2225 Torrey Pines Lane
La Jolla, CA 92037
P 858-454-0184 F 858-454-0186
The Board of Trustees are in the process of executing a five-year strategic plan for The Children's School. The voices and opinions of the TCS community were crucial to this process in order to affirm our mission, values, and strengths as a school and to identify areas for further improvement.
Frequently Asked Questions
|Q. ||Why is TCS engaged in strategic planning?|
|A. ||According to NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) and CAIS (California Association of Independent Schools), all independent schools should continually implement, review and/or revise strategic plans that envision the future and provide blueprints for long-term stability. A strategic plan ensures that a school, among other things, has a common, sustainable mission and direction, uses its resources wisely, follows best practices and maximizes enrollment and retention.|
What is the objective of the strategic planning process?
|A. ||The objective is a 5-year strategic plan that will be approved by the Board of Trustees over the summer and that will be implemented immediately.|
|Q. ||Who is responsible for strategic planning?|
As the legal fiduciaries safeguarding the long-term sustainability of TCS, the Board of Trustees has the responsibility of developing a strategic plan. The process of developing the plan, however, must involve outreach to the key stakeholders at TCS: the parents, faculty, administration, staff, students and alumni. Without participation of these different constituencies, the strategic plan would lack “buy in” from the people who are expected to implement and/or support the plan. Once completed, the administration will be responsible, for the most part, for the implementation of the strategic plan, with oversight by the Board of Trustees.
For more than a year, the Strategic Planning Committee of The Board of Trustees has been involved in preparatory steps. It has reviewed current and past documents describing TCS (e.g., accreditation reports, parent guides, contracts, surveys), the mission statement, resources describing the public image of the school (e.g., websites and marketing materials) as well as scholarly articles about constructivist and progressive education. From these resources the Strategic Planning Committee proposed, and the Board of Trustees approved our current mission statement and a vision statement setting forth TCS’s current core values.
The Strategic Planning Committee also formed an ad hoc Steering Committee to help guide the process of encouraging community-wide reflection and conversations about the future of TCS, and to assist in capturing data and opinions from the various TCS constituencies.
The Steering Committee is composed of:
- Rita Albert, 2012-13 Board of Trustees President
- Jackie Fisk, TCS Parent
- Susan Harris, 2012-13 Board of Trustees Member at Large and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for the Board of Trustees
- Helene Mandell, 2012-13 Board of Trustees Member at Large and Strategic Planning Committee Member
- Denise Nasrawi, TCS Preschool Teacher
- Terri Nelson, 2012-13 Board of Trustees Member at Large and Strategic Planning Committee Member
- Carey Noakes, TCS Director of Communications
- Evelyn Terry, TCS Head of School
- Martha Sottosanti, 2012-13 TCS Development Committee Chair and Vice President of the Board of Trustees
- Esther Stearns, 2012-13 TCS Finance Committee Chair and Board of Trustees Treasurer
|Q. ||What were the opportunities for the community to engage in the strategic planning process?|
The strategic planning process centered around opportunities for school constituencies to meet, consider, discuss and/or provide feedback about three major themes relating to “TCS in the 21st Century”:
- Education in the 21st Century
- Students and Learning in the 21st Century and
- The 21st Century School
The Strategic Planning Committee prepared and distributed sruveys relating to the first two themes, as well as a survey about our core values and their implementation.
In addition, the Strategic Planning Committee created three events intended to excite and educate the TCS community, as well as generate thought and discussion about each theme.
- Following Alfie Kohn’s presentation, the Steering Committee engaged in multiple conversations in January and February with parents, faculty, administration and staff about topics relating to Education in the 21st Century, such as faculty and student evaluation and assessment, homework, and curriculum.
- Our second speaker, Dr. Louise Loomis, founder of Thinkwell LLC and Board Member of the New England Cognitive Center, applied her background in cognitive science to discuss issues relevant toStudents and Learning in the 21st Century on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. Topics included the conditions that support optimal brain function and learning, evidence that learning is taking place and the competencies and skills towards which this learning should aim. A separate parent-only conversation about how these issues should be incorporated into TCS programs, curriculum, and evaluations were held the following week on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. The Steering Committee conducted separate conversations with faculty, administration, staff and students on these issues.
- Our final speaker was Dr. Paula Cordeiro, the Dean of the School of Leadership and Education at University of San Diego on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. She spole about the elements of a 21st Century School that support an essential education, such as facilities, financial resources, revenue streams, fundraising efforts, community outreach and the like. The parent-only conversation about applying these ideas to TCS in the future will took place on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. Once again, separate conversations with other TCS constituencies followed.
|Q. ||By engaging in surveys and discussions about the future of TCS, are the different TCS constituencies, such as teachers and parents, expected to know what is best for TCS in the future?|
|A. ||No. The Board of Trustees and the Head of School sifted through community input and ultimately created a strategic plan that addresses both our strengths and areas of growth, but is also consistent with our mission, vision statement, core values, best practices for independent schools and the constructivist principles and related educational values on which this school was founded. Therefore, some of the perspectives shared through this process could not or should not be incorporated into the strategic plan to the extent that they conflict with these parameters.|
|Q. ||Does strategic planning mean everything is “changing” at TCS?|
|A. ||No. TCS has informally been strategically planning for the last 40 years! The objective of the process is to create a formal, written document that will guide the school over the next 5 years to ensure that the mission and values are implemented as effectively as possible and to the long-term benefit of TCS.|
|Q. ||What is the result of this process? What is the TCS Strategic Plan?|
|A. ||Take a look at the Strategic Plan here.|
|At TCS, we understand that children are:
- Unique individuals with learning styles that reflect their distinctive personalities and abilities.
- Holistic beings with intellectual, social, emotional, and physical capacities to learn and be creative.
- Social beings who seek interaction and who are increasingly interested in engaging with a wider set of people as they mature.
At TCS, we maintain a school environment characterized by:
- Faculty, administrators and staff who are committed to maintaining a safe, trustworthy, respectful, and inclusive environment for each child.
- Experienced faculty who create a learning milieu where children anticipate joyful, positive and challenging experiences.
- Diverse families who contribute to the inclusiveness and integration of multiple viewpoints and groups in the community.
- Comprehensive technological and media resources to support learning.
- Enrichment programs that extend opportunities for learning before, during, and after school.
At TCS, the integrated curriculum:
- Stimulates academic and intellectual growth by providing opportunities to develop a strong knowledge base and critical thinking skills through developmentally appropriate project-based, hands-on, real world applications that integrate traditional academic disciplines.
- Focuses on developmentally appropriate opportunities for social growth through deliberate instruction and modeling of respect, responsibility, teamwork and leadership.
- Is robust and flexible to support differentiation of the learning experience for each child.
- Fosters creativity through applications of music and art embedded in classroom learning.
- Affords opportunities for physical education to foster sportsmanship and promote wellness and a healthy lifestyle.
At TCS, our graduates:
- Demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and critical thinking skills.
- Know how to learn and take responsibility for their learning.
- Demonstrate the ability to use technology and adapt to technological change.
- Demonstrate respect for all members of the community.
- Demonstrate the ability to participate as a team member or leader.
- Demonstrate knowledge and awareness of the importance of sustainability in the natural environment.
Strategic Planning Process PowerPoint
For more information about the Strategic Planning at TCS, please take a look at the following powerpoint presentation
(converted to a .pdf file). This was presented to the community in January 2012 during a Parent Association meeting.