Approved in 2011, the following vision narrative served as an expression of how St. Andrew’s would look at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, the St. Andrew’s community will undertake a comprehensive and collaborative process to refine, reaffirm, and clarify a vision for St. Andrew’s expressed below and through our Forward Saints campaign as well as our Strategic Objectives adopted in 2016.
2011 St. Andrew’s Vision Narrative
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is widely recognized, in the Jackson area and beyond, for its ability to educate and develop well-balanced, valued citizens, and it is viewed as an asset to the community. Over the last five years, the school has enhanced its intellectual and administrative capacity and has increased the level of its available resources. There are clearly defined standards and expectation in all of the school’s interactions among faculty, students, administration, and parents, with the ultimate purpose being to help each child reach his or her potential.
In the 2015-16 academic year, the School’s flexible curriculum addresses the learning styles of students while maintaining high academic expectations. The curriculum, which is integrated across all divisions and grade levels, has significantly expanded opportunities for interactive, experiential, collaborative, and inter-disciplinary learning. It provides many opportunities to expand the students’ experiences by offering guest speakers/instructors, student internships, field trips, travel, opportunities in the summer for academic and enrichment programming, and other real world experiences. More effective integration of technology into the curriculum has enhanced instruction and learning and has increased students’ interaction with the global community.
In the 2015-16 academic year, St. Andrew’s faculty is more diverse in many ways – by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and with varied state, national, and international experiences. Faculty members have more opportunities and time to be engaged in professional development to improve their teaching and communication, including an increased capacity to enable students at different levels to succeed and to engage children in current technology. St. Andrew’s faculty feel supported by the School, having seen changes in compensation that recognize their professional standing and responsibilities at school, as well as a work environment that is understanding of the demands of supporting a household.
In the 2015-16 academic year, our students are full partners in the life of the School, engaging in and being responsible for many school issues and activities. Admissions standards have remained high. The student body has become more diverse, having more international students, racial and ethnic minorities, and students from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. Students have access to a broader and stronger array of student support services, including expanded art therapy, chaplain support, learning center, child and family counseling, an individually tailored college counseling program, a strengthened advisory program, and assistance in finding learning opportunities through internships, jobs, and research placements.
In the 2015-16 academic year, the community of St. Andrew’s has been extended with strong ties to partners in the Jackson area – businesses, schools, nonprofits – as well as around the world in order to better prepare our students for life in the 21st Century. There are increased opportunities for exchange programs for faculty and students, and collaborative partnerships exist that strengthen all of the entities involved. Parents’ engagement in and partnership with the School in raising their children have reinforced the school-family partnership, along with new programs for parents in many areas – such as child development, adolescence, brain research, and alcohol and drugs.
In the 2015-16 academic year, the physical and mental health of the St. Andrew’s students and faculty has strengthened, and there is the capacity to fulfill both the athletic and academic development needs of all children. New programs have been created in health and wellness, healthy living, making wise decisions, and augmented physical education and athletic opportunities. A higher percentage of students participate in interscholastic competition, resulting in greater parent support and higher school spirit.
In the 2015-16 academic year, the spiritual and religious life at St. Andrew’s has been affirmed and enriched by a clear understanding of the Episcopal Tradition, and the School’s ties with the Episcopal Church have been strengthened. Many students take advantage of new opportunities for religious instruction and activities that have increased their understanding of the Christian faith, of their own faith tradition, and of the role of religion in the world. Service Learning activities have been expanded throughout all divisions for faith, learning, and good works to foster the spiritual development of students.
In the 2015-16 academic year, the school’s infrastructure has been brought up-to-date on both campuses by improved maintenance, new facilities, and better environmental stewardship. Funding for campus facilities – both renovation of existing buildings and the creation of needed new facilities – is of primary importance, along with needed maintenance personnel. The physical needs of the school’s academic, athletic, and arts programs are better accommodated, and plans are in place for further expansion of the current facilities.
In the 2015-16 academic year, St. Andrew’s enjoys a public image that is an accurate reflection of what the School is, does, and believes. The School is known as a challenging but enjoyable place for a wide range of talented students. The School’s high academic standards are well understood and highly regarded, as is the School’s successful accommodation of different learning styles. We effectively convey the well-rounded array of opportunities that the school provides so that each student can flourish as an individual. The fact that our graduates are able to choose among a wide range of college options is touted as proof of the School’s excellent academics; in addition, the many awards that St. Andrew’s receives for its athletic, artistic, and other competitive activities are well known as part of the exemplary opportunities that St. Andrew’s provides.
In the 2015-16 academic year, the financial resources to build and sustain a quality education have been solidified and expanded. In the past five years, enrollment increased and has become stable as a result of decreased attrition and a creative marketing program, and there is a waiting pool for almost every grade. Communications with current and prospective parents give a clear picture of the type of student who will be well served by the St. Andrew’s experience. Increased support from available but previously underdeveloped sources – alumni giving, planned giving, etc. – has increased the overall level of giving. In particular, increased philanthropic support has enlarged the endowment, providing for increased financial aid, chairs for faculty, and support of specific constituencies important to the school, such as families of faculty and Episcopal clergy.