Project Future - A Strategic Springboard for Shawnigan Lake School 2021-2023

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Project Future A Strategic Springboard for Shawnigan Lake School

2021 – 2023

Foreword Shawnigan Lake School

is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.

World events in 2020 introduced many new challenges to our lives, along with just as many reminders of why we are so proud to be members of the Shawnigan family. In the midst of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so many parents wrote to the School with messages of support and admiration for the way Shawnigan staff stepped forward to deliver an outstanding experience for their children. One parent wrote with this striking and compelling message: I have never been more convinced of Shawnigan’s values than I am right now. In the spring of 2020, we established and shared our Strategic Guiding Principles to help us navigate uncharted waters and guide decision-making. With these principles in place, Shawnigan has met the challenges of COVID-19 with resilience, imagination and courage.

We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples, including the Malahat, Quw’utsun and WSANEC Nations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, learn and share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia. Shawnigan Stag gifted to the School by Rande Cook, Kwagiulth artist


We have consulted our community and commissioned three reports, OurShawnigan Strategic Consultation, The Bernstein Review of Experiential Learning and The Shawnigan Alumni Survey, which all demonstrate a clear strategic path forward for our School. With these reports as a foundation, our original intent was to establish a 10-year strategic plan to steer Shawnigan through to 2030. However, in the face of a global pandemic, we have instead established immediate strategic priorities for the crucial next two years. These priorities will safeguard the School, allow us to be nimble and innovative in uncertain and disruptive times, and serve as a springboard into the decade ahead. Shawnigan is using the challenges and opportunities of this time to catalyze progress, accelerate innovation and initiatives, and develop a distinct and unique Shawnigan value proposition. It is important that the entire Shawnigan community is aware of, and connected to, our purpose, mission, values and strategic priorities. With this in mind, we share with you the following: a) The Shawnigan Black & Gold Circle of Purpose, Mission, Values b) The Shawnigan Strategy House c) Our three strategic pillars (Academic Excellence, Co-Curricular Distinction and Student Life Unparalleled) and related objectives, which will inform and underpin all of our actions at Shawnigan over the next two years – all built upon a foundation of community and financial resilience



The Shawnigan Black & Gold Circle

Motto: “Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat” ‘Let whoever earns the palm (the reward), bear it’ Our motto speaks to striving for excellence, and recognizing and sharing in the success of others.



Our Unique Remarkable Our Purpose

Inspire the best in each to create the best for all

Our Mission

Spark Minds, Kindle Hearts, Forge Futures

Statement of Our Values

Shawnigan Lake School’s values build on our School’s history and traditions and Canadian heritage and values, and serve to inform how we interact with each other and with our world

At Shawnigan Lake School, we value: Curiosity

A culture of curiosity and exploration lies at the heart of a Shawnigan education, inspiring a lifelong practice of discovery about oneself and the world around us. Wonder is the seed that bears the fruit of knowledge and innovation. I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. - Albert Einstein, German Scientist and Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics


Shawnigan values a genuine understanding and appreciation of diverse perspectives and challenges faced by others, combined with a commitment to having a positive impact in the world through humility, empathy, a shared humanity and meaningful action. Treating others with dignity and respect are key principles that guide our interactions. What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead. - Nelson Mandela, South African Statesman and Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize



Shawnigan’s culture is characterized by fellowship, teamwork, responsibility, mutual respect and support, celebration of diversity, a sense of belonging, and a shared purpose and mission. Lifelong friendships are forged here and we seek to guide our students to be community builders at Shawnigan and beyond. ...people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou, American Writer and Civil Rights Activist


The word “courage” is derived from the Latin word for “heart; to show courage is to speak and act from your heart. We encourage our students to be thoughtful, ethical and principled, and to develop moral courage in the face of adversity. We also encourage them to embrace challenges, take risks, seek excellence and develop future-proofing skills in preparation for life beyond our gates. I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.w - Terry Fox, Canadian Athlete and Humanitarian

Shawnigan can and should be a living model of these values. To this end, community members have a personal responsibility to integrate these values into every aspect of their experience at Shawnigan. Conversation is essential to understanding and developing our values. Through our personal commitment to these values, we can create an environment in which every individual can achieve their full potential and ambitions. We seek to provide a balanced, well-rounded education and diverse, interdisciplinary programming along with the delivery of our purpose, mission and values. We nurture the growth of a student’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative and spiritual potential. 7

The Shawnigan Strategy House



The Foundation:

Level 1 – Community


This is Shawnigan / Notre Shawnigan: a co-educational boarding school on the West Coast of Canada with a distinct sense of community.

1. Manage cost structure to build the right size of staff and organization to support program delivery and the School’s ambitions;

The Foundation:

Level 2 – Financial Resilience Invest for Financial Resilience to fund our future.

Ambition: We will build community support and enrolment demand to ensure we have the financial resources, facilities, infrastructure, staffing and services to deliver the Shawnigan mission at the highest level and step into the next decade with confidence. We will ensure a financial and operational structure that secures long-term financial sustainability with a model that is economically, environmentally and socially responsible. We will have the ability to explore innovative programming that sets Shawnigan apart and establishes a competitive advantage on a global scale.

2. Implement a Human Resources strategy to attract new staff and to support development of current staff; 3. Create budget-setting procedures that enable financial planning and management over multiple years; 4. Develop non-tuition revenue streams through active renting of campus facilities outside of school use; 5. Identify the needs and investment required to maintain existing campus buildings and set funding at appropriate levels, including identifying multi-year funding needs; 6. Develop a long and strong admissions waiting list through the development of an admissions marketing plan, digital advertising, and targeting of key geographic and demographic areas – a global school with a global reputation and a global brand; 7. Widen the admissions funnel to broaden appeal to Grade 8 and 9 students through targeted marketing and establishment of Grade 8 Houses and philosophy; 8. Build endowment, scholarship and financial aid to deliver and increase access for talented students, regardless of financial circumstance, and to create a deliberately diverse student body; 9. Develop targeted donor funding for specific school initiatives to enhance education and program development; 10. Build the Annual Fund to support in-year strategic operational initiatives; 11. Define and seek funding for key capital projects that enhance educational programming and facilities in support of strategic initiatives; 12. Invest for IT resilience and develop a reputation for world-class technology infrastructure, resources and talent.



Three Strategic Pillars: A. Inspire Academic Excellence Ambition: We develop a culture of curiosity, collaboration, independence and resilience in our students through educators and peers who inspire our students to embrace a love of learning by challenging them to solve problems critically and creatively.

Objectives: 1. Innovate, design and articulate the unique remarkable of “The Shawnigan Academic Journey”, building from Grade 8 towards post-secondary, with an emphasis on developing the values of Shawnigan and future-proofing skills; 2. Encourage creativity, inquiry-based learning, independence, initiative and a greater sense of autonomy and agency in students; 3. Offer rich opportunities for authentic engagement in experiences that connect us with our place on Vancouver Island, within Canada and the world; 4. Provide a value-added experience that tracks student growth and supports them to reach their individual academic excellence; 5. Encourage students to seek innovative, personally challenging and engaging post-secondary opportunities, both nationally and internationally; 6. Attract, retain and further develop an outstanding, worldly, diverse and ambitious team of educators; 7. Develop collaborative Academic Departments that encourage creative and innovative practice that inspires our students; 8. Develop a provincial and global reputation for distinctive academic education at Shawnigan, where universities, colleges and employers actively seek Shawnigan students to enrich their programs.



Three Strategic Pillars: B. Innovate for Co-Curricular Distinction Ambition: Through the articulation and delivery of the unique remarkable of “The Shawnigan Co-curricular Journey” and moments that matter, we will develop a reputation and competitive edge on a provincial and global stage.

Objectives: 1. Innovate, design and articulate the unique remarkable of “The Shawnigan Co-Curricular Journey”, building from Grade 8 towards post-secondary with an emphasis on developing the values of Shawnigan and futureproofing skills; 2. Deliver an outstanding spectrum of values-based co-curricular options that develop well-rounded students in our unparalleled setting; 3. Attract, retain and further develop an outstanding, diverse and ambitious team of co-curricular staff; 4. Take full advantage of our wilderness environment and the extraordinary educational opportunities presented by our geographical position on Vancouver Island by instilling a lifelong respect for the environment and British Columbia; 5. Explore new opportunities, including experiential and multidisciplinary learning opportunities off-campus and in real-world environments; 6. Develop authentic community engagement (e.g., Cowichan Valley, Indigenous nations, educational organizations) – with the expectation that Shawnigan students make a contribution to local, national and global communities. As part of this, we will be recognized as a valued and humble community partner, and people will be drawn to Shawnigan as a force for good in the world today. 7. Develop a strong and respected reputation as an innovative, imaginative, moral and ethical thought leader that is contributing to the greater good and the preparation of young people to be contributors in a rapidly changing world; 8. Invest in facilities that complement or enhance areas of co-curricular strength and illuminate the Shawnigan journey for students; 9. Building upon the success of C.A.S.E. (Communications, Arts, Sciences and Entrepreneurship) and E.D.G.E. (Engagement, Development, Gratitude and Experience), develop programs and Shawnigan’s all-round experience to attract current and new profiles of students to the School.



Three Strategic Pillars: C. Imagine Student Life Unparalleled Ambition: Develop a reputation, competitive edge and differentiation to be internationally recognized for the delivery of a distinct, unparalleled and bold experience as a British Columbia boarding school.

Objectives: 1. Innovate, design and articulate the unique remarkable “Shawnigan Student Life Journey”, building from Grade 8 towards post-secondary, with emphasis on education of mind, body, character and spirit; on developing the skills of teamwork, self-advocacy, resilience, compassion, a growing sense of autonomy; and on finding the joy of lifelong learning; 2. Create safe and supportive boarding house environments that promote a strong sense of community and belonging for students, staff and parents; 3. Attract, retain and further develop an outstanding, diverse and ambitious team of boarding house staff; 4. Develop excellent, consistent pastoral care practices that effectively support boarding house teams in taking care of our students; 5. Establish a consistently outstanding holistic pastoral care program, with the chapel at the centre of our community, that supports students’ physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being and empowers students with the skills to create healthy lifestyles and habits; 6. Develop the Shawnigan Lake School Advisory system and program to ensure that it provides excellent and holistic support for students; 7. Empower student initiative and voice so that they can be agents of change at Shawnigan and in the wider community; 8. Ensure an equitable co-educational experience for every student through the delivery of all our programs; 9. Build a tolerant and respectful student body that values and embodies diversity, inclusion, belonging and multiculturalism; 10. Equip and commit our students to being environmentally responsible in their lives.



Final Word In a world that has to deal with pandemics, financial crises and widespread unemployment, today’s teenager must develop resilience, innovation and agility to thrive both personally and professionally. Shawnigan will deliver this combination of skills to our students. As stated in the conclusion of the “OurShawnigan Strategic Consultation”: Shawnigan has a multitude of advantages in its drive to determine its next strategic steps, and not least amongst these is a clearly dedicated and passionate community, committed to helping the School evolve and so preparing the students for the world that lies before them. The decisions we take will shape the world of Shawnigan for years to come. It is imperative that the Shawnigan stag is nimble and agile in the months and years ahead and is able to adapt and take advantage of opportunities that arise. This has undoubtedly been a period of innovation and acceleration for Shawnigan. One Governor wrote: I am amazed how you all have turned this pandemic into one of the most creative periods in the School’s history.

It is important that we teach our students to test themselves in order that they acquire the skills necessary to navigate through life. In a prayer by explorer Sir Francis Drake (an inspirational figure for our founder, CW Lonsdale), he guides us that, “where losing sight of land, / We shall find the stars.” Here, at Shawnigan, we aim not just to teach our students the names of the stars, but how to read and navigate by them. We invite our students to be map-makers, to sound the waters, to voyage out away from the trade routes and discover new frontiers – equipped with a moral compass, a logbook of experience and a pioneering sense of adventure. We encourage you to dream of the world we would like to inhabit, and then engage with Project Future to ensure that your School will flourish in this new and dramatically changed world. Project Future is an invitation to us all as members of the Shawnigan community, in the words of Drake’s Prayer, “to push back / the horizons of our hopes”, “to push into the future” and “to dare more boldly”. Palmam qui meruit ferat.

And so we have. We have now established a short- to mid-term plan that is nimble and responsive to the greatest crisis of our lifetime – and, at the same time, anticipates a world into which our students will graduate. Our three strategic pillars of Academic Excellence, Co-Curricular Distinction and Student Life Unparalleled will resonate, differentiate and inspire. Our action plan will make the strategic objectives a reality for Shawnigan students.


Richard ‘Larry’ Lamont Headmaster

Fiona Macfarlane Chair, Board of Governors


Contributors Shawnigan Board of Governors and Directors of Foundation, Shawnigan Senior Leadership Team, Academic Council, House Directors, Co-Curricular Council, Shawnigan Education, Administrative and Operational Staff Students Parents Alumni

Next Stages Project Future provides thoughtful guidance for action. It is a framework for decision-making, allocation of effort and resources, and evaluation of progress.

Comments and Feedback If you have feedback, either now or in the future, please write to:

Supporters Members of the Shawnigan community have come together through workshops, presentations, working groups and surveys to provide input that has helped tremendously to inform the strategic plan: Project Future. Shawnigan has benefited greatly from the contributions and commitment of these individuals and groups, and will benefit further from our continued work together as we move into implementation.

Shawnigan Lake School 1975 Renfrew Road Shawnigan Lake, BC V0R 2W1 Canada


Photography 2021 by Arden Gill


“How to make a dream come true: Don’t focus on the dream, or it will always remain a dream. Instead, focus on the first action you can take to bring that dream a little closer. Then take it. Now focus on the next action, and the next, and take that. Each step brings the dream closer to becoming reality. Why? Our elders teach that the dream world and the real world operate on the same energy. You link them through the power of choice. Choose action and the dream moves ever closer to the real.” Richard Wagamese, Canadian Author and Journalist