Creating Extraordinary Possibilities:
Investing in Extraordinary Teachers and Programming
With the Campus Master Plan now complete, we are able to turn our full attention to the Beyond Buildings: Extraordinary Possibilities Crofton House School Strategic Plan 2015-2025. It is built on four pillars that continue to guide our planning and growth. They are: 1) Extraordinary Girls, 2) Extraordinary Learning, 3) Extraordinary Teachers, and 4) Extraordinary Community.
Significant progress on each of the pillars continues to be achieved this year through additional funding in the 2017–2018 budget. Pillar 1: Extraordinary Girls has seen the successful launch of our grade 8 entrance bursary program, supported by our generous donors, with the first recipients welcomed in September. Pillar 2: Extraordinary Learning has supported the introduction of a number of new programs including an Artist-in-Residence program, the expansion of pedagogy in the senior school to include the Harkness method of teaching (or discussion-based learning), the creation of two ‘Maker Spaces’ for use by all students and the extension of the Ivy Compass program from junior kindergarten through grade 12. The positive impact of each of these new programs on student learning across all grades has been exciting to witness and is being captured in videos to share with you by year’s end. Pillar 3: Extraordinary Teachers has allowed the creation of Faculty Research Chairs in both the junior and senior schools, funding to allow increased Professional Development for all teachers aligned with our strategic goals, and a 4% increase to the teachers’ RRSPs making it the highest amongst all independent schools in British Columbia. Pillar 4: Extraordinary Community has seen the continued growth and expansion of our grade 10 Student Exchange Program with girls’ schools in Australia and New Zealand and a number of Alumnae Events that are strengthening our connections with the 4000 women who are graduates of CHS.
Building on these successes, a number of new strategic initiatives, aligned with each pillar, will be introduced in 2018-2019.
Pillar 1: Extraordinary Girls
In addition to the grade 8 entrance bursary program, donations will support families in grades 6 – 12 who experience financial difficulty meeting the additional costs of mandatory fee-based programs such as Outdoor Education.
Pillar 2: Extraordinary Learning
The Harkness Method will be extended into the grade 10 English program in 2018-2019 to ensure all grade 10-12 students benefit from the opportunity to enhance their skills of communication, collaboration and thinking through this method of teaching. The Harkness approach requires a reduction in class size from 20 students to 16 students in classes resulting in the hiring of additional teachers.
The completion of the Studio Theatre and the refurbishment of our auditorium to a theatre allows for the expansion of our Drama Programs in both the junior and senior schools. The addition of a drama specialist in the junior school will support the further development of creativity, as well as personal courage and self-confidence. The addition of a second drama teacher in the senior school will provide the staffing needed to expand our performance program with more productions involving more students.
Pillar 3: Extraordinary Teachers
There is an urgency in the current labour market to develop and implement strategies to attract, retain and develop extraordinary teachers. To ensure CHS continues to attract outstanding Junior School Teacher Interns (first year teachers), compensation will be increased to a more competitive level. All teachers will also benefit from further Professional Development funding aligned with our strategic goals, as well as support for ‘Wellness Initiatives’ identified as valued by the teachers. The Faculty Research Chair program will be extended to the second year with an additional junior and senior school teacher receiving funding to undertake action research aligned with their passions and the needs of the school.
Pillar 4: Extraordinary Community
Strengthening connections with both our parents and alumnae will continue to be a priority with the support of both current and new events and programs. In addition, the School will embrace community collaboration with the ongoing expansion of our Student Exchange Program and partnerships with organizations and agencies that work with young girls who might benefit from a CHS education if supported by the CHS bursary program. And last, our Ivy Compass Program will continue to be supported in creating community connections such as this year’s Blood Donor Clinic and Citizenship Ceremony.