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SD2021 The San Domenico Strategic Plan


Dear San Domenico Community, What you read today is the result of several years of study and reflection by our entire SD community. SD2021 is a strategic plan that builds upon the richness of our 165-year history and guides us for the next five years. The process of developing SD2021 reflects our commitment to inclusivity and our core Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service. This round of strategic planning began in 2012 with extensive demographic and market research, along with surveys and interviews of current parents, alumni, students, employees, board members, and Dominican Sisters. This foundational work led to extending coeducation through to our Upper School in 2013, as well as a thorough self-study to articulate the essential nature of our identity. In 2014, the Board retained planning consultant Kathy Hanson, who leads the Independent Schools division for the international advancement firm Marts & Lundy, to work with our full Board of Directors to complete the Strategic Planning Process. Over the course of these past two years, the Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Board member and current parent Graham Weaver, has worked diligently to complete this plan which will guide our School during this pivotal time in our history. During the 2015-16 school year, the Strategic Planning Committee and Ms. Hanson surveyed additional current parents, past parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and Dominican Sisters. We conducted interviews and meetings with members of the same constituent groups and we reflected on how to best serve our local community and the greater world. In addition, our Board’s Marketing Committee and Mission Enhancement Committee provided commentary, perspective, and review. The Board of Directors was also kept apprised of and reviewed developments at regular intervals. We are grateful for the many contributions each of these community members made toward the development of the final plan. Through our collaborative and inclusive process, we gathered the thoughts and opinions of more than 500 community members. After two years conferring, analyzing, synthesizing, and planning, the San Domenico Board of Directors voted to approve this Strategic Plan on Monday, June 6, 2016, and SD2021 was established. With SD2021 our community has come together to establish a solid and exciting vision for the future of San Domenico. Key areas of focus include commitments to:

1. Provide an increasingly vibrant educational

4. Attract, develop, and retain exceptional

experience by ensuring our Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service inform all of our programs.

faculty who embody and support the mission and vision of San Domenico.

2. Strengthen San Domenico’s identity as an

through inspired governance and leadership, prudent financial management, dynamic student recruitment, bold philanthropic initiatives, and investment in facilities.

Independent School and clearly articulate our inclusive spiritual foundation.

3. Create a cohesive educational experience across all grades, inspiring families to remain at San Domenico through high school graduation.

5. Ensure San Domenico’s long-term success

The goals and strategies of SD2021 will serve as the roadmap by which our Board will set policies and measure progress and effectiveness. The implementation measures that our administrative team will develop within the framework of the adopted strategies will be fluid and responsive in order to reflect best practices in strategic planning. In January of this year, the Harvard Graduate School of Education released Turning the Tide, a report from a coalition of colleges including Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Yale calling for a reconsideration of the college admissions process. The report emphasizes the need for a process that inspires concern for others, reduces achievement pressures, and creates greater equity for economically-diverse students, all hallmarks of a San Domenico education. SD’s long-held commitment to social-emotional learning, service, stewardship, and social justice is perhaps more valuable than ever. We stand as leaders during this time of great change in the field of education and we thank all of you who help guide us along the way. As always, we welcome your questions and ideas. We move forward together.

Amy Skewes-Cox ’71 2016-2017 Board Chair

Cecily Stock, ’77, M.A., J.D. Head of School

A HARVARD REPORT Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions marks the first time in history that a broad coalition of college admissions offices has joined forces to collectively encourage high school students to focus on meaningful, ethical, and intellectual engagement. The report includes concrete recommendations in three core areas:

1. Promoting more meaningful contributions to others, community service, and engagement with the public good.

2. Assessing students’ ethical engagement and contributions to others in ways that reflect varying types of family and community contributions across race, culture, and class.

3. Redefining achievement in ways that both level the playing field for economically-diverse students and reduce excessive achievement pressure.

The college admissions process sends powerful messages to young people about not only what colleges value, but what society values. Turning the Tide, state the authors of the report, “is a first step toward inspiring in students generosity, humanity, and spirited, passionate learning.”

Our Vision

At San Domenico, an exceptional education requires not just academic excellence but also meaning and purpose. We provide a character-driven Kindergarten through Grade 12 Independent School education, leading the way in redefining the metrics of achievement and graduating inspired students equipped to create a better world.

SD2021 STRATEGIC PLAN LEADERSHIP SD2021 PLANNING COMMITTEE Graham Weaver, Committee Chair, BOD Treasurer, and parent Sister Susan Allbritton, O.P., BOD, Mission Holding, Ex Officio Janet Reilly, BOD Vice Chair Richard E. Goldman, BOD and parent Amy Skewes-Cox ’71, BOD

2015-2016 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Paul P. “Skip” Spaulding, III Board Chair Janet Reilly Vice Chair Graham Weaver Treasurer June Sullivan Secretary Sister Susan Allbritton, O.P. Mission Holding, Ex Officio Joseph T. Arsenio, II Richard P. Bollini, II James F. Buckley, Jr. Mary Buie Colin Bruce Campbell Philip Bernet Clark, II Sister Margaret Diener, O.P. Christopher Doerschlag Kelly Fogarty Sandra Gerner Richard E. Goldman Patricia Grubb Christopher S. Lane Jeffrey F. Ludlow Sister Susannah Malarkey, O.P. ’48 James L. O’Hara Mary-Peck Peters ’77 Leslie Reese ’87 Elizabeth Wilhelm Schott ’75 Amy Skewes-Cox ’71 Cathie Bennett Warner

Dan Babior, Director of High School Admissions Cindy Bollini, PSA President and parent Kimberly Pinkson, Director of Marketing and Communications Kate Reeser, Director of Teaching and Learning Paul P. “Skip” Spaulding, III, BOD Chair, Ex Officio and parent Cecily Stock ’77, Head of School, Ex Officio David Wise, Chief Financial Officer

MISSION ENHANCEMENT COMMITTEE June Sullivan, Chair Sister Susan Allbritton, O.P. Patricia Grubb Sister Susannah Malarkey, O.P. ’48 Elizabeth Wilhelm Schott Paul P. “Skip” Spaulding, III, Ex Officio Kathleen Toney

STAFF John Berry Shelley Flint Sally Jaeger Mirza Khan LeaAnne Parlette Kate Reeser Carrie Robley Cecily Stock Sister Gervaise Valpey, O.P.

MARKETING COMMITTEE Janet Reilly, Chair Christopher Doerschlag Kelly Fogarty Richard E. Goldman James Gassel Lisa Hilgers Paul P. “Skip” Spaulding, III, Ex Officio Cathie Bennett Warner

STAFF Dan Babior Jennie Nash Kimberly Pinkson Cecily Stock Laura Volovski

Additional thanks to SD English teachers Sonya Evans and Kaitlyn Gallagher

United by Our Values CONTEXT

For 165 years, the San Domenico experience has embodied a leading-edge, character-based education anchored by our Dominican values. Never has this been more important than today, when the educational landscape is quickly changing. With the influx of private capital into educational business models, technology integration, and the rise of online learning, personalized learning, and the maturing charter school movement, independent schools must continue to innovate and refine points of distinction in order to be competitive. While many schools seek to discover their value proposition, we at SD know that ours, “exceptional education and a sense of purpose” remains effective and relevant. In addition to Harvard’s Turning the Tide report, the National Association for Independent Schools and the Enrollment Management Association have also recently identified “service” and “character” as key areas of innovation around which schools must begin to focus. At SD, we have long known the importance of these values. It is now incumbent upon us to inquire even more deeply to ensure our core Dominican values are equally imbued across all school levels.

GOAL Provide an increasingly vibrant educational experience by ensuring our Dominican values of Study, Reflection, Community, and Service inform all of our programs.


1. Strengthen and enhance the curriculum’s effectiveness in providing all students with the skills, academic content, and personal characteristics they will need to thrive in today’s world.

2. Develop goals, tools, and metrics that ensure curriculum and teaching practices, co-curricular programming, and residential programming reflect our four core values.

3. Integrate global studies, social justice, and environmental sustainability programming school-wide.

4. Continue to develop a robust boarding program characterized by superior advising and program design in an inclusive, supportive, and mission-driven community of students and adults.

5. Develop and enhance athletic offerings and facilities in line with the interests of the students and mission of the School.

6. Expand the intersection of art, creativity, and innovation by further developing our programs in music, and digital, visual, and performing arts.

Enduring Values, Innovative Programming


California’s First Independent and Dominican School

CONTEXT The Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, who have been trailblazers in facilitating education, providing healthcare, seeking social justice, and addressing serious environmental issues, founded San Domenico as an Independent School committed to inclusivity, inquiry, and character-driven education. As a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), we are “independent in Philosophy, Governance, and Finance, driven by a unique mission, governed by an independent board of directors, and supported through independent tuition payments, charitable contributions, and the investment yield of an endowment.” We are one of just over 200 schools in California that are also full members of the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). This select group of schools values “educational excellence, diverse communities, ongoing professional development, and social responsibility.” In addition to being an Independent School, San Domenico is a Dominican School, which means that we express our religious identity through the charism of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. Their motto of Veritas, the search for truth, their focus on social justice and environmental stewardship, and their educational philosophy grounded in both inclusivity and a spirit of inquiry, provides the foundation for our unique approach to spiritual education and the study of world religions. By building on these two pillars of our identity, Independent and Dominican, we have an opportunity to thrive as parents increasingly seek meaningful educational experiences for their children in order to best prepare them for a rapidly changing and unpredictable world.

GOAL Strengthen San Domenico’s identity as an Independent School and clearly articulate our inclusive spiritual foundation.


1. Evaluate, clarify, and strengthen San Domenico’s identity as both a Dominican and an Independent School.

2. Raise awareness of our leadership in providing a model for a unique educational experience marked by an inclusive spiritual foundation and spirit of inquiry.

3. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of our Board of Directors to implement best practices of Independent Schools, specifically committee structure, membership, and governance.

4. Fully engage board members, faculty, staff, and administrators to participate in the Independent School community.

Growing into our history. For who we are. For who we will become. 9

SD Strong

CONTEXT Life today is fast-paced and quickly evolving. Jobs may change and relatives may live in other parts of the world. In a K-12 school, teachers and administrators become the extended family, the proverbial village, which is integral to raising healthy, happy, well-adjusted children. Students who experience a cohesive, purposeful, and innovative curriculum engage in a student-centered process where learning makes sense. A cohesive K-12 education supports and enhances student learning with a purposefully integrated scope and sequence of curriculum. Each grade level intentionally builds on the learning that has come before, both in the “what” and the “how” our teachers teach. Shifts in teaching and learning from grade to grade are gradual and developmentally appropriate. In this way, students feel safe taking risks and are empowered to make important connections across disciplines. Students who grow and develop in a K-12 school are eager to explore who they are in a familiar, rigorous, and engaging learning community. Building a “One-School” culture will return us to our roots, where students of all ages interact with one another, and teachers and parents have more opportunity for community building. From both an operational and an experiential perspective, a One-School approach increases opportunities for success for our School, our teachers, our parents, and most importantly, our students.

GOAL Create a cohesive educational experience across all grades, inspiring families to remain at San Domenico through high school graduation.


1. Build K-12 community and culture among parents, students, faculty, and administration.

2. Develop facilities and schedules that effectively support a K-12 model. 3. Establish a single enrollment management strategy across all three school levels.

4. Foster communication and collaboration to ensure educational best practices among faculty and staff across all three school levels.

5. Articulate, educate, and promote the benefits of a K-12 model to all constituencies.

A K-12 education means children grow up with roots and a sense of place.


Living Our Mission


In the competitive Independent School world, hiring and retaining highly skilled and mission-appropriate teachers must be a priority. At San Domenico, we are committed to graduating students with not only high academic achievement, but also a sense of purpose. To deliver on this promise, our faculty must harness their own creativity and wisdom as educators, while bringing our San Domenico mission to life in their classrooms. We know that the best educators model for our students and for one another a love of learning and a growth mindset. Our professional development must therefore also align with our curricular goals and values, and be responsive to this evolving academic landscape.

GOAL Attract, develop, and retain exceptional faculty who embody and support the mission and vision of San Domenico.


1. Implement hiring strategies to attract and retain outstanding faculty and staff.

2. Design and develop a model for professional development that is aligned with strategic goals, supports the rigorous nature of the curriculum, and is responsive to an evolving academic landscape.

3. Ensure competitive faculty compensation. 4. Integrate technological resources and promote faculty proficiency with these tools to facilitate creativity, communication, and collaboration.

“Important achievements require a clear focus, all-out effort, and a bottomless trunk full of strategies. Plus allies in learning.� – Carol Dweck, Mindset


A Model of Sustainability

CONTEXT Like all independent schools, San Domenico must balance the increasing cost of delivering what tuition-paying parents expect within the boundaries of what they can afford to pay. Our beautiful grounds and facilities require significant upkeep, and changes in our program and the competitive landscape demand new investment. As the thoughtful, intentional changes in our program take root and our reputation grows, enrollment demand will continue to increase. San Domenico will also work to offer more meaningful engagement with its alumni. San Domenico has always been a generous community, and our School will always serve those who are prepared to invest appropriately, according to their means, in their children’s education. From those who can give more, more will be asked, without apology, in confidence that those investments will be stewarded with wisdom, and handsomely repaid in the experience of all our students.

GOAL Ensure San Domenico’s long-term success through inspired governance and leadership, prudent financial management, dynamic student recruitment, bold philanthropic initiatives, and investment in facilities.


1. Increase the demand for enrollment at all levels. 2. Align financial resources with strategic priorities. 3. Prioritize renovation and facility needs in accordance with the safety, educational, and extracurricular needs of students and faculty.

4. Build a culture of philanthropy and strengthen fundraising to meet the needs of the strategic plan.

We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. We live in the moment. We plan for the generations to come.


QUESTIONS? We invite you to contact Head of School, Cecily Stock, or Board Chair, Amy Skewes-Cox, with any questions.

SAN DOMENICO SCHOOL Exceptional Education and a Sense of Purpose 1500 Butterfield Road, San Anselmo, CA 94960 | | 415.258.1900

SD2021: The San Domenico Strategic Plan