One of the pieces of advice I carry with me from the past year came from Morten Hansen’s book, "Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More." The opening chapter advises us to Do Less, Then Obsess. In short, select a priority and focus on it.
Over the holiday, a friend and I were discussing the amount of advice football coaches receive from fans, players, alumni and broadcasters when he started laughing and said, “You probably get more advice than they do because you play every day not just once a week.”
I’m not sure I get more advice than the coach of a major college or professional football team but people do share many thoughtful and at times interesting ideas with me. Deciding which ones to follow and which ones need to go in the “parking lot” is not always easy.
Our Strategic Plan at Shorecrest highlights 5 major areas for growth:
- Community and Culture
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Innovation in Teaching and Learning
- Student Success and Well-Being
- Financial Equilibrium, Affordability and Sustainability
The plan gives a road map and boundaries that help establish guidelines for what to do and what to park. Yet, we have a desire to be student-centered, customer friendly and early adopters of ideas we believe will support our students and faculty. There are times we will hear an idea that is not on our plan and run with it. We cannot do that all the time but there are times when it is the right thing to try.
We are fortunate to have a large enough school with a talented board, faculty and staff that we can often take on a few major initiatives at the same time. For example, The Experiential School is heavily focused on experiential learning and adding elements of the Reggio Emilia approach for our youngest children. The Lower School is committed to expanding Project-Based Learning throughout the curriculum. The Middle School grade levels have identified specific projects like Drop Everything and STEAM for fifth grade to enhance the educational experience for all students. The Upper School continues to add choices in the curricular options students wish to explore. The advances in Medical Sciences, STEM courses, English electives and online opportunities have and will continue to greatly expand our curriculum for our students. Board members are simultaneously working on Transform construction, Annual Fund, Transform fundraising, Long Range Planning, numerous fiduciary responsibilities and a Head Search.
Many of us have made the completion of the Transform Campaign a priority. We are doing more than building a building and raising money to pay for the facility, grounds and programs that will be offered to students and community members. We are working with teachers and families to ensure that the new spaces meet the needs of current and future generations of Shorecrest students. Teachers, parents and students have great ideas regarding how we will maximize the use of the new facility and the 1.5 acres of greenspace that have been developed from the reconfiguration of the original campus.
Some people have suggested the following:
Use some of the greenspace for parking
Add solar panels to the top of the building(s)
Expand the Upper School to the second floor
Move Admissions to the second floor
Add a dance and gymnastic/cheerleading center to the second floor
Tear down the Science and Technology building and make a STEM Center on the second floor
Add tennis courts
Add a pool
Every single idea has merit. Every single idea has a cost. The challenge, as Buckminster Fuller may have offered, “is to get all the parts working together.”
In the coming weeks and months our children and our community are going to be treated to some great advancements in academic programs, playspaces, study areas, food programs, and community gathering areas. All members of the community will learn how they can contribute to the funding and building of the second floor of the new facility, the greenspaces that will surround it, and the programs that will be enhanced because of the additions. Families and friends of Shorecrest will be asked to do what they can to move this priority forward. While I am forever thankful for those generous people who have gotten Transform off the ground for our children and community, I am looking forward to see how the rest of us will join them and be a part of the most successful capital campaign ever at our school.
Great things will happen at Shorecrest with the additions of the programs and spaces being developed. Transform is a priority because it will impact every element of our current strategic plan. That’s great news. Join me and the team of 151 families who have already contributed to Transform. I encourage you to make joining the winning team a priority!