited to attend any or all of the briefings. Notice of the briefings will be sent in advance, and we hope that everyone will make the time to attend at least one of these meetings. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you in advance for your support.
Robert Sheft Chairman, Board of Trustees 2016–2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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LOOKING BACK TO LOOK FORWARD SINCE 1958, Pace Academy’s strong college preparatory education has created confident, well-rounded citizens of the world. People have always been the heart of the Pace experience. Our outstanding faculty emphasizes the development of the “whole child” in a family oriented, respectful environment. We strive to be a diverse and inclusive community, one in which all individuals understand what it means to belong. With a focus on character education and global perspectives, we encourage students to explore their passions and strengths, experience triumph and failure and, ultimately, excel. Graduates leave Pace more than prepared for collegiate success—they’re equipped to be at the forefront of innovation, leadership and social awareness. Past strategic planning has enabled our school’s current success, and working toward the following goals has served us well in recent years:
To prepare confident citizens of the world The advent of the Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL) gave structure and direction to our global-education initiatives; applications for admissions reached all-time highs; college-counseling support and placement success increased; our population of students and faculty of color grew; service learning remained a vital component of our educational experience.
To develop and support the whole child Character education continued to be a focus; student involvement and performance in the arts, athletics and debate exceeded expectations; we promoted health and wellness through preventative support and parent education; the Academic Resource Center began supporting all students
in all divisions, particularly those with learning differences; we partnered with INDEX Schools to benchmark progress and determine best practices.
To protect the legacy of the school and develop future resources Successful capital campaigns allowed for renovation projects and the construction of Charlie Owens Field, the Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School and Walsh Field; annual giving increased by 35 percent; alumni programming and involvement expanded; technology continued to enhance 21st-century learning.
To create success through partnerships and communications within the Pace community Innovative programming and resources strengthened professional development for faculty and staff; parental support through the Parents Club, Booster Club and Arts Alliance reached new heights; increased alumni and restricted giving buttressed need-based financial aid; positive neighborhood relations enabled growth. We believe these goals endure. And because we have the courage to strive for excellence, we will continue to work toward excellence in leadership and development, character and service, and community and opportunity. Â—
2016â€“2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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OUR TOP PRIORITIES • • • • •
STEAM Faculty Development Financial Aid Enrollment Management The Isdell Center for Global Leadership
CONCEIVED THROUGH a lens of equity and inclusion, the 2016–2021 Strategic Plan ensures that Pace’s culture of excellence and innovation remains intact for future generations, and that our graduates are prepared for the ever-changing world they will encounter. We hold fast to our founding principles and take pride in our legacy as a small school that THINKS BIG. This Strategic Plan continues that proud tradition while celebrating growth and envisioning an ever-greater place for children to learn and grow.
IN THE COMING YEARS, PACE WILL STRUCTURE STRATEGIC ENDEAVORS AROUND FIVE FOCUS AREAS: 1. Academic and Institutional Excellence 2. Enrollment 3. Global Citizenship 4. Student Life and School Culture 5. Community and Communications
WITHIN EACH OF THESE AREAS, OUR TOP PRIORITIES ARE: •
The Isdell Center for Global Leadership
What follows are the specific initiatives that the Board of Trustees has determined will enable the school to further fulfill its mission: To create prepared, confident citizens of the world.
2016–2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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1: ACADEMIC & INSTITUTIONAL EXCELLENCE AREAS OF FOCUS • • • • • • • •
Faculty Development STEAM Academic Resource Center College Counseling Arts Technology Facilities Physical Education
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE is a hallmark of Pace Academy, and the foundation of any great academic institution must be an outstanding and developing faculty. Pace has been and will continue to be a leader in recruiting and retaining the highest-quality teacher cohort imaginable. Because our expert faculty prepares students for the everchanging world they will encounter, a Pace education includes innovative curricular and extra-curricular programming around science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). To excel in these and other endeavors, Pace students in all divisions utilize our Academic Resource Center (ARC), which provides individualized academic assistance, particularly to those with learning differences. The combination of intellectual challenge and a nurturing, familial environment ensures students graduate from Pace prepared for college—and the Pace Academy Office of College Counseling thoughtfully guides each student to his or her collegiate “fit.” Because participation in our growing arts and athletics programs is encouraged—as is a healthy, productive relationship with technology—our students leave Pace emboldened by well-rounded perspectives and ready to further explore their passions. And they learn in some of the finest facilities around! SAT & ACT SCORES (Converted to the SAT's 1600-point scale)
INITIATIVES To ensure continued academic and institutional excellence, Pace will: • Seek out and cultivate diverse teaching talent; expand faculty professional development opportunities; continue to provide financial support for faculty children to attend Pace; enable higher education for faculty; promote employee enthusiasm and satisfaction. • Expand STEAM programming, particularly in the Middle School; partner with local colleges and corporations to provide practical opportunities for students; attract students with STEAM strengths. • Continue to support the work of the ARC; focus on early identification of learning-style needs; explore the creation of a writing lab. • Further expose ninth-grade students and parents to the college-search process; educate Upper School deans regarding college placement; develop metrics to assess college admissions success. • Evaluate the need for a school-wide fine arts director; reevaluate arts budgets based on growing participation and increased staffing; consider expanding and/or renovating arts facilities. • Further incorporate emerging technologies into classrooms to enhance teaching, learning and relationships. • Renovate aging structures to ensure maximum usability; annually review student safety and campus security; provide appropriate personnel and systems to protect the Pace community. • Given high athletic participation, evaluate the necessity and efficacy of physical education in the Middle School; continue to support healthy, active lifestyles. 2016–2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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2: ENROLLMENT AREAS OF FOCUS • Enrollment Management • Diversity • Financial Aid
THE PACE ACADEMY student body defines our school, and it is crucial that we continue to attract applicants who will thrive at Pace and beyond. We build an outstanding student body by consistently promoting the Pace brand, establishing personal relationships with prospective families, and welcoming qualified siblings and legacies into the Pace community. In order to fulfill Pace’s mission to create prepared, confident citizens of the world, our school community must reflect the diversity of our local and global communities, and we must embody the values of equity, social justice, empathy, inclusion and respect for all people. In that spirit of inclusion, Pace strives to provide financial aid for tuition to all families who demonstrate need and, in recent years, has increased both the amount of aid awarded and the percentage of students receiving assistance. APPLICATIONS
INITIATIVES To ensure continued enrollment success, Pace will: • Further articulate its admissions policies regarding sibling and legacy applicants; continue to attract and enroll diverse students. • Foster meaningful diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the school; equip the Pace community with the skills required to engage effectively in issues of diversity; continue to cultivate a respectful and inclusive workplace and learning environment; increase the Board of Trustees’ engagement with issues of diversity. • Consider increasing financial aid awards to cover costs beyond tuition; create a financial aid award program for middle-income families; develop a contingency plan for financial aid funding should the Georgia Private School Tax Credit program be eliminated.
DIVERSITY & ENROLLMENT Creating prepared, confident citizens of the world requires a commitment to a diverse school family in which all students have access to the highest level of academic excellence. Today, people of color represent nearly 16 percent of our faculty and staff, nearly 20 percent of our student population and one third of our applicant pool.
2016–2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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3: GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP AREAS OF FOCUS • Isdell Center for Global Leadership • Service Learning • External Partnerships
PACE ACADEMY’S MISSION to create prepared, confident citizens of the world mandates action, and the school established the Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL) as the cornerstone in its efforts to provide a global, integrated educational experience. A Board of Advisors guides the ICGL, fostering excellence in global leadership. We believe five qualities define a successful global leader: leadership ability, global mindset, engaged citizenship, cultural awareness and appreciation, and international experience. Through a school-wide annual global theme and collaborative, cross-divisional programming within six focus areas, the ICGL nurtures these qualities at every step. Inherent in global citizenship is an understanding of the importance of looking beyond one’s self, and Pace endeavors to provide opportunities for community service to all students. Partnerships with local community organizations enable service learning.
INITIATIVES To ensure the continued creation of global citizens, Pace will: • Facilitate ways for Upper School students to share their global-learning experiences with their younger counterparts; tie study tours to curriculum and create accountability measures to ensure faculty incorporate their global travels into the classroom; measure the qualitative skills we seek to build; evaluate ICGL programming on an ongoing basis. • Expand service learning to meet the needs and interests of all students; further define community partnerships and maintain more consistent involvement with these organizations. • Leverage relationships with alumni and parents to expand access to internships and partnerships.
GLOBAL LEADERSHIP Since the launch of the Parents Club's Citizens of the World Travel Grant Program, student participation in ICGL study tours has more than doubled. During the 2014–2015 school year, 126 Upper School students, 63 Middle School students and 12 fifth-graders participated in study tours; 16 study tours are planned for the 2015–2016 year.
2016–2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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4: STUDENT LIFE & SCHOOL CULTURE AREAS OF FOCUS • Athletics • Debate • Extracurricular Programs and Clubs • Health and Wellness • Character Development
CITIZENS OF THE WORLD are characterized by curiosity, a willingness to take risks and a commitment to integrity. Pace strives to cultivate these characteristics through robust student-life offerings and a healthy, well-rounded school culture. To achieve this goal, we promote and support the studentathlete concept and abide by a thoughtful Athletic Philosophy and Code of Conduct for coaches, students and parents. We strike a balance between fielding competitive teams and allowing opportunities for growth, and we encourage multisport student-athletes. Just as our student-athletes excel in competition, our debaters perform at the highest levels, earning titles at national tournaments and maintaining the school’s longstanding reputation for excellence in this arena. Pace encourages participation in extracurricular pursuits and club activities, and students devote countless hours and unlimited energy to these endeavors. From theatre and chess to fencing and water polo, the opportunities for involvement are endless. To ensure all students take advantage of the many opportunities available, we place great importance on each student’s mental, physical and social wellness. Parenting programs, fulltime counselors, a consulting psychiatrist, and student-driven initiatives promote mental and social health, while physical education and well-balanced meals encourage healthy physical lifestyles. Calculated character development programming undergirds student life in all divisions; in order to become citizens of the world, we know students must first be good citizens.
INITIATIVES To ensure thriving student life and school culture, Pace will: • Continue to promote balanced lifestyles for all studentathletes; evaluate the teacher-coach model; establish and evaluate ongoing coach development programs; create a succession plan for coaches. • Increase support for and visibility of the debate program; take advantage of matching grant opportunities. • Continue to invest in thriving extracurricular activities; appropriately recognize extracurricular accomplishments. • Continue to prioritize the physical, mental and social health of all students; consider integrating a focus on health and welfare into the Lower and Middle Schools’ physical education curriculum; encourage Pace LEAD’s initiatives, as well as Parenting Connection programming in all divisions. • Continue to support the importance of positive character traits in our children; create and implement an ageappropriate Upper School character education program; measure character development.
2016–2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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5: COMMUNITY & COMMUNICATIONS AREAS OF FOCUS • • • • • • •
Board of Trustees Parents Parent Organizations Alumni Advancement Communications Neighborhood and Community
WE OFTEN USE the term “Pace family” to describe our community, and the Pace Academy Board of Trustees leads the way in advancing our school’s unique mission, vision and culture by engaging all constituencies within that family. Chief among these constituencies are Pace parents, a highly engaged corps of volunteers who enable our small, family focused school to operate at the highest level. The Parents Club, Arts Alliance and Booster Club, all thriving organizations, represent the epitome of Pace’s diverse, active and committed community. Our growing alumni population also plays an important role in the life of the school, and recent advancements in alumni programming and giving indicate the potential for even greater involvement. Strength within the Office of Advancement has been the impetus behind increased involvement among many constituencies: the Aim High campaign for a the Arthur M. Blank Family Upper School exceeded its goal; the Annual Fund, rebranded as The Pace Fund, has reached more donors and raised more dollars than ever before; and a strategic plan for advancement now guides all development efforts. Thoughtful communications around fundraising initiatives, school life and strategic developments ensure that the Pace family remains engaged and that those outside our community regard Pace as a leader among independent schools. Relationships with our neighbors and the local community have never been stronger, and we look forward to cultivating additional partnerships through community outreach.
To ensure continued success within the areas of community and communications, Pace will: • At the Board level, continue to survey and engage with the Pace community to ensure consensus around the school’s vision; review independent school best practices in regards to governance and their applications at Pace. • Consider new and greater ways to involve parents in the school’s daily life and strategic vision; add non-Board members to Board committees and/or task forces. • Encourage the Parents Club’s continued commitment to its Citizens of the World Travel Grant Program; review best practices regarding governance of parent organizations.
• Further connect Upper School students and alumni by exploring mutually beneficial programming such as mentor relationships and internships; continue to support meaningful alumni programs. • Create a “menu” of giving options to better align giving with the school’s needs and priorities. • Maintain our high level of communications with a focus on quality and consistency of presentation, timeliness and effectiveness; provide opportunities for community feedback; nurture neighborhood relationships while striving for a further reaching community impact.
2016–2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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DIVISION GOALS While Pace Academy offers a unified student experience from Pre-First through 12th grade, each division within the school employs curriculum and programming specific to the children it serves. Given each divisionâ€™s challenges and opportunities, leaders will work toward the following goals:
LOWER SCHOOL While maintaining a nurturing environment, further expand curriculum with an eye on STEAM and music offerings; enhance faculty professional development; increase student and faculty diversity.
MIDDLE SCHOOL Celebrate the range of physical and emotional maturity represented in the division; incorporate innovative learning through the ICGL; enhance faculty professional development; increase student and faculty diversity.
UPPER SCHOOL Implement age-appropriate character development programming; encourage meaningful service learning experiences and opportunities for reflection; further develop STEAM curricular and co-curricular offerings; enhance faculty professional development.
MEASURING OUR PROGRESS Pace Academy’s 2016–2021 Strategic Plan includes many wide-ranging and aspirational goals; we believe they are achievable. To measure our progress and ensure our goals are met, the Pace Academy Board of Trustees will: • Form Board subcommittees around each focus area and engage with the Pace community to measure progress and address concerns.
STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE Liz Price, Chair Charlie Brown Danny Ferry Bonnie Harris Greg Kelly Cara Isdell Lee ’97 AJ Johnson Mark Luetters Jeff Seabright Natasha Swann
• Provide regular subcommittee reports to keep Board members apprised of progress. • Review the Strategic Plan on an annual basis, remaining open to course corrections, new opportunities and alternative options. • Ask relevant program faculty and staff to maintain quantitative measures of progress for each focus area, when possible. Use data to drive decision-making.
2016–2021 STRATEGIC PLAN
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Published on Jan 28, 2016