Excellence Accelerated: A Strategic Plan for Blake
The Blake School mission, our core values and our commitment to pluralism provide the foundation and direction for the school's future. By pursuing the goals identified in this plan, Blake seeks to instantiate its core values and realize its mission in every dimension of our school.
These goals build on the important progress made in implementing key initiatives of Blake 2015, the school's strategic plan of 2010-15. We continue to build on this progress as we also redefine the strategic planning process itself. Excellence Accelerated: A Strategic Plan for Blake is a living, evolving document that both reflects and projects The Blake School's priorities. In this plan's annual reexamination, we adopt an attentive and nimble strategic posture toward Blake's present and future.
Focusing on four major areas of our educational community, Excellence Accelerated: A Strategic Plan for Blake sets forth the following goals.
I. Program and Curriculum
A. Blake commits to building on the strengths of its preeminent PK-12 academic program, modeling and learning from best educational practices nationally and internationally while cultivating the dynamic curricular evolution essential to excellence.
Academic excellence has long been at the center of a Blake education. Within the context of a strong liberal arts tradition, we also must equip our students with the skills and values to thrive and lead in the 21st century. Blake's commitment to continuous improvement of the academic program through a thoughtful process of curricular change will create learning experiences that are rigorous, globally relevant and grounded in educational research. The strength of our academic program, demonstrated by the outstanding postsecondary options for our students, will continue to increase Blake's leadership profile among independent schools in both the region and the nation.
B. Blake commits to developing global citizens by embedding global education into its PK-12 curriculum, pedagogy and programs and designing a leading, curricular-based global immersion program.
Embedding global education in the heart of the teaching and learning experience allows students to engage in critical examination of multiple perspectives on complex issues, connect meaningfully to an increasingly global Twin Cities community, and thrive in an interconnected world. A robust global immersion program provides opportunities for students to explore, challenge and strengthen their emerging understanding of the responsibilities of global citizenship. Ongoing professional development for Blake faculty within the classroom and around the world ensures that our students undertake this work with a strong curricular frame and a network of globally experienced and informed adults.
II. Faculty, Staff, Administration
A. Blake commits to academic excellence by recruiting and retaining a group of exceptional teachers, professional staff and administrators whose backgrounds reflect a diversity of experience representative of the global environment for which we are preparing our students.
Students learn best in a community that allows them to connect with others through both affinity and difference. School professionals who represent diverse identities and lived experiences enhance students' intellectual, social and emotional learning and prepare them for a changing world. Blake supports and retains these professionals with an array of mentoring programs and opportunities for professional growth and leadership, investing in them in order to sustain their investment in this community.
B. Blake commits to continuous learning by building a robust set of faculty professional development opportunities that cultivate and recognize teacher-leaders, enable collaborative and innovative curricular work and support outside learning.
Teaching is an ongoing process of learning and growth, undertaken both individually and collaboratively. A broad menu of professional development opportunities allows interested faculty to explore different modes of teaching and learning within the school, whether serving as teacher-leaders who help to guide departmental and divisional initiatives, working together to evolve and innovate curriculum, or pursuing opportunities for professional development and education beyond Blake. Such opportunities allow faculty to expand their work beyond the classroom and deepen and refresh their engagement with the school.
III. Student and Family Life
A. Blake commits to attracting and retaining a diverse group of talented students and to ensuring that all students can fully participate in the academic and co-curricular life of the school.
Full participation in the Blake educational experience means that students benefit from our programs both in and out of the classroom. Many critical skills, such as resilience and collaboration, are developed through co-curricular engagement, where students learn among and from people with different perspectives and experiences. By removing barriers to participation, including logistical and financial constraints, we allow students to connect most fully with one another and with the community as a whole, thereby enhancing every student's access to excellence.
B. Blake commits to creating an engaged community where every student and family is invited to feel known, supported and have a sense of belonging.
An engaged community, marked by an active partnership between school and family, is essential to ensuring academic and co-curricular excellence. The multiple perspectives offered by our increasingly diverse community strengthen student educational experiences and outcomes. Students learn and grow more effectively when they feel that they belong; in turn, families who feel seen, heard and valued enhance the life of the school by participating in school events, supporting the educational program and representing Blake locally, nationally and globally.
IV. Financial Sustainability
A. Blake commits to strengthening its long-range plan for financial sustainability, confirming fulfillment of both our school mission and Excellence Accelerated: A Strategic Plan for Blake.
For Blake to build on its legacy of academic excellence, a well-rounded educational experience and preparation for a global world, we must continue to employ wise stewardship of the school's resources. We will develop a long-range financial model that includes growing endowment, managing expenses and balancing short-term needs with long-term sustainability. We will test the model with multiple scenarios and assumptions, update it with relevant external and internal data and use it in making key financial decisions. Through this stewardship, we will ensure that the school has the financial strength, facilities, infrastructure and associated services essential to fulfilling Blake's mission.
B. Blake commits to strengthening educational excellence and creating an environment for excellence through a successful comprehensive campaign focused on endowing programs for faculty professional development, student financial assistance and facilities renovation.
Excellence Accelerated: The Campaign for Blake allows the school to build on its mission to deliver an exceptional academic experience for all grades. With the support of the entire Blake community, we will raise $80 million for endowment, facilities and annual operating funds. Students at each campus will benefit from expanded curricular and programmatic offerings. Upon graduation, all Blake students will be better prepared for the challenges of college and the world beyond. The success of Excellence Accelerated: The Campaign for Blake will provide the school with the financial means to accelerate its mission of excellence and make deep investments in Blake's future.
C. Blake commits to creating an active outreach program, to communicating the distinctive value of a Blake education and to strengthening all aspects of the admissions and enrollment process.
For Blake to thrive educationally and financially, we must engage, attract and enroll families beyond our current base. Strategic expansion of the applicant pool supports a student community that continues to be highly qualified academically and representative of a variety of backgrounds. Continuing in the tradition of Blake's founding principle to create educational opportunities for students based on merit, not financial circumstances, we will promote active and inclusive outreach and enrollment. We will develop a more consistent, energetic and engaging admission process that attracts a deep and diverse pool of candidates and promotes the broad educational strength of the Blake community.