Maret School Strategic Plan 2007-2017

In the fall of 2005, the Maret Board of Trustees and faculty asked themselves the questions “Where have we been?” and “Where are we now?” as they began the yearlong work of writing a Self-Study as part of the School’s re-accreditation process. The Self-Study process affirmed that Maret is clearly committed to fulfilling its Mission with students. The School truly lives and works by its Mission, and the Core Values.

Our Vision

The natural next question is, of course, “Where are we going?” This Strategic Plan, the third comprehensive plan taken on by the School, attempts to answer that question as we move ahead into the next decade.

Our Strategic Plan focuses on sustainability—both environmental and economic—and on a heightened awareness of the programmatic and co-curricular adaptations that the School needs to provide for its students as they face a dynamic and increasingly global society. Other important themes include the School’s need for more athletic field space and the aspiration to maintain a racially and economically varied student body, an exceptional, diverse, and generously compensated faculty, and vibrant leadership through an engaged and thoughtful Board and administration.

The keystone of our entire Strategic Plan, however, is building the School’s endowment. A robust and growing endowment will enable Maret to achieve its strategic goals in all aspects of this plan.

As Maret prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2011, we are eager for our entire community to join in appreciation of our shared history and heritage. We shall pause together and admire how far Maret has come since classes first started meeting in a private apartment a hundred years ago. From a tiny single-sex French-language school, Maret has matured into a truly extraordinary institution that can rightly claim its place among the strongest independent schools in the nation. With this Strategic Plan, we have begun working towards 2011 and beyond to maintain, adapt, and improve Maret so that our school will continue to be relevant and viable. We believe that the thoughtful work of the Strategic Planning Committee has provided the School with an ambitious but attainable set of goals to guide us as we prepare to embark on our second century.

Our Students

Enroll students from different backgrounds who possess a variety of interests, perspectives, and talents, and who demonstrate the potential to thrive at Maret.

CONTEXT: The commitment to a diverse and vibrant student population is a key component of the School’s Mission. As a school located in Washington, D.C., we would like our population to reflect more closely the racial, cultural, and economic make-up of our wider community. With our seven-acre campus and K-12 student population, we seek an enrollment that will support a rich academic, artistic, and athletic program while maintaining the dynamic interactions among students and teachers.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Encourage more socioeconomic diversity at Maret by ensuring that our financial aid program includes more grants to middle-income families and that our total financial aid represents at least as high a percentage of our gross tuition income as that at the top quartile of our peer schools.
  • Increase diversity in our student body so that it represents a broader range of ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds and more closely reflects the makeup of the greater Washington community.
  • Assess entry years and our marketing approaches to maximize our ability to attract and enroll the best candidates for Maret.
  • Articulate clearly Maret’s capacity to educate students who have a diverse set of learning styles and talents.

Our Programs

Galvanize the intellectual, analytical, creative, moral, and physical capabilities of our students, equip them to excel in future endeavors, and prepare them to become responsible, thoughtful, and well-informed adults.

CONTEXT:The goal of Maret’s K-12 college preparatory program is to provide a sequential and developmentally appropriate course of study that engages and challenges all of its students. We encourage interdisciplinary and creative approaches to learning. Maret values the development of the whole child, so we consider athletics and the performing and visual arts as essential components of our program. Maret’s dynamic and innovative program is driven by careful examination and assessment of the skills needed to respond to a rapidly changing world. In order to ensure that our curriculum is adequately serving the broad range of talents in our community, the School should be informed of the latest educational research and utilize acknowledged best practices.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Cultivate in our students an understanding that they are part of a local, national, and global community, and ensure they have experiences with and acquire the ability to work with people of different cultures, perspectives, and views.
  • Reevaluate and prioritize the knowledge and the skills in all aspects of our program that our students will need to become responsible and well-informed adults in a global environment in which change, innovation, and technological evolution are inevitable.
  • Discover and utilize the best educational research and practices in each discipline to ensure that our students have the skills, knowledge, and critical thinking ability they will need in the future.
  • Ensure that our program allows each student and teacher time to engage in genuine reflection in order to foster creativity and integrated learning.
  • Retain flexibility and balance in our program, so that each student can pursue diverse interests and cultivate individual passions.
  • Empower our students to grapple with moral and ethical dilemmas and effect change in the community and the world.

Our Values

Promote a school culture that inspires our students, faculty, staff, and parents to uphold and embrace the values of respect, integrity, the individual, connectedness, creativity, excellence, and joy.

CONTEXT: As a learning community, Maret believes that moral awareness, self-understanding, and a respect for individual and cultural differences are critical in the development of the whole person. The School’s rich co-curricular programs encourage the development of leadership, healthy relationships, and independence. The School strives to be clear in its expectations while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere unencumbered by elaborate rules. We value opportunities for authentic student engagement and want our students to be actively involved in the local, national, and global community. By allowing students freedom in manageable increments and encouraging nurtured risk-taking, we expect our students to graduate as self-confident citizens of the world.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Create greater awareness of, understanding of, and commitment to Maret’s core values among students, faculty, and parents, and continuously review the actions of the School to ensure they reflect the values we espouse.
  • Foster a school environment in which all members of the School community feel respected, safe, included, and valued.
  • Provide a coherent and comprehensive emotional and physical health program for all students K-12.
  • Equip students with the tools to understand, appreciate, think critically, and problem-solve about interpersonal and cross-cultural relationships.
  • Encourage greater integration of our K-12 campus to foster responsibility, leadership, and connectedness.

Our Faculty

Seek, retain, and support a highly dedicated, diverse, and excellent faculty of lifelong learners.

CONTEXT: Maret’s flexible and responsive teachers and staff form the basis of the School’s reputation. They guide the students in their overall progress and educational experience. The School is dedicated to excellence in teaching for its diverse student body and to encouraging well-informed, collaborative improvement to the curriculum. In our collegial setting, Maret provides opportunities for faculty to grow in their professional lives and strives to make its faculty feel nurtured and respected. The unique characteristics of Maret that attract and retain faculty are increasingly juxtaposed with “quality of life” pressures, some of which present future recruitment and financial implications.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Provide a competitive, creative, and flexible compensation and benefits package that is comparable to the top quartile of peer schools in order to attract and retain an excellent and diverse faculty and staff.
  • Creatively and thoughtfully address faculty workload to ensure that faculty members have a balanced and reasonable allocation of responsibilities and the time and support to fulfill them.
  • Develop evaluative methods that communicate expectations of professional responsibilities and facilitate faculty accountability and growth and that creatively recognize contributions and achievements.
  • Substantially increase funding for professional development, including enhanced technology support and training in order to achieve programmatic objectives.
  • Further develop divisional and departmental processes that nurture innovation and collaboration among faculty and that enhance our program through active participation in “lifelong” learning.

Our Broader Community

Foster meaningful relationships within our core and extended community, particularly with parents and alumni, and engage with the world beyond our campus.

CONTEXT: A strong sense of community and partnership are resounding themes of our Mission. Parents play an appropriate and active role in school life. In addition, Maret relies on our alumni and all other community members to accomplish our ongoing strategic initiatives. Set within the vast resources of the nation’s capital, Maret is committed to being a good neighbor in our local community and to partnering with other organizations—local, regional, and global—that can enrich our academic program and school life. Maintaining links with our entire extended community ensures an attachment to both our history and our future.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Nurture a robust and respectful partnership between parents and the School characterized by active parental participation and open dialogue.
  • Nurture an active and authentic alumni relationship with Maret that fosters a sense of school pride to enrich our program and encourage alumni involvement and connectedness.
  • Foster meaningful relationships with our extended family of parents of alumni, grandparents, and other family members, and former faculty in order to broaden our perspectives and enrich our community.
  • Thoughtfully engage our school community in the life of the city, nation, and world while drawing on these resources to broaden the Maret experience.
  • Continue to be a good and respectful neighbor in our local community.

Our Facilities

Ensure that Maret’s facilities adequately and appropriately support the School’s current and future programs.

CONTEXT: Maret is situated on an historic site and offers a clean, attractive, and healthy physical environment that supports our Mission. The School is committed to maintaining all of its academic programs on its single campus. Since Maret completed its Master Facilities Plan in 2005, we must continually ensure that the physical plant is meeting our needs as the curriculum evolves, that the School operates on environmentally sound principles, and that it is a safe and healthy place. Maret has only one athletic field, so a concerted effort is necessary to secure more athletic facilities within a reasonable driving distance.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Secure long-term athletic facilities within a reasonable distance of the School.
  • Minimize the School’s environmental impact, and use our campus to support and promote environmental education.
  • Maintain a safe and secure campus, while preserving a sense of openness.
  • Develop, maintain, and care for our facilities to ensure an optimal learning environment.
  • Evaluate use of facilities to increase revenue and advance programmatic goals.
  • Evaluate opportunities to acquire real estate in proximity to Maret.

Our Fiscal Health

Strengthen Maret’s financial health to fulfill our Mission, support our leading commitments, and secure our future sustainability.

CONTEXT: Maret derives most of its income from tuition, a challenge if the School is to sustain its educational vision and program, attract and retain an excellent faculty, and guarantee the integrity of the plant today and into the future. The School must seek to become less dependent on tuition revenue by maximizing its fundraising and other non-tuition revenue sources and expanding its return on investments. Much of what Maret wants to accomplish in this Strategic Plan depends upon the School’s fiscal health.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Dramatically increase the School’s endowment, without compromising the cultural and financial importance of the Annual Fund and Scholarship Auction, so that the endowment meets or exceeds National Association of Independent Schools recommended levels and enables the School to fulfill the Strategic Plan’s objectives.
  • Optimize enrollment and tuition levels while maintaining Maret’s unique character and quality and commitment to socioeconomic diversity.
  • Continue to explore new sources of revenue.
  • Maintain a culture of thoughtful and frugal expense management that includes ongoing financial planning and clear communication with our community.

Our Governing Board

Sustain and enhance the effectiveness of the Board of Trustees to meet our fiscal and strategic responsibilities and to ensure the integrity of Maret and our Mission.

CONTEXT: An independent school board is entrusted with formulating and upholding the school’s mission, ensuring the fiscal integrity of the school, and hiring and supporting the head of school. Strong boards seek to uphold the best practices for governance appropriate for not-for-profit institutions. Maret School is governed by a committed, decisive, and energetic Board of Trustees. For the Board to remain effective, Maret must continually cultivate and engage new trustees who reflect different cultures, races, interests, and perspectives, and who are focused on giving of their time and talents.

OBJECTIVES:

  • Ensure that the Board is composed of dedicated, talented individuals who reflect the strengths and diversity of the Maret community and who share a deep commitment to fulfilling Maret’s Mission.
  • Ensure that each trustee is truly engaged and contributes fully and effectively to the Board’s work.
  • Develop Board leadership opportunities that support effective succession plans for officers and committee chairs.
  • Ensure that the Board continually ascertains and implements best practices of independent school governance, including remaining informed about critical issues affecting the School and promoting transparency by effectively communicating its role and priorities to the broader Maret community.
  • Ensure that the Board maintains an ongoing commitment to the Strategic Plan, prioritizes the objectives, and develops mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of implementing the plan.
  • Ensure a continued strong partnership between the Board and Head of School, based on mutual respect, open communication, clear delineation of responsibilities and objectives, and regular evaluations. 
  • Prepare plans for the succession of the Head of School in the event of a crisis or natural transition.