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Strategic Vision: Phase One


“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” —Socrates



Dear Friends, As an artist sees the splendor that will emerge from the clay, we hold in our minds a vision of what Stuart Hall will be in the coming decades. We introduce to you in these pages the contours of a bold future: a strategic plan, in its first of three phases, which will redefine our educational program. Our strategic vision, born of our mission, represents our commitment to educational innovation, to decisive action, and to our community.

Our vision is to produce students who are invaluable to the future and will navigate with confidence a world we cannot even imagine.

Our vision is to produce students who are invaluable to the future and

will navigate with confidence a world we cannot even imagine. To educate in the 21st century is to instill in students the truth of Socrates’ famous paradigm, “wonder is the beginning of wisdom.� To that end, our vision is to collaborate with the city of Staunton and with the community at large to deliver outstanding inquiry-based and authentic learning through curriculum that is inextricably tied to the people, places, and programs within this vibrant, nationally recognized area.

To accomplish this we will bring our two campuses together in Staunton,

revolutionize our physical learning environment, commit to strategic partnerships with institutions across our area, and support our faculty in their professional development.


In consultation with experts like Patrick Basset, former President of the

National Association of Independent Schools, and with the full support of the Board of Governors, we have developed and continue to refine a plan that will distinguish us among independent schools.

We invite you to partner with us as this vision is transformed from the

conceptual to the concrete, in three phases, as follows:

Phase I Sharing of Strategic Vision with the Stuart Hall Community & Public

Phase II Sharing of Architectural Renderings, Case Statement & Fundraising Plan

Phase III Sharing of Curricular & Programmatic Initiatives Related to Authentic Learning

As always, we thank you for your continuing commitment to Stuart Hall School. Sincerely, Dennis W. Cross Mark H. Eastham Chair, Board of Governors


Head of School

We believe... In the inherent value of a liberal arts education, focusing on humanities, philosophy, sciences, and mathematics, as it fosters rigorous academic exploration and intellectual depth and breadth. That the fundamental purpose of education has expanded, and in order to prepare students for meaningful, productive lives, education today must go further than it has before: teaching students to apply liberal arts thinking to relevant, real-world situations, and in doing so, develop necessary life skills. That to be culturally relevant and economically sustainable, Stuart Hall must offer a dynamically different educational program, lifting the confinement and constraints of the traditional instructional setting, to prepare students for university and beyond. That education today must guide tomorrow’s leaders to develop an internal sense of direction and purpose, embracing the value that each individual brings to the greater whole. In the educational imperative of creating adaptable, flexible, and resilient students to meet the needs of a future working world not yet imagined. In our responsibility to create an environment in which children are known, cared for, and respected as individuals. That a thriving institution must continually self-assess and act boldly.


Our Mission To prepare students of all faiths for success in universities worldwide and for engaged lives of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and contribution.

Key Proficiencies Stuart Hall graduates will be: Honorable & ethical individuals • Creative innovators • Critical thinkers • Effective communicators • Global citizens • Effective collaborators

Our Vision Stuart Hall School will be recognized globally as a distinctive teaching and learning environment: a premiere day and boarding school in the Episcopal tradition with historic Staunton, Virginia as our campus, offering students innovative educational and real-world experiences and equipping them to be meaningful contributors to the world. Imagine you’re a junior in high school; you go to school in an acclaimed small town where you walk from a morning entrepreneurship course to a coffee shop to meet your philosophy study group for a discussion on Kant’s view of the highest good, to your robotics class at an engineering co-op. You work alongside friends you’ve known since kindergarten, or others you met in ninth grade from Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey. How might your educational experience be impacted by an innovative program which teaches you resilience, adaptability, and purpose in the context of meaningful tradition, an international student body, and an acclaimed curriculum?


Our Timing Why is now the right time for this new vision?

Over the past decade, we have taken steps in pursuit of strategic growth leading to institutional stability and sustainability, including: • Merger with Hunter McGuire School • Addition of Pre-Kindergarten • Intentional growth of our boarding program, including the opening of two new dorms • Decision to become a fully coeducational school, day and boarding • Creation of a Math & Science Emphasis Program to complement our existing Fine Arts Emphasis program • Development of the Stuart Hall Graduate Key Proficiencies All of these steps have helped the School achieve a stable foundation. Now is the time to build upon that foundation and secure long-term sustainability by identifying what can set our program apart, and how best to teach the skills associated with our Stuart Hall Graduate Key Proficiencies: to consider what space, what context, and what means to use to educate students in the 21st century.


As a part of this exploration, our community embarked on a two-pronged

planning process: an overview and evaluation of our pedagogy, Pre-K through grade 12, resulting in our Stuart Hall Graduate program, and a campus master planning process. Through these two initiatives, a seemingly obvious realization became clear: our Staunton campus sits within what Smithsonian and other magazines have hailed as one of the best small towns in America, offering “big-city vibrancy and culture.” This unique setting—vibrant, safe, and entrepreneurial—opens the door to the development of an educational venture akin to that offered at urban universities such as New York University or Virginia Commonwealth University, but at the secondary, independent school level. Such an initiative allows our location and curriculum to intersect in meaningful ways, developing in students the Stuart Hall Graduate Key Proficiencies through authentic learning and inquiry-based pedagogy, while fully embracing the city of Staunton as our campus.


Next Steps A program that embraces authentic and inquiry learning strategies Preparing students for a world we can’t yet imagine “Authentic learning: a pedagogical approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner.” —Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999 Authentic and inquiry-based learning strategies, including approaches such as problem-based, place-based, and project-based learning, will drive the desired outcomes of the Stuart Hall program and will be the avenue for the expression of the Stuart Hall Graduate Key Proficiencies. From social studies to math to service-learning, key components of our program will be delivered through the lens of challenges that exist in the world around us.

To pave the way for these new programmatic initiatives, we must begin

by preparing teachers to utilize teaching techniques that instill ownership of learning and develop high level thinking skills—a process we have already begun through an intense analysis of existing curriculum and teaching strategies, and through the development of our Stuart Hall Graduate Key Proficiencies. Parents and community members can expect to hear more about our evolving curriculum in Phase III. As our students’ world expands, so should the process and environment for learning.


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Strategic Partnerships Connecting theory with real-world learning Strategic partnerships in Staunton and Augusta County are key to the future of authentic learning at Stuart Hall. With a diverse array of institutions, businesses, and non-profits in our community, Stuart Hall is well positioned to partner with organizations for engaged learning outside of a traditional classroom.

Whether students collaborate to solve the needs of community members

with Blue Ridge Area Food Bank or engage in discourse about community farms and sustainability with Project Grows, Stuart Hall students will spend time inside and outside of the classroom, connecting multiple academic disciplines to a single project or challenge.

We are already in meetings with key community members and rep-

resentatives from organizations with whom we could partner in 2016-17 to enhance our project-based initiative. We will continue to update our school community as these strategic partnerships unfold. For an evolving list of Stuart Hall partners, visit

Innovative Spaces Enhancing learning through flexible, forward-thinking learning environments Over the next several years, Stuart Hall’s facilities and campus will be transformed into a state-of-the-art and developmentally appropriate facility for


Lower, Middle, and Upper School students. Housing all three divisions in Staunton, acquiring additional space downtown, renovating our existing academic spaces and restoring parts of the exterior of our historic buildings, we will achieve the multi-faceted goal of increasing divisional connectedness, maximizing our use of resources, and providing progressive environments for a distinctive learning experience that emphasizes flexible collaboration.

Through our master planning process with the nationally recognized

architecture firm, Bartzen + Ball, the School has identified two building and renovation scenarios in which all of our students, Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, will benefit. At this point in our Strategic Visioning process, we are, along with our architects, physical plant consultants, and realtors, undertaking the cost-benefit analysis of our two researched plans. Both plans recognize and celebrate the unique identity of each division of Stuart Hall — Lower, Middle, and Upper — and we are confident that as we move forward, the character of each of our divisions will continue to be pronounced within new and cutting-edge spaces.

Details about the future of Stuart Hall’s facilities and acquisition of real

estate will be available in Phase II.


Fundraising & Momentum Securing the future Plans are underway to secure funding for the building, renovation & maintenance of these new and improved spaces. More information about our comprehensive fundraising plan will be available in Phase II of our Strategic Vision. “One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. “Education in the 21st century is about creating innovative, flexible thinkers. Stuart Hall is modeling innovation and flexibility for its students in this strategic vision. Student outcomes from project-based learning are well documented and have high rates of success, and incorporating the city of Staunton and its surrounding areas into an authentic learning curriculum will establish Stuart Hall as a thought-leader in independent schools.” —Pat Bassett, National Network of Schools in Partnership and former President of the National Association of Independent Schools


Supporting Research and Guidance

Stuart Hall’s vision and goals are informed by current research on the educational needs of tomorrow’s leaders and the characteristics of sustainable schools including the following: Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2015). Creative schools: The grassroots revolution that’s transforming education. New York, NY: Viking. Davison, D. R., & Davison, J. (2009). Affordability and demand: Financial sustainability for independent schools. Washington, D.C.: National Association of Independent Schools. Wagner, T. (2008). The global achievement gap: Why even our best schools don’t teach the new survival skills our children need — and what we can do about it. New York: Basic Books.

15 Stuart Hall School P.O. Box 210 Staunton, VA 24402  540/885–0356 

Profile for Stuart Hall School

Stuart Hall School Vision Phase I 2016  

Stuart Hall School Vision Phase I 2016