As many of you know, our current strategic plan runs through 2024. This plan was created with the help of an outside consulting company organizing input from community-wide surveys and listening sessions. With guidance from students, parents, teachers, alumni, our Board of Trustees, and other community partners we wrote the plan in six strategic imperatives to be our focus for the years of 2021-2024.

The imperatives essentially focused on two things: how do we more fully live our mission, and how do we best serve the families and students seeking to be a part of that mission? 

Below my signature, you will see a high-level account of what has been accomplished under each imperative. This is OUR school, all of us. I encourage you to take the time to read through this summary and reach out with any questions or concerns that you may have as we bring this particular plan to a close in the coming months. 

Then the process will continue as we are tentatively planning on publishing a new (though smaller in scope) strategic plan in the Fall of this year. For this more limited plan, we will be looking at three simple questions with already-identified small groups of parents, teachers, students, and alumni: What should St. James Academy START doing, what should we STOP doing, and what should we absolutely CONTINUE doing in the next three years. Our Board and administrative teams will look at the inputs from these focus groups to identify 3-4 strategic imperatives for 2024-2027. The more limited approach will allow us to make sure we continue to stay focused on supporting and enhancing the major program and facilities changes that have occurred in this last three-year cycle while still making sure we don’t get complacent. 

We also know that there are major capital projects on the horizon, which you will hear more about from Mr. Tylicki this spring, and this will certainly be a focus for our leadership in the coming years. 

As I have told our staff and students, I truly believe we are experiencing something special right now at St. James Academy, and it is because the staff and students and parents here are so willing to let God work through them. But the second we think we are better than anyone else, the second we think we’ve arrived, the second we start relying on our own strength rather than God’s, we will lose the very thing that is making this time so special: the humility to step aside and allow God to be the center. He must increase; we must decrease. 

Finally, during this Catholic Schools Week, thank you for your partnership in this mission, for trusting us with your children, and for walking with us into the future without ever losing sight of the vision that was the gift of so many great people in the past. 

Your brother in Christ, 

Shane 

Implement Innovation Initiative

Imperative: Plan and implement the SJA Innovation Initiative (PHASE 1 – Rhetoric and Media Arts/Computer Science, and Campus Ministry, PHASE 2 – Spark Center for Academics/Science Dept Update)

OVERALL NOTES: The Innovation Initiative included two major facilities renovations completed on time and paid for in full. The “Cor,” our new Campus Ministry space, is another visual and architectural reminder of our school priorities. The new space and curriculum rewrites for Computer Science has resulted in a 500% increase in enrollment in AP Computer Science courses, and our Rhetoric and Media Arts program served 83 students this school year.

SPECIFICS: 

  1. Rhetoric and Media Arts: assemble a teaching team, form vision and goals, write curriculum scope and sequence, plan facilities. COMPLETE
    1. NOTES: RMA 1 and 2 classes are implemented and 
  2. Campus Ministry: update campus ministry vision; plan new campus ministry center centrally located near the chapel. COMPLETE
  3. Computer Science: evaluate and rewrite curriculum scope and sequence, plan facilities. COMPLETE
  4. Spark Center for Academics: research, plan, and implement proof-of-concept program; record data for impact reporting, plan eventual expansion and new facilities. COMPLETE
  5. Science Lab Updates: shuffle and redistribute current science storage and office spaces to create proof-of-concept lab space, research and design new Science Lab spaces. COMPLETE

Develop and Retain Faculty

Imperative: Create a plan to make the SJA staff a “destination job” for teachers, and create leadership opportunities for teachers to build their own and colleague’s instructional capacity. 

  1. Create a plan to add more faculty/staff members to increase opportunities for adding electives and decrease the load of non-teaching duties on our teachers. COMPLETE
  2. Move from Department Chair Model to “Team Lead” model for faculty leadership. COMPLETE
  3. Implement summer development and training plan for Team Leads. COMPLETE

Ease Access and Opportunity to Attending SJA

Imperative: Increase the feasibility of attending and support while at SJA for families of students from all socio-economic situations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and student learning abilities. 

  1. Create a visual environment that reflects the universality of the Catholic Church and helps communicate that families of all backgrounds have a place at our school and in the Church. COMPLETE
  2. Create a plan for educating our students and families on different cultures, as well as a deeper understanding of the sin of racism. COMPLETE
  3. Develop a strategic partnership with a local Catholic parish and school to increase opportunities for families of diverse socio-economic and racial/ethnic backgrounds to attend SJA. COMPLETE

Complete Master Planning and Prep Work for Financial Feasibility Study 

Imperative: Complete Master Planning and Prep Work for Financial Feasibility

  1. Create a comprehensive master facilities plan which will provide guidance for future buildings AND interior alterations of current buildings
    1. Action #1 – Work with Gould Evans on Master Plan Deliverable/Executive Summary (Andy/Jenn) – COMPLETE
    2. Action #2 – Develop timeline for constituent communication and input on draft of Master Plan (Andy/Jenn) – IN PROGRESS
    3. Action #3 – Communicate Master Plan for All Constituent Types: Board, Faculty/Staff, School and Donor Community communication (Andy)
  2. Develop a Financial Impact Plan (including debt retirement, endowment, campus facilities) to align with timing of onboarding new/renovated facilities (Teresa/Andy)