After a year of work by more than 50 people to develop a strategic plan for the school, Lincoln Academy leaders are ready to pursue the goals in the plan.
Early steps include the formation of a Mission Review Task Force to revise the school’s mission and the preparation of a master plan for the school’s campus.
The strategic plan carries the title “Preparing Our Future: School Action Plan” and lays out three “strategic focus” areas: “invest in our program and people,” “build a long-term vision for our campus,” and “cultivate the sustainability of our school community.”
Each area of strategic focus lists a series of objectives.
Program and people
The review of the school’s mission constitutes the first of five objectives in the first strategic focus.
Lincoln Academy currently has a 140-word mission statement, and school leaders want to make it short enough so everyone in the school will know what it says and means.
The next two objectives include a review of the school’s curriculum and the development of “one or more signature educational programs that differentiate Lincoln and offer our students unique opportunities for growth,” according to the plan.
A signature program or programs would help the school “attract students who have hundreds of educational options if they’re interested in going to a boarding school,” said Lincoln Academy Associate Head for External Affairs Matt Goetting.
The school has yet to decide on a signature program, but a marine program of some kind has generated interest. The school already offers a marine studies and exploration certificate program.
The fourth and fifth objectives under “program and people” focus on “student wellness” and faculty support.
Changes to improve student wellness could include adjustments to the daily schedule or the addition of support services to address student needs.
The plan calls for the school to encourage professional development for faculty, as well as collaboration, cross-disciplinary work, and innovation.
“It’s an educational institution, not just for the students, but for the faculty and staff who are here as well,” Goetting said.
The school hopes the atmosphere it creates will aid in recruitment and retention.
“We want to make sure we attract really great educators, but also keep them – keep them happy and engaged and invigorated – and make them feel valued,” Goetting said.
The first of three objectives under the strategic focus to “build a long-term vision” for the campus is to develop a master plan, and work is already underway.
Scott Simons Architects, of Portland, will review LA facilities and programs and work with the school to develop the master plan. “The firm has extensive experience in master planning and they know schools,” Goetting said.
The plan will address any needs for new facilities or improvements to existing facilities, and will include costs and potential locations for any new facilities it recommends.
School leaders expect the recommendations to include a new performing arts center.
“It’s no secret that we have a really fantastic performing arts program and our facilities are subpar,” Head of School David Sturdevant said.
The second and third objectives are to “develop a protocol for new campus building projects, including design and production committees,” and to “bring consciousness of environmental stewardship into all aspects of our programs.”
The school has already started to fulfill the last objective, with major investments like a geothermal energy system for the Cable-Burns Applied Technology and Engineering Center and smaller measures like using electronic communications to save paper.
The final strategic focus – to cultivate the sustainability of the school community – has four objectives. The first focuses on admissions, and part of the objective is to establish LA “as the high school of choice in a region with multiple options.”
“Every student we have chooses to come here,” Sturdevant said. “For some of them, it’s more practical, but still, everyone has a choice.”
The second focuses on the school’s role as a “community hub of learning.”
People of all ages in the community already use Lincoln Academy facilities for academic and athletic purposes, and the school wants to encourage this use and see it grow.
“We want to be the educational center of the area, not just for high school from 8 to 2:30 – for everything,” Sturdevant said.
The third objective is to “implement financial and fundraising strategies that provide long-term stability and new opportunities for the school.”
“We’ve been very successful at that, but we need to make sure we’re doing the right things to continue to be successful,” said Rob Nelson, an LA trustee and the chairman of the strategic-planning steering committee.
The fourth and final objective of the final strategic focus has to do with the role of the board of trustees and the use of best practices in school governance.
The school intends to measure its progress toward each objective on an ongoing basis.
“I think that’s crucial, because, as with any place, everybody’s busy, everybody’s doing the things they’re doing, and things tend to sometimes get put aside,” Sturdevant said.
“As we complete pieces of this plan, we will be revisiting it and revising it and thinking about what the next steps are,” Nelson said. “We’re never going to be done with this. It’s going to evolve and we’re going to continue to make progress.”
The members of the Lincoln Academy Strategic Planning Steering Committee were Seth Anderson, Jim Birkett, Andrew Fenniman, Ben Frey, Goetting, Pam Gormley, Betsy Grannis, Bryan Manahan, Ann McFarland, Stephany Morris, Andy Mullin, Nelson, Brian O’Mahoney, John Ormiston, Hugh Riddleberger, Margot Riley, Judy Silver, Sturdevant, Christa Thorpe, Carl Von Vogt, Peter Wagner, and Chrissy Wajer.
The committee worked with a consultant, Ian Symmonds & Associates. A total of more than 50 people were on the committee and its subcommittees.
To read the plan, go to lincolnacademy.org/lincoln-academy-strategic-plan.