First Quarter Update, Feb. 2013

Dear Members of the Archmere Community,

I am delighted to provide the first quarterly update on the progress we are making on advancing the Strategic Plan for Archmere Academy.  Since the plan was officially presented to the school community in November, we have been developing and refining some action plans, while accomplishing others in each of five areas of focus identified in the Plan

Archmere will articulate, promote, and live its unique mission.

  • Saint Norbert Leadership Corps – 40 students have registered to attend this one-week leadership institute at St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin in June, which will be taught by instructors who teach courses in the college’s “leadership” minor.
  • Saint Norbert Heritage Tour – the faculty members who traveled to Belgium and France for the pilgrimage last summer offered presentations to faculty, staff and students and have created plans to incorporate global connections and unique historical perspectives into the curriculum for students, beginning in the current Spring semester. Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O.Praem. of Daylesford  Abbey and Archmere Board member, is planning the itinerary for a Summer 2014 Heritage Tour.
  • The Patio Classroom – Classes began being held in the Patio at the start of the current school year.  Currently, students in some religion, psychology, and English classes enjoy the newly renovated classroom in the northwest corner of the first floor – originally designed as the children’s playroom during the Raskob years.
  • Patio Renovations – Improvements to the kitchen and pantry of the Patio have been made in anticipation of increased use of the Patio for social functions, and another “quad” is being developed between the Patio and the Justin E. Diny Science Center, which will connect the Patio to the rest of the campus buildings with pathways that will wind through a “Stations of the Cross” Garden for student and staff use during the school day.
  • The Oratory – Phase I of the Oratory and Spirituality Center project in Saint Norbert Hall has been completed, which replaced the original chapel space with a much larger gathering space to seat 130 people – approximately one entire grade level class – and offices for the campus minister, chaplain, and community service coordinator.

Archmere will enhance its exceptional academic tradition with 21st century best practices for learning to attract and advance motivated and talented students.

  • Interdepartmental Dialogue – Principal, Mr. John Jordan ’80, has led conversations with the faculty members around several topics. He has initiated weekly meetings attended by all of the chairpersons of each academic department. With exchanges of ideas, an on-going interdepartmental dialog is developing into an efficient and open communication process to engage in cross-curricular topics.  These discussions will lead to more in-depth conversations and projects around curriculum design.
  • Day Schedule – Through increased interdepartmental conversations, faculty members were able to develop consensus on day schedule modifications for next year that will better accommodate program needs and enhance learning for students
  • New Programs – The development of several new programs has begun that will be introduced next fall including an offering of Chinese I, and a String Program.

Archmere will attract, retain, and develop excellent teachers and staff to preserve the Archmere experience for its students.

  • Professional Development, Compensation and Evaluation – After a year-long study of professional development and evaluation practices, salary and benefits, the recommendations made by trustees and staff members who served on sub-committees, were approved by the Board at the January Board meeting, including:
    • A 360-degreee evaluation process for staff
    • A merit-based salary model
    • A focus on professional development
    • A refinement of benefits management to enhance the effectiveness of total compensation offerings for staff.

Archmere will engage its alumni to become more involved in the Archmere community.

  • Alumni Association – Recommendations for revision of the association structure to increase alumni engagement and communications were completed by a committee in December and approved at the January board meeting.  The school in conjunction with the current Alumni Council will begin implementing these new procedures with communication about a nomination and election process this Spring. Read more about these plans on pages 10-11 of The Winter 2013 Archmerean
  • Alumni Relations – Advancement resources were allocated to alumni relations this past summer, including the creation of the Alumni Relations Officer position, the enhancement of existing events and the development of more strategic alumni communications.
  • Data Accuracy – Archmere’s presence on social media and focus on alumni communication has increased the Academy’s connections with alumni and vastly improved our data.

Archmere will ensure financial sustainability by assessing and articulating the Academy’s needs and priorities.

  • Budget Model – Review of budget forecasts with a new budget model were developed by the administration and the Board. Archmere continues to maintain a balanced budget.
  • Fundraising – Archmere’s fundraising initiatives have been reviewed and outlined for the remainder of the fiscal year so that they we may meet our goals using only cost-effective strategies.
  • Tuition – We are happy to announce the lowest percentage tuition increase in the last 30 years for 2013-2014. Tuition will be increased by 3 percent, making next year’s tuition $22,480
  • Admissions – An enhanced Admissions program, which includes increased staff and a strong grass roots marketing program, projects a steady enrollment for next year.

As you can read, much has been accomplished as we initiate strategies to achieve our planning goals.  Much more needs to be accomplished in the years ahead.  I am grateful to all the members of the Archmere community for your stewardship and prayers.