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Expanding our Vision: Strategic Plan 2022

The 2022 Bishop Walker School Strategic Plan is a critical step in directing the momentum of the past few years towards new growth and progress over the next 3–5 years. The five BWS Strategic Plan Planks (strategic planning goals) below were generated with information and input from BWS stakeholder surveys, as well as the 2019–20 Middle States Association accreditation self-study. Finally, conversations were held during the spring and summer of 2021 with individual BWS stakeholders. During the September 2021 BWS board retreat, board members discussed the BWS Strategic Plan Planks. Their input helped refine the plan to closely reflect the diverse perspectives of the board and school stakeholders. Throughout the fall of 2021, Strategic Plan committee co-chairs led six stakeholder conversations about each Strategic Plan Plank to generate questions, comments, ideas, and thoughts while retaining notes of the diverse input that led to the language below. Finally, co-chairs of the Strategic Planning committee met once more to further review, refine, and revise the language of the aspirational goals that will evolve as objectives, strategies, tactics, and benchmarks for success as we enter the implementation phase of the Strategic Plan in the fall of 2022.

I.

Mission Statement

Since the foundational discussions that led to the establishment of the Bishop Walker School, its mission has been clear. However, as BWS evolves from its fledgling roots to an established, maturing institution, an examination of the mission in light of the school’s progress and clarification of how BWS should proceed will provide direction to the school’s leadership.

To ensure mission fidelity and appropriate development, the Bishop Walker School will:​

  • Study, clarify, affirm, or modify the mission statement in light of demographic and financial sustainability considerations

  • Consider adding language that acknowledges, celebrates, and maintains the intent of our founding as a school for underserved African American boys east of the Anacostia River

  • Consider adding a vision statement that makes space for the ongoing evolution of BWS as an institution dedicated to the cultivation of a love of learning, academic excellence and skill mastery, positive identity development, and long-term investment in our scholars and their families

II.

Academic Program

The academic program is one of the most significant pillars of the Bishop Walker experience. Our goal is to help each student develop his full academic potential and to prepare each boy for admission to and success at his next school and beyond.

To provide the best academic experience possible, the Bishop Walker School will:

  • Align content areas vertically to demonstrate an intentional coordination of skills and materials across all grades, with the goal of skill mastery in all core subjects and achievement in the academic goals set in the Middle States accreditation report

  • Stabilize the standardized testing program and report results regularly to cultivate each boy’s intrinsic desire to learn, as well as his curiosity, creativity, and ability to find joy in learning

  • Reaffirm our commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, justice, and dignity in alignment with the National Association of Episcopal Schools statement on inclusion and Episcopal Identity

  • Study our graduates’ progress at their next schools, while designing and stewarding initiatives that support the success of the graduate as a whole and developing child

  • Continue to build a school culture that sets and shares high expectations for student success tied to a strategic, well-informed, and aligned parent body

  • Identify and improve the factors that help to recruit and retain high-quality, mission-appropriate faculty and staff

  • Implement an effective faculty evaluation system and professional development program

  • Coordinate wraparound support for students so that they can fully engage in their learning to reach their full potential

  • Develop systems of differentiation in instruction to serve boys with different learning styles

III.

Marketing, School Size and Scope, and Financial Sustainability

Ensuring the continued success of the Bishop Walker School is dependent on a pool of eager students and supportive families as well as financial support to provide for their education and support.

To reach as many mission-appropriate students as possible and to increase the financial support to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the school, the Bishop Walker School will:

  • Assess the current student body and prospective student/family demographics as a way to better identify potential students and connect our work to the surrounding community

  • Broaden our base of support by increasing our efforts to deepen our involvement east of the river and to become better known as a school that serves boys, their families, and communities

  • Hold generative discussions about BWS’s mission in relation to extending our commitment to scholars and their families into middle school and beyond

  • Study financial sustainability in the shifting market of BWS’s target market areas, including consideration of a sliding scale fee structure

  • Research new opportunities for annual income generation

  • Study the feasibility of a capital campaign for endowment and programmatic needs

IV.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging/BWS Village Building

To live into our mission as an Episcopal School, the Bishop Walker School must pursue and embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. In building the “BWS Village,” all constituents must be acutely aware of the boys’ and families’ lived experiences, challenges, and amount of access to resources in their communities. Educating the whole child requires that we understand and welcome the whole child, their whole family, and their whole community into the school.

In order that we might better serve all of our students and their families, the Bishop Walker School will:

  • Continue to educate faculty, staff, and the board on student/family challenge and resilience

  • Create a culture of belonging, care, and communication across all BWS stakeholders

  • Study our commitment to serving and increasing access to excellent education in the school’s target market areas

  • Increase family and community engagement and support

  • Affirm and develop BWS’s existing efforts to develop a positive identity in each student by more explicitly aligning those efforts with the academic program

V.

Strengthen Board of Trustees Membership and Expand Engagement

The Board of Trustees is charged with ensuring mission fidelity, planning strategically to ensure the future success of the Bishop Walker School, solidifying BWS’s finances currently and in the future, and serving as fiduciaries keeping the school, its students, and its staff in their trust.

To continue the strong, committed leadership of the Board of Trustees, the Bishop Walker School will:

  • Increase board education and training on best practices of nonprofit, private school governance

  • Increase board education and training to deepen its understanding of the communities that BWS serves and of the DEIB goals (articulated in Plank IV)

  • Study the potential benefits of changing the size of the board and/or to add members with specific attributes as a strategic matter

  • Work to create as broad a pool as possible to allow for a more diverse Board

  • Fulfill its responsibilities and strengthen the connection of board members to BWS

  • Examine committee and task force structures and responsibilities