Home Community Blog Waterford Rising: Update on the Strategic Plan III

We are on the heels of parent/teacher conferences—a wonderful time of affirmation as faculty partner with families to deepen the impact of the Waterford mission in each student’s life. We are indeed grateful to be working in this most noble of endeavors, inspiring individuals through education to pursue a life of meaning and purpose!

I write this afternoon to provide an update on progress in the implementation of our strategic plan.

In an effort to better support teaching excellence, a central goal of our plan, we are pleased to announce that we have launched a new faculty professional growth process intended to create clear and intentioned pathways toward ever-stronger teaching, and the associated professional development resources those pathways will require. This week, we will begin to explore a faculty compensation philosophy and practice to ensure that we tangibly strengthen and deepen our investment in our teachers, the most essential asset we have in delivering a world-class liberal arts education. Our goal is to establish a course to national and local competitiveness with respect to faculty compensation. Divisionally and departmentally, curricular conversations continue, using our mission as a filter for the continued development of the Waterford program.

To strengthen the student experience we have expanded our health and wellness efforts (student life) with improved curricula in Middle and Upper School health courses, focused assembly and homeroom presentations, and a new partnership with the Harvard Ed School Making Caring Common project. In the Lower School, faculty and administrators have formed a working group to understand current needs around social-emotional learning and how that streams into an educational plan that can be layered across all class levels.

Our partnership initiative, intended to utilize Wasatch Front resources to enrich the classroom experience, is underway. We want to build affiliations that will result in increased student summer internships and other opportunities for meaningful applied learning.

Following the adoption of a new campus master plan, the board of trustees approved an ambitious capital fundraising campaign to build a new science center, student commons, turf-field, and double Waterford’s endowment. We are off to an inspiring start with historic commitments that will be shared in the months ahead. And thank you to those who replied to our Summer offerings survey—Summer Programs are also growing with news to be shared in early January.

On a broader scale, we have begun a series of energizing discussions exploring how the “world-class” modifier to liberal arts in our mission statement informs our efforts to improve all that we do to realize the power and promise of our elevated ideals. In many ways, “world-class” is synonymous with aspiration and not solely intended to point to a specific set of comparative metrics. Wholeness and integrity are central to this pursuit as we strive to reinforce the culture of continuous growth and evolution that drives us closer to our founding vision of the well-lived life and the values of honor, beauty, and wisdom. We look forward to widening the circle of dialogue as we enthusiastically acknowledge that there is no finish line when it comes to improvement!

In an effort to gather specific data about how we are serving you our families, and supporting our faculty, last spring we reached out through our survey partner to assess current parent satisfaction and employee engagement. The methodology included a series of scaled questions as well as free narrative responses. Strong participation yielded helpful feedback. We collated themes and have begun working to address identified areas of growth. The years ahead will allow us to track our progress longitudinally. 

The combination of our strategic goals and operational survey results provides the ideal glide path for informed, sustainable and mission-congruent growth. We look forward to keeping you informed as we pursue our “world-class” ambitions!

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