Second Quarter Update, March 2013

Dear Members of the Archmere Community,

In this, the second quarterly update on the progress we are making on advancing the Strategic Plan for Archmere Academy, you will see that there is significant momentum in each of five areas of focus identified in the Plan, with particular emphasis in the first six months of the plans’ execution on the areas of mission, alumni engagement, and financial sustainability, which includes admissions and advancement.

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

  • Campus Ministry – We will be hiring a Campus Minister to help facilitate among a variety of initiatives the enhancement of our liturgical celebrations, particularly student engagement in and understanding of the Rites of the Church and celebrations that are ecumenically inviting and representational of our school assembly. Our current Campus Minister will be taking on a full teaching load next year; however, he will remain involved in ministry projects.
  • Retreat Programs – We have reviewed student and adult retreat programs, having made changes to the format of the student retreats to respond to different classes’ levels of spiritual and emotional development.  Consequently, individual class retreats were made at Daylesford Abbey, at an outdoor retreat facility in Maryland, and at Archmere. Retreat opportunities for parents, alumni and other members of the Archmere community were highlighted with a link to The Spirituality Center at Daylesford Abbey. More work will continue on potential collaboration with Daylesford’s programs.
  • The AUK Recruiter Program – our grass roots effort of assembling alumni and parent volunteers to network with prospective families about admission to Archmere, supported by online and printed admissions materials – seemed to be effective in its first year, as measured by a waiting list by mid-March for admission to the incoming Freshman Class of 2017.

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

  • Day Schedule – A slightly modified day schedule for the next school year will allow for 30-minute blocks of time to be scheduled regularly or as needed, to allow for flexibility in delivering effective academic and co-curricular programming for the 2013-2014 school year.
  • Calendar – The academic calendar for 2013-2014 has been outlined and published online to provide advance planning by the Archmere community for family and school events and programs.
  • Distance Learning – A pilot program for distance learning will be launched in the new school year with a math program between an independent K-8 school and Archmere.  More details about the program will be shared as details are finalized.  This pilot program will be helpful in evaluating the potential for other on-line academic programs.

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

  • Teacher Evaluation – We have begun piloting a new observation format of teachers in the classroom in this Spring semester.  Used by select department staff members, the new tools for observation and evaluation will be finalized before staff-wide use begins with our new school year.
  • Professional Development – The professional development calendar and programs have focused on effective teaching strategies for integrating technology in the classroom, as well as how to effectively utilize the new evaluation tools and observation techniques. More broadly, plans are in place for all staff, and eventually students, parents, board members, alumni, and parents of alumni, to be introduced to Phase II release of the Archmere Web Site.  The target date for the modifications to be “live” is August 1, 2013.

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

  • Alumni Association Elections – The Alumni Association nominating process for twelve seats on the Alumni Council will be completed on March 29, and voting will begin in April. This election will be open to all alumni.
  • Alumni Involvement – We continue to increase alumni involvement in campus programs. In particular, alumni involvement in Junior Career Day and Senior Career Experience Day continues to increase year over year. Last year, alumni speakers for the Junior class increased by 33% over the previous year, and placement of senior students with alumni in their career settings increased by 5%.
  • Strategic Plan Blog – This strategic planning blog, along with the Headmaster’s blog, will hopefully initiate more timely and fuller communications with the whole Archmere community, and, in particular, the alumni. We believe this communication serves as the foundation for building involvement and continued interest in Archmere.
  • Alumni Gatherings – In the last few months we have brought alumni together at regional informal gatherings in Boston, Philadelphia, and Springfield, PA.  Another gathering of alumni is planned for New York City on April 14, when the Number 1 Nationally Ranked Archmere Mastersingers will be performing at Carnegie Hall. The alumni reception will be held at Kennedy’s, 327 West 57th Street (57th between 8th & 9th Ave). RSVP to Ally McCord or 302-798-6632 ext 706.  We hope to continue these impromptu and planned experiences for alumni across the country.

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

  • Planned Giving Program – The Office of Institutional Advancement, in conjunction with a planned giving marketing company, has established a planned giving program for the Academy.  The Chair of the program, Dr. John Flynn, ’60, has been a alumnus of the Academy, having served as board member and Alumni Council President for a number of years.  Promotional materials and an updated Web site have been created to educate the community about planned gifts.
  • Scholarship Giving – The Office of Institutional Advancement has increased communications with scholarship donors to promote scholarship giving. Staff members, with the Headmaster, have also reached out to other potential and interested members of the Archmere community to discuss the establishment of endowed family-named scholarship funds.

As you can read, much has been accomplished.  Moving into the third quarter of the plan’s execution, many of the action plans completed will be ongoing “best practices.”  I suspect that we will see more detailed action plans being developed around 21st century best practices in learning and the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty and staff.

I write this update to you on the Wednesday of Holy Week, the day before be begin to recount the events of the Last Supper, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As a Jew, Jesus was faithful to his traditions, celebrating Passover with his disciples, recalling the history of his ancestors in Egypt.  He also created, in the action of that meal, a “new covenant,” setting forth a new plan, a new pathway, a new revelation to our understanding of God.  In its most fundamental sense, Archmere’s strategic plan is an extension of Christ’s plan – helping to form people who love and care for one another, who develop and share their talents, who are “prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy: 21), as our mission statement concludes.  I pray that you and your family many enjoy the blessings of Easter.  I continue to be grateful to all the members of the Archmere community for your stewardship and prayers.

Sincerely,

Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D ’76
Headmaster