James River Day School

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Strategic Plan

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a strategic plan?
A strategic plan defines what a school wants to achieve in the future and how it plans to get there. The document articulates the mission of the school, the vision for its future, strategic priorities necessary to support the mission and vision, and objectives to achieve each strategic priority. It is more than simply a long-range plan; it is a cyclical process that, while staying true to the school's mission and vision, requires continual implementation, evaluation, and revision of objectives in order to adapt to a dynamic environment.

Why do we need a strategic plan?
In order to ensure that James River Day School continues to thrive for current and future generations of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, a strategic plan that reaffirms our mission, establishes strategic priorities, and articulates our vision for the future of the school is essential. Successful schools proactively initiate the strategic planning process. An updated strategic plan is a key requirement to school accreditation by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools and one of the National Association of Independent Schools’ “Principles of Good Practice”.

Why do we need a new strategic plan now?
The school's prior strategic planning process had reached its lifespan. The development of a new strategic plan at this time offers us the opportunity to address emerging challenges for independent schools: financial sustainability, shifting demographics, emerging technologies, and increasing competition.

How was the strategic plan developed?
  • validating the school’s mission
  • defining the school’s business model and competitive advantage
  • developing strategic priorities for the future
  • determining how the school will make strategic decisions
  • developing thoughtful plans to implement the identified strategic priorities

What are the benefits of the strategic plan?
  • Promotes proactive stewardship of the school
  • Reaffirms our mission, defines our values, and sets a vision for the future
  • Provides an opportunity for our community to work together
  • Defines specific strategic priorities
The following letter was sent to the James River Day School community via email on January 28, 2019.
Dear James River Community,
James River Day School is dedicated to developing scholars, leaders, and citizens for the 21st century. With this enduring mission as our guide, in the spring of 2018, the Administration and the Board of Trustees embarked on developing our next strategic plan. This plan will frame our vision and provide specific steps to support our best practices and achieve the aspirational objectives that will guide James River Day School into the future.
The Board partnered with and benefited from the guidance of LaPiana, a consulting firm with a proven history of helping independent schools and nonprofits leverage their culture and competitive advantage to achieve their strategic goals. Over the course of seven months, through retreats and focus groups, LaPiana gathered data from various constituencies including
faculty, administration, parents, alumni, and trustees.
Through this extensive process, four strategic imperatives emerged:
  1. Promote, elevate, and amplify the school’s story of impact that creates scholars, leaders, and citizens (i.e., Tell our story better.)
  2. Broaden our community of excellence while creating a culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  3. Ensure a robust and sustainable financial future for the school.
  4. Maintain the operational and programmatic excellence that enables James River Day School to provide challenging, dynamic, and character-based learning experiences.
strategic plan graphicEach strategic imperative will be backed by several goals, specific steps to implement those goals and metrics to measure progress. Task forces, composed of trustees, administrators, faculty, and community members, are already hard at work examining existing practices and new opportunities, ensuring that our activities are mission appropriate and support the achievement of our key strategic imperatives.
Strategic development is an ongoing activity, requiring continued work and focus as we face a changing educational market and the world as we know it. Throughout the coming months, as we work to complete the details, the Board will provide updates on our progress as well as reach out for participation in various task forces. We are excited and energized by the results of the process to date and look forward to sharing with you the detailed plan.
James River Day School Board of Trustees