“Blake 2015: Building on our Strengths” was approved by the Blake Board of Trustees on May 9, 2011. This was the culmination of more than two years of work that began in early 2009 as the School planned for its periodic re-accreditation by the Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS). The Board approved similar planning documents in 2000 (“Blake Five Year Goals”) and 2005 (“Blake 2010: Investing in Excellence, Committing to Community, Ensuring Effectiveness”) so we are right on schedule.
It has been more than 111 years since the School’s founding and almost 40 years since the merger of Northrop, Blake and Highcroft formed The Blake School of today. Now enrolling 1,400 students, Blake has achieved what we believe is the optimum size given our community, facilities and program, and no significant changes in our overall enrollment are anticipated. In the last decade essentially all quantifiable measures of our School’s progress have reflected our growing strength and success. Demand is up, attrition is down, student test scores are up significantly as is the “selectivity” measure of where our seniors continue their studies at college or university. We have a much more diverse student body, faculty and staff. Our financial aid budget has doubled in a decade as has our endowment. In the last decade we have invested over $40 million in the physical plant on all three campuses. We have acquired significant additional property contiguous to the Hopkins campus. We have mapped our curriculum, restructured the way we pay faculty, and overhauled the professional development and evaluation programs for all employees. Even those things which can’t be as easily measured are all pointing in the right direction.
We are not, however, a complacent community. We had arranged for the ISACS re-accreditation to coincide with our interest in a new strategic plan. We surveyed our students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni in the fall of 2008. These survey results informed the work of 32 committees comprised of the very same constituencies. These committees met during the 2009-10 school year and produced a comprehensive 273-page self-study that reflected our own sense of our strengths, challenges, plans and priorities in every area of the School’s work.
The Board of Trustees, collaborating closely with many members of the School’s lead administrative team, focused its January 2011 retreat on the effort of synthesizing the data available, the many reports and recommendations and the strong sense of priorities into the strategic plan outlined in this document. Lengthy discussions took place over the course of the Board’s winter and spring meetings, and with the dedicated efforts of Board Chair Elizabeth Winton, working with fellow Board members Kari Alldredge, Michael Boardman, Norm Rickeman, Michelle Keeley and Head of School John Gulla, a final plan, Blake 2015 was drafted and then ultimately approved by the Board.