The Roeper School Strategic Plan 2018

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THE ROEPER SCHOOL where gifted students love to learn

Fall 2018 I am so proud to share the Roeper School’s latest strategic plan, RoeperNext. One of the most important obligations of the Board of Trustees is to construct and adopt a strategic plan. The development of this plan, spanning a full year and including input from members of the extended Roeper community, was profoundly Roeperian. We were intentionally inclusive and deliberative, allowing time for thoughtful feedback at every step of the process. We began with focus groups and a survey in which students, alumni, faculty, staff, board members, and parents shared their thoughts about the school, identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement. We then invited a wide cross-section of community members to attend our strategic planning retreat where we discussed big ideas and goals for the school, focusing on the issues raised by the focus groups. The strategic planning committee, also representing all segments of the Roeper community, developed the concepts discussed at the retreat into a set of strategic initiatives for the school. After receiving feedback on the initiatives from the retreat participants, faculty, students, and the board, this committee worked over the summer of 2018 to incorporate community input and refine the initiatives and the preamble to this plan. This plan is not a work plan or a to-do list for school administrators. Rather, it is aspirational. It is a roadmap, designed to keep us focused on our mission and the long-term growth and development of the school, providing a guide to the board and administration on how best to prioritize our resources. This plan reflects where Roeper is as a school, moving into its second 75 years with strong and seasoned leadership. We believe RoeperNext will guide The Roeper School for the next five years and beyond. And we look forward to this next part of our journey.

Ashley Lowe Strategic Planning Committee Chair



eorge and Annemarie Roeper understood that the ideas and systems that have brought this generation to where we are today will not be enough to take this next generation to where they are going — our children must be able “to deal with the unknown future.” As our School enters its next 75 years, we understand the need to think strategically, and maintain the flexibility to adjust to the unknowns we will certainly encounter. This plan reflects the need to strengthen and live our core identity, nurture the relationships that form the center of the Roeper educational experience, and steward the responsibility of providing the resources for future generations of Roeper students: a Be the model for best practices in evidence-based teaching and learning of gifted students in a progressive school committed to equity and justice. a Strengthen individual and community health and wellness for a diverse and inclusive school. a Steward the care of future generations of Roeperians through mindful financial planning with a lens toward sustainability, philanthropic action, and accessibility. We live in exponential times, where innovation and disruption to practices, systems, and markets happen more rapidly each year; this strategic plan is a navigational tool on our journey. We can be sure that the nature of school will certainly evolve as changes make their way into our practices and programs — we will need a compass. The Roeper Philosophy has served as, and will continue to serve as, our North Star, providing the guidance that helps us hold firm to our core values, providing the ethical framework for how we will direct our lives as individuals, and to engage as a community with compassion for each other and for this world.

To do things the way they were done in the past will not help our youngsters face our changing times. The ability to recognize, choose, and invent options, the ability to decide, to learn how to learn — all this will better equip our youngsters for the future … George Roeper


THE ROEPER SCHOOL View the needs of each child individually.

Educating and inspiring gifted students to think as individuals and to engage as a community with compassion for each other and this world.

Commit to justice rather than power.

Allow children to participate in the shaping of their own destiny and to consciously prepare them for it.

Prepare this future generation to deal with the unknown.

Make equal human rights for all people a priority.

Except for slight grammatical changes, this reflects the 1981 Philosophy Statement written by George and Annemarie Roeper.



ounders George and Annemarie Roeper believed that all human beings have two central tasks: to come to understand themselves and to discover how they will contribute to the world. As a pre-K through secondary school, Roeper plays a formative role in the pursuit of these lifelong goals and offers a whole child education for gifted individuals driven by the humanistic philosophy of our founders. Our purpose is to guide students on the journey to becoming discerning, humane, engaged adults. In gifted individuals, powerful thinking combines with an emotional intensity to create a worldview that differs from the norm and is supported best by an exceptional learning environment. For these reasons, the distinctive approach of The Roeper School — one that is highly individualized and focused on the social and emotional needs of students — is particularly appropriate for gifted children. The breadth and depth of our academic program, our appreciation for the inherent dignity and emotional complexity of each student, and our authentic partnership with children in the learning process help gifted students realize their potential and their impact on the world.

A Roeper education is characterized by outstanding and profound student-teacher relationships that foster mutual respect. When children are genuinely offered a voice from young ages, they grow to become adults who will do the same for others. This belief pervades every practice of the school and arises from our philosophical conviction that equal human rights breeds a valuable sense of justice and interdependence. We emphasize the importance of students doing their own thinking and making their own choices both in and out of the classroom, so that they become active stakeholders in their education and in their communities. Our curriculum is purposefully structured around the needs and input of students and encourages collaborative learning through peer and multi-age groupings and interactions. The dynamics of our school are designed to empower students and simultaneously to explore the drawbacks of power-driven structures in societies and civilizations. The culmination of a Roeper education has many possible outcomes: our goal is to prepare students with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the unknowns on our collective horizon. Students engage every day with inquiry driven learning focused around problems, projects and complex questions. Our dedication to diversity not only ensures multiple perspectives, but also enriches decision-making and the search for solutions. We hold process in equal regard with content and promote a nuanced understanding of subjects and a passion for learning. Playfulness, exploration, and personal discovery are essential elements at all levels of our school, and as a result, our students apply information in thoughtful and innovative ways. With this holistic perspective, Roeper succeeds in matriculating students of uncommon excellence to the schools and opportunities of their choice. At the time The Roeper School was founded in 1941, George and Annemarie were pioneers in their methods and beliefs. Today, mainstream currents in education aspire to align with those that have steered our school for decades, which only confirms the visionary nature and enduring significance of a Roeper foundation. We specialize in the education of gifted individuals because it is for these students that a humanistic approach to learning is especially compatible and constructive. When their intellectual, emotional, ethical and physical needs are cared for, gifted children flourish and become compelling thinkers, compassionate agents, and fulfilled adults. The Roeper School offers a panoramic educational experience that reaches past the scope of college preparation and inspires individuals for life.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVES Be the model for best practices in evidence-based teaching and learning for gifted students in a progressive school committed to equity and justice. a Define giftedness at Roeper. Articulate the support and accommodations Roeper provides to students, particularly gifted students with exceptionalities and neurodevelopmental differences.


Determine the guidance and professional development necessary for faculty and staff to support gifted education at Roeper. Recruit, retain and support Roeper educators through salary, health security and retirement security consistent with our goals and values.

a Develop a strategic educational technology plan tied to the School’s Educational Statement of Purpose, which strives to provide a “highly individualized” education that prepares “students with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the unknowns on our collective horizon.”

a Facilitate community engagement with the philosophy within and beyond the walls of Roeper to cultivate responsible citizens of the world.

Strengthen individual and community health and wellness for a diverse and inclusive school. a Comprehensively assess and continuously deepen Roeper’s commitment to equity and justice to ensure that our school sustains and expands its growth as an inclusive and multicultural community.

a Elevate the health and wellness programming essential for sustaining the ethos of the Roeper community. a Align the schedule and pace of the school year to support the health and wellness of the community.

Steward the care of future generations of Roeperians through mindful financial planning with a lens toward sustainability, philanthropic action, and accessibility. a Promote a culture of giving across constituency groups that emphasizes an understanding that philanthropy is caring for the future needs of the School.

a Develop new sources of non-tuition revenue, including strategies to grow endowment and planned giving.

a Update the School’s Master Campus Plan and prioritize necessary capital projects.

ASSESSMENT Meaningful change requires a thoughtful and honest review of our progress. Our ability and commitment to measure, analyze, and assess our progress is critical to the success of this plan. a We will evaluate our curriculum to keep pace with current research on education and evidence-based teaching techniques for gifted students. a We will examine our program critically to ensure that we create the opportunity for gifted children to exercise their full capacity to stretch their academic abilities, to enjoy learning, to act with selfgovernance, and to grow through a community of highly qualified and caring teachers. a We will assess the planning, implementation, and fulfillment of measurable goals and appraise their impact in how we achieve our mission.

STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE Ashley Lowe, Chair, Strategic Planning Committee Colleen Allen, Board of Trustees Buck Baker, Chair, Board of Trustees Molly Diemer, LS Parent Rep, Board of Trustees David Feldman, Head of School Maddy Harner ’18, Student Rep, Board of Trustees Karen Johnson, Upper School Director Anessa Owen Kramer ’89, Board of Trustees Carolyn Lett, Director of Diversity and Community Outreach Avery Long ’20, Student Rep, Board of Trustees Susannah Nichols, Staff Rep, Board of Trustees Laura Panek, Staff Rep, Board of Trustees Clay Thomas, Board of Trustees Hannah Wedepohl ’19, Student Rep, Board of Trustees Sarah Baltman Wedepohl ’88, Board of Trustees

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Ashley Lowe, Chair Clay Thomas, Vice Chair – Finance Anessa Owen Kramer ’89, Vice Chair – Administration John Sznewajs, Treasurer Shannon Martin, Secretary Alana Glass ’97, Member-at-Large & Alumni Representative Colleen Allen Linda Ban Paul Borja Molly Diemer, Parent Representative David Feldman, Head of School Steven Grekin Laura Karmanos Avery Long ’20, Student Representative Herman Marable, Jr. ’80

Jay Marks Susannah Nichols, Staff Representative Eric Peterson ’95 Donna Silk Christopher Torres Scott Vartanian, Staff Representative Hannah Wedepohl ’19, Student Representative Sarah Baltman Wedepohl ’88, Parent Representative Doug Winkworth, Honorary Trustee