Introduction from School Board President Heidi McLean
It is my great privilege to introduce to you the Strategic Plan for St. James’ Episcopal School for 2013–2018.
Few projects we have undertaken as a board have been more exhilarating and rewarding. Imagine spending a year with a group of brilliant people committed to our beloved school, articulating our collective dreams and then building a strategy to make those dreams a reality. That is what this Strategic Plan does; we have dreamed our dreams and have now articulated them so that we are ready to go to work for the next five years.
Keeping pace with education in the 21st century is not an easy task, but it is our mandate. We are committed to offering the finest elementary and preschool program in Los Angeles while not losing site of the moral and ethical roots so central to our Episcopal roots and the mission of St. James’ Episcopal Church.
My most sincere thanks to Head of School Deborah David, for her continued vision and expertise; Dr. Brenda Bass-Roper, for chairing the Strategic Plan Committee; the full School Board, whose volunteerism exceeds any reasonable expectation; Mary Nichols, Senior Warden of St. James’ Episcopal Church, and The Rev. Tom Discavage, Interim Rector and Priest-in-Charge of St. James’ Episcopal Church for their partnership and guidance; and of course our brilliant and inexhaustible faculty and staff.
Finally, a word of thanks to all the parents and students of St. James’ who continue to inspire us and make our work so rewarding and worthwhile.
With your help and support, we can make our dreams a reality.
School Board President
Introduction from Head of School Deborah David
Dear St. James' Family,
A strategic plan is a lighthouse by which our journey toward greatness is guided.
To build such an edifice…a beacon towering and bright enough to beckon a tall ship safely home…. is a far more complex task than one might at first imagine. Our work began a year and a half ago. Amidst a swirl of data, a maelstrom of educational research, academic commentary from multiple and often conflicting sources, and the sometimes disparate voices of the world’s great educators, we faced an almost insurmountable task with no lack of trepidation. We agreed that we could only be guided through the chaos by the north star of our own Mission Statement, by the “drinking gourd” of our Core Beliefs, by our school’s Episcopal traditions, and by the civil and intentional discourse among us that is so essential to our intellectual and spiritual lives. Imbued with the spirit of our founders and that of the church from which we sprung some 46 years ago, we have listened and read, studied and discerned, written and edited. And today we celebrate the completion of our work. Within the pages of this document you will find our strategic plan.
Now the heavy lifting of creating a vision is behind us; the hard work of actualizing it lies ahead. Between those two phases, we take this moment to breathe, to center our minds and hearts, and perhaps to petition the heavens for divine assistance in accomplishing the tasks that will inevitably challenge both our ingenuity and commitment. God’s grace will be the invisible support that sustains us in realizing the goals of our strategic plan. Your assistance, however, will be a far more palpable source of strength and inspiration. This strategic plan reflects the voices of the community it serves; completing the work it demands will require the full participation of that community. If ever the sweat equity of a whole village were required to raise its children, it is in this endeavor. We need you if we are to succeed; you need us to achieve our goals if your children are to experience the full impact of our hopes and dreams for them. We are united in an inextricable symbiotic coalition and focused on a singular outcome.
Join us, then, as we heave the obstacles from the path and clear the brush from the road ahead. Point out the dangerous shoals for us and push us back from the rocky crags that threaten to ensnare us. The St. James’ lighthouse stands tall and ready to illumine the pilgrimage ahead. In partnership with you, we shall run the course, sail deep and confident into the seas ahead, and, safe at last, we shall reach our ultimate destination triumphant.
Let the journey begin!
Head of School
Goal #1: 21st Century Teaching and Learning
The skills of creation, innovation and collaboration increasingly separate students who are prepared to confront the complex life and work environments of the 21st century from those who are not. Our efforts at achieving true academic excellence in this millennium must include greater emphasis on all aspects of critical thinking, creative problem solving, communication, cooperation, and collaboration.
Through informed curriculum choices, differentiated instruction, and a powerful program of professional development, we will infuse these skills and understandings into the following instructional areas:
- Verbal Communication/Writing
- Fine and Performing Arts
Goal #2: Enhancement of Building and Grounds
The maintenance, enhancement, adaptation and expansion of our facilities is critical to our relevancy for current and future generations of students.
We will, in consultation with St. James’ Church, plan and complete a major project that will maximize the beauty and utility of the entire campus which addresses the need for parking, a performing arts space, improved athletic facilities, and a physical environment that otherwise supports and enhances our 21st Century teaching and learning objectives.
St. James' reminds me of a wonderful old house: one with great bones, enormous character and history, having touched so many families that have lived here over the years. Today, our home has all of the modern amenities, upgrades and an amazing crew to provide us with the very best, without sacrficing one iota of what makes this home so amazing. –Chris Cook, parent and Director of Advancement
Goal #3: Financial Sustainability
We must ensure strong financial management of our affairs, in order to sustain and enhance the long-term financial health of the School while maintaining programmatic excellence, ethnic and economic diversity and competitive tuition levels.
Ensure financial sustainability by securing the resources necessary to meet our objectives, keeping enrollment strong, expanding our operating reserves, building our endowment, seeking to increase annual giving (including a focus on alumni) and keeping our goals tied to financial metrics where possible.
Goal #4: School–Church Synergy
We will sustain and foster a vibrant, mutually supportive environment between St. James’ School and St. James’ Church that strengthens both institutions and enables them to work together for the spiritual and educational benefit of all members of the larger community.
Deepen the conversation with the larger community of St. James’ School and St. James’ Church to identify and implement programs and activities that the school and church can pursue together so to strengthen our shared community.