School Releases Strategic Plan in March
by Rebecca Chernick on Friday, October 25th, 2013
After two years of planning, the Milton Academy Board of Trustees approved the school’s new Strategic Plan to reshape Milton’s academics. The full plan was released to the Milton community during the first week of March 2013.
Following a successful re-accreditation process with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in September 2011, the Strategic Planning Process brought together trustees, administrators, and faculty who identified the school’s academic objectives for the next five to ten years. The Strategic Planning process included input from various groups such as “Education”, “Student Life”, multiple “faculty task forces”, another committee that oversaw the process, and an “Integration Team”, which combined the recommendations of all of the committees to draft a set of priorities.
The Strategic Plan highlights areas for improvement in education, faculty, accessibility, affordability, and infrastructure. Occasionally, Milton will articulate a framework of competencies, renew the curriculum, strengthen the advising program, and develop character and leadership in education. Milton will provide professional development opportunities and compensation for faculty, hoping to expand faculty diversity. Milton plans to refurbish the Robert Saltonstall Gymnasium and Arts and Media Center as well as build additional Faculty Housing. Finally, the school hopes to increase financial aid for both tuition and non-tuition costs. Head of School Todd Bland stated, “What we are [hoping is] for Milton to be the best school it can be, there is so much we need to put resources and energy into to focus on ‘holistic education,’ not just what has been traditionally thought of as ‘the cognitive realm.’”
Chief Communications Officer Cathy Everett said, “Almost everything in the Strategic Plan is symbiotically related. There is not a single piece you can pull out to say ‘to get here, we are going to do these steps 1, 2, 3.’ Instead, every step is meant to affect every other step and to have an overarching result. For example, on the one hand, you have Ms. Chugani looking very carefully at what is going on in the classroom, and on the other hand, you have the departments looking at their curriculums.”
Mr. Ruiz, Dean of Students, added, “We want to enhance both student experience and communication with parents. Down the road, we want to find time where we can create some meaningful dialogue between students and advisors.” Dean Ruiz is optimistic about improvements, saying, “ There will be opportunity for student and other faculty voices as well. We are hoping, if all goes well, to roll something out for the 2014-2015 academic year.”
Students had mixed views regarding the Strategic Plan. Ravi Rahman (III) said, “I have been looking at it to see how it would benefit the Robotics Team.” He explained that, “faculty diversity and pay should be close, if not at, the top of the list. I would like to see less waste, which would allow the school to pay better faculty more, lower tuition, provide more financial aid, and/or provide more support for student extracurriculars.”
Alison Garber (II) added, “I definitely think that Milton could improve its advising system.” Claire Russell (I) disagreed, stating, “I don’t think much needs to be changed in the advising system. It is pretty straight forward and is working well.” Ravi also mentioned, “I think that the advising system is pretty good. I would rather see the same effort be put in teacher-parent communication or administration-parent communication.”
Iladro Sauls (II) commented, “I believe that it’s of the utmost importance to keep classroom conversation relevant to the happenings of the world around us. The administration does a wonderful job of promoting and encouraging diversity, in all senses of the word. Therefore, in the interest of the betterment of Milton Academy and its students, this strategic plan must include plans to continually create and endorse new opportunities for Milton students to express their individuality.”
Helena Thatcher (I) praises Milton’s ability “to take a truly new approach to these issues.” She says, “For the 13 years I’ve been at Milton, I’ve never really seen the administration think outside the box on big picture issues.” Mrs. Everett says that the plan has already started to impact the school. She states that “the development of Ms. Chugani’s position, the publishing of the plan, the creation of the Teaching and Learning team, all of these things are direct outgrowths of the Strategic Planning Process. I think because it involves a cultural shift, kids will feel it soon. There is a great readiness and openness on the part of the faculty to make it all happen.”
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