Advance 2021: Let’s Make It a Reality

Preparing for the start of school is my favorite time of the year. I enjoy the energy and excitement in the building from teachers preparing their classrooms, staff putting the finishing touches to plans and schedules for a smooth beginning, and students returning with joyful anticipation. Having completed my first year, I also joyfully anticipate the familiar routines, traditions, and faces that define our community. The administrative staff and I spent this summer also preparing. We will return our attention to the strategic plan.

I believe Friends Select could become the preeminent urban Quaker school in the country. Given our teaching talent and our school history that is intricately connected to our rich, historic city, we are best positioned to offer an educational experience that is relevant, engaging, alive, and lasting, and prepare students to live empathic and impactful lives, while providing access to those with high aspirations to learn but have limited means.  

With this vision in mind, we will be busy this year giving shape and form to our strategic plan, Advance 2021. Our goals are to continue to strive for excellence in teaching and learning, have a facility that supports student development and academic excellence, significantly increase the number of partnerships in the city, and grow the endowment. Committees have been formed and work has begun with the expectation that a more detailed strategic plan will exist by this time next year.

In addition to the strategic plan, we will address the recommendations that are in the PAIS Accreditation Report, a report that speaks glowingly about our school and congratulates us on our reaccreditation. A few recommendations in the report are to produce a clear PreK through 12 curricular map and to create an academic schedule that allows the upper and middle school to get out into the city more. This work will get folded in with the work the strategic planning committees are doing.
Also, we will spend our time celebrating. Different activities are planned for our community around the opening of the renovated Blauvelt Theatre. A kick-off speakers series is planned that was imagined and organized by upper school teacher, Brian Kors, and middle school teacher, Steph Demko, and is designed to model and teach civil discourse. The 100th anniversary of the Parkway commences this month and will continue through November 2018. As a member of the Parkway Council, Friends Select has curated an exhibit showing our history on the Parkway and has plans for other activities throughout the year that involve the school community. All of this points to the exciting, positive energy we can look forward to this year.