The Board of Trustees periodically considers and adopts a set of principles to govern the long-range strategic vision for the school and to ensure that we are continuing to evolve and progress in our pursuit of excellence in K-8 education. The current vision will serve as our school’s “North Star” through 2025.
Our current strategic vision consists of five principles outlined below. We have also included some information to elucidate how we are already working to implement those principles as well as how we may further advance them in the future. While the current pandemic has limited to some extent our ability to advance certain goals, we nonetheless believe it is important—even during this challenging time—to keep our eyes fixed firmly on the horizon.
We are grateful for the vital contributions of our Strategic Planning Committee in building on the direction of the Board, the creativity and innovative spirit of our faculty, and the inspiration of our students to create this vision for the future.
With enthusiastic optimism for the future of Alexandria Country Day School,
Head of School
President of the Board of Trustees
Establish ACDS as a center of excellence in teaching and learning through initiatives that attract and retain a diverse group of exemplary teachers, promote professional growth, and inspire educational innovation.
Our teachers are and will remain our most important resource. By providing competitive compensation and benefits and an inclusive and supportive work environment, we will continue to recruit and retain a diverse population of top-notch teaching talent. We will build upon our strong commitment to the professional development of our teachers, such as by supporting internal cross-training so our teachers can learn from each other, sponsoring targeted external development tied to our curriculum, and promoting ACDS’s reputation as a center for teaching excellence by encouraging our faculty to publish or present on their innovative techniques.
|Raise the standard of compensation for our teachers and staff.||Ongoing|
|Overhaul the compensation system at ACDS to better support professional growth, recognize leadership and contribution, and reflect the professional values of our School.||To be completed in Fall 2022|
|Improve the recruitment and retention of teachers of color by casting a broad net in our hiring process, looking beyond independent school sources to ensure that we are generating the most diverse pool possible, and enhancing our professional community to meet the needs of a diverse staff.||Ongoing|
|Deepen our existing strong commitment to professional development through sustained training, support for ongoing curriculum work, and the cultivation of a collaborative and innovative workplace culture.||Ongoing|
|Encourage teaching staff to publish articles, present at conferences, and generally seek ways to share their expertise with the education community.||Ongoing|
|Develop podcasts, blogs, and other media opportunities to promote ACDS as a thought leader in the field of education.||Ongoing|
|Create a Fellowship Program that will bring in up-and-coming teachers to learn from our exceptional teachers in an environment conducive to community and professional growth. This program would expand the number of educators available to our students and afford our teachers opportunities to share their experience and grow from the act of teaching others.||2-3 year process
Substantial financial commitment to staff and fund program
Create partnerships and programs that extend and promote the School’s unique commitment to public speaking, writing, multimedia communication, and civil discourse.
We have already established our unique commitment to helping students become effective, 21st-century communicators by integrating communications skills throughout our curriculum, anchored by major public-speaking events that start with our Save the World Fair in Kindergarten, continue with the First Grade Authors’ Tea and run through our middle schoolers’ Speeches and Sweets program. We will continue to expand this commitment by sponsoring or promoting communications workshops, hosting or seeking out opportunities for our students to engage in public speaking competitions such as debate, and identifying or sponsoring opportunities for students to edit or publish written work. These opportunities will allow our students to further develop their communication skills as well as spotlight ACDS as a regional leader in teaching the foundations for effective communications skills.
|Articulate the “ACDS Method” for building the skills and habits of mind that make our students effective communicators.||To be completed by Fall 2022|
|Refine our approach to Speeches and Sweets to establish a progression of skill-level and sophistication and incorporate a greater variety of communication modalities.||Ongoing|
|Identify opportunities for students to demonstrate their communications skills publicly.||Ongoing|
|Create a Center for communication and critical thinking that promotes the ACDS approach, develops public programming such as a student communication conference, publishes thought pieces in multiple forms, and supports ACDS curricula.||2-3 year process
Requires substantial funding for staff and program development
Enhance and develop our innovative curriculum and instruction in critical thinking, design, analysis, technology, and problem-solving to provide the foundational skills our students will need to succeed in the future.
We understand that our role as a K-8 institution is to prepare the next generation to face the challenges of tomorrow so that they are ready to inherit a rapidly changing world. From climate change to the rise of social networks to the current pandemic, the 21st century has already demonstrated that our children will face complex problems requiring innovative solutions. To succeed in that world, our students will need to be critical thinkers and successful innovators, tackling problems with creativity and a growth mindset. We will continue to work to integrate these skills throughout our curriculum, as well as seek out opportunities for students to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills through extracurricular engagement, such as science fairs and Odyssey of the Mind competitions.
|Develop a critical thinking model that integrates the writing process, scientific method, and design process. Employ this model across subject areas.||To be completed in Fall 2022|
|Overhaul the K-8 science curriculum with an emphasis on foundational skills, design thinking, problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking.||To be completed by Summer 2023|
|Identify and cultivate opportunities for students to apply skills in STEM fields, such as science fairs, competitions, and internships.||Ongoing|
Fulfill our mission commitments to community-mindedness and balance by extending our efforts to address character education, growth mindset, mindfulness, inclusivity, and social engagement.
To successfully navigate our complex, diverse, and increasingly divided world, our students need social-emotional skills to help them engage in respectful discourse and learn how to express themselves thoughtfully and sensitively. The current pandemic has also dramatized the importance of cultivating mindfulness, balance, resilience, and the ability to reflect during turbulent times. We will continue to expand and build our students’ capacity to engage thoughtfully and respectfully with others, to grow their cultural competence and commitment to inclusivity, and to maintain personal balance in emotionally stressful and challenging times.
|Develop and strengthen programming that addresses individual and community well-being.||Ongoing|
|Continue to deepen and nurture our commitment to service learning.||Ongoing|
|Articulate and showcase our balanced approach to diversity and inclusivity.||To be completed by Spring 2022|
|Engage the Virginia Center For Inclusive Communities to provide comprehensive support in strengthening and enhancing our approach to diversity and inclusivity.||Initiated in 2021|
|Enhance and expand student leadership opportunities.||Ongoing|
Expand our use of the dynamic region in which we live to enhance civic engagement, develop leadership skills, and serve our community.
While we have been somewhat limited in our ability to fully engage with our surrounding region due to the pandemic, we are proud of ACDS’s record of civic engagement and public service. Through innovative projects like the Monticello Park improvement initiative, our students showed that they can be active participants in enhancing our community. We will continue to seek out ways for our students to be good public partners, cultivate leadership skills and a commitment to public service, and encourage them to engage fully with the surrounding community and all that it has to offer.
|Establish and strengthen partnerships for service learning.||Ongoing|
|Strengthen connections with alumni and alumni parent community to leverage resources and networks in service to students and graduates.||Initiated in 2021|
|Identify and cultivate opportunities for students to apply their learning in real-world situations.||Ongoing|
Strategic Planning Committee
Atilla Kocsis, Chair, Board, Parent, Alexander ‘24, Vivian ‘22
Scott Baytosh, Head of School, Parent, Seneca ‘21
Stephen Bearce, Board, Parent, Charlie ‘24, Matthew ‘22
Ed Goeas, Parent, Robert ‘19, Bennett ‘23
Ellie Hall, Teacher, Kindergarten
Edith Naegele, Board, Parent, Jane ‘22, Charlie ‘25
Amy Newhouse, Teacher, 6th Grade Social Studies
Lawrence Nunn, Board, Parent, Sabella ‘27
Michael O’Leary, Board, Alumni Parent, Conor ‘14, Colin ‘16
Sarah Shannon, Teacher, 2nd Grade
Jennifer Young, Parent, Jeremy ‘20, Jimmy ‘18, Eliza ‘18