Pressing Questions: What Idea Has Been Game-Changing for Your School?

Winter 2020

Alex Brosowsky, now in his fifth year as head of school at The Quaker School at Horsham (PA), asked several heads of school about ideas that have been game-changing for their schools.
There are points in every school’s story when things shift. Changes are made, strategies are set, new paths are taken … and suddenly the horizon looks vastly different than it did before. 
Last year, my school reached one of those pivotal points. After a yearlong strategic planning process—during which we gathered the thoughts, hopes, and dreams of our stakeholders through more than 600 interviews, focus groups, conferences, and conversations—we decided that, after 36 years of K–9 education, The Quaker School at Horsham will now expand into a high school.
This monumental decision changes everything, for the positive. This shift is exactly what our families, alumni, and faculty want for our students, so it’s an exciting time for us. Yet ours is just one story of innovation and change among a field of inspirational schools that are adapting to meet the needs of a dynamic marketplace.
I am continually amazed by my colleagues, and when I asked them how they are innovating at their own institutions, here’s what they said.
“Our mission is a cause. This is the game-changing idea that revealed itself when our community came together to build a shared vision for its future. The result was our strategic plan Epic Vision: Soaring with Heart, and our vision is to lead a national reinvention of boys education for a new generation of enlightened men. The need for us to fulfill our mission is magnified by the context in which we are living. Imagine a generation of creative, compassionate, and courageous men who lead with love in our diverse world and are devoted to building a just society. Our world vitally needs this from us now.”
 —Alfred F. Dugan III, Headmaster, Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart (NJ)

“Two years ago, we redesigned our all-girls school program to address learning and wellness together, as part of each student’s school experience. This approach has been a game-changer for students and families. Our multidisciplinary team collaborates to inform all of our academic and student life programming, including a continuum of learning support services and access to mental health supports. Our proactive approach has helped normalize—rather than stigmatize—adolescent needs. We see a rise in students’ self-awareness, emotional regulation, and self-advocacy.”
 Anne M. Glass, Head of School, Purnell School (NJ)

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