Second Quarter Update, Jan. 2014

Dear Members of the Archmere Community:

As we turn the page from the first semester to the second, we have initiated and completed several actions plans during the second quarter of the fiscal year as we continue to advance the goals of the 2012 Strategic Plan for Archmere. I am happy to share progress in each of the Plan’s five focus areas, made possible by the consistent efforts and support of dedicated Archmere community members.


Under the leadership of Campus Minister Bill Gabriel, and with support from the Director of Mission and Heritage, Father Joseph McLaughlin, Community Service Coordinator Lauren Gerber, other staff and myself, student leadership groups have been created to run class retreats and organize participation in liturgical events and planning.

A contemporary student music ensemble provides music for school Masses while our students also staff other liturgical ministries and ongoing community service projects.

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Academic Excellence

We have turned our attention to the reaccreditation process while continuing to focus on defining the following areas of study that relate to student achievement and align with the Strategic Plan, developing in students core competencies of:

  • Analytical/Creative thinking and Problem solving,
  • Complex communication,
  • Collaborative team work,
  • Global perspective,
  • Ethical decision making.

We are developing plan to enhance resources in the areas of Academic, Social and Emotional, and College Counseling to enrich student support systems and to enhance and increase services in college advisement.

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Teachers & Staff

The planned implementation of the Evaluation Process in the current year is moving along as planned. The Principal and Department Chairs are conducting observations and having conversations with faculty members using the newly developed observation rubric.

We are on schedule with implementation of the new Compensation Model for the 2014-15 year, which departs from the traditional published salary scale and has embraced a model with salary bands, with advancement based not only on degrees attained and years of teaching, but also on performance and merit. We have also completed a benchmarking study of current salaries and have developed a model to adjust compensation to continue to attract and retain excellent faculty and staff.

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Alumni Engagement

Several committee of the alumni association have accomplished important work in the last quarter. The Golf Outing Committee organized a “sell-out” event at DuPont Country Club in October, raising over $25,000 after expenses. These funds are directed to the Alumni Legacy Scholarship Fund, which assists alumni legacies with financial need to attend the Academy.

The professional networking and education committee has developed an Auk Talk Series to debut in January. Taking the format of “Ted Talks”, this idea originated with Principal John Jordan ’80, and was given to the committee to discuss. With implementation facilitated by Erin McNichol ’92, Alumni Relations Officer, the first Auk Talk was scheduled for Thursday, January 16, featuring speakers, Mr. Paul Pomeroy, Teacher, Coach, and Administrator, and Mrs. Terri Kelly, CEO, W.L. Gore and Associates. Approximately 80 alumni, parents of alumni, and current parents attended a most successful event in the Patio.

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Financial Sustainability

We reviewed the completed study by ABHA architects and the accompanying cost estimates provided by EDiS of a comprehensive review of Saint Norbert Hall and Library, the Performing Arts Center, and the Manor, including the HVAC systems that support the Patio. The information was reviewed by the administration and an ad hoc committee of the Board to establish priorities. We discussed the scope of work recommended with the staff who manage and use these spaces for academic and extracurricular programs. The goal is for them to establish priorities within the proposed conceptual area of renovations, so that such a large project focus might be approached in phases. In moving forward, further study will determine if the proposed level of renovation for some systems is necessary for the type of programming anticipated for the space.

In addition, we have hired CCS, an international consulting firm, to conduct a feasibility study to determine the levels of interest, sense of priorities, and potential financial assistance that might be expected for the comprehensive physical plant needs of the Academy, as well as necessary growth of endowment funds to address scholarship and financial aid support. More specifically, the feasibility serves the following functions:

  • Assess our opportunities and, should a major fundraising effort be viable, provide a plan and timetable for the proposed effort.
  • Invite a cross-section of graduates, current and past parents, trustees, foundation executives, and key school leaders to participate as part of this planning process.
  • Ask those individuals invited to participate in a private, 45-minute discussion with a CCS representative; the goal of the interview is to share advice and insight, and is not a direct request for funds.

The consultants are conducting personal interviews and gathering information to provide a report to the Board by the March Board meeting to determine the appropriate path forward.

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