• Strat Plan


Strategic Plan 2019-2024

Entering Our Next 50 Years:

Preparing Our Students—
for a World That Needs Them

Learning / Relationships / Resources

What we are striving to build is a school where children truly learn -
about themselves and the world, about the relationships between past, present and future.
~ Founders John Howard & Duncan Alling
(from the original prospectus of the Tandem School)

For Tandem, finding the Friends has been like finding a home. It seems familiar and comforting and it has brought
a focus to our work and to the life of the School.
~ Former Head of School, Rosalyn Berne
(from the formal request to Friends Council on Education to be considered a Friends School)

A happy and excited child learns far faster than a bored child.
~ from Tandem's first admissions materials
Many thanks to everyone who attended the event on the evening of Thursday, October 3rd.

There, we thanked members of the Tandem Friends School community for their help with the strategic planning process, presented the high-level priorities in our new strategic plan, and provided some examples of what you will be seeing at school as we move from planning to implementation.

This webpage has additional details about the plan, as well as information about how it was created.
Highlights of our Strategic Priorities


“The essence of a good country song is three chords...and the truth.”
~ Harlan Howard (Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame)
Strategic Plan 2019-2024 - click link to download or read online below.  

* Background: History & Process pages 4-5
* Learning: Educational Program, Spiritual Life/Quakerism pages 6-8
* Relationships: Community, “Telling Our Story” pages 8-9
* Resources: Facilities, Fundraising, Finance pages 9-10

Note: School leadership is responsible for implementing the strategic plan, over the next five years, with the flexibility to make adjustments on an ongoing basis, in consultation with the Board of Trustees.

Full Strategic Plan

The Planning Process

In the Fall of 2017, the Board of Trustees (in conjunction with the Head of School) approved the launch of a strategic planning process, to be completed in two phases:

Phase One, during the 2017-18 school year focused specifically on Tandem Friends School’s educational program.

Phase Two, during the 2018–19 school year, focused on the other strategic priority areas of spiritual life/Quakerism, community (supporting school constituencies), “telling our story” (to prospective, current, and alum community members), buildings and grounds, strategic financial planning, and fundraising.

We worked hard to engage our whole community in this process. We would especially like to thank community members who served on one of our seven working groups. We understand that everyone has many demands on their limited time, and appreciate the willingness of those who felt called to serve in this way to prioritize Tandem Friends School among the places where they employ their energies and talents.

We are excited to share the results of all of this strategic thinking with you, as we enter Tandem Friends School’s next 50 years.

  • In the Fall of 2017, we created a webpage for community members to find updates on the Strategic Planning process, work, and opportunities to participate.
  • We posted a Strategic Planning questionnaire to begin soliciting fresh input.
  • The whole Tandem Friends School community was invited to attend one of two community sessions (in January 2018), facilitated by Drew Smith (Executive Director, Friends Council on Education); roughly 100 community members participated.
  • The Strategic Planning Steering Committee reviewed and analyzed output from these community sessions, as well as feedback from the questionnaire, information gathered for the 2016 draft plan, historical school documents, the current mission statement, work of the Curriculum Planning Committee (including pedagogical belief statements), and other relevant materials.
  • The Steering Committee created a shared-access document file for working groups to consult, and add to, as needed.
  • Two working groups were convened to explore aspects of our educational program: students-as-learners and students-as-whole-people, and propose recommended action items.
  • Upper School students participated in a workshop facilitated by outside experts called Deconstructing School that guided students in a critical examination of modern schooling and gave them space to envision possibilities for what their daily experience in school could be. These student perspectives were used to inform educational program vision and recommendations.
  • In the summer of 2018, for Phase Two, we retained a professional consultant, Ginny Christensen, of Strategy for Growth, LLC. (In her consultancy, Ginny provides strategic planning, board development, executive coaching, and leadership team development for independent schools and nonprofits. She is a leading professional in guiding strategic decision-making at independent schools, with a particular focus on Quaker schools. Ginny has served as a head of school, administrator, teacher, and trustee, and has published and presented on issues of board development, strategic planning, professional development for teachers, curriculum design, and personal and institutional growth.)
  • In October and November of 2018, Ginny conducted an opening session for Phase Two for all community members, as well as separate dedicated sessions with the Board of Trustees and with faculty and staff.
  • Ginny completed an abbreviated market review, as an update to the comprehensive work done several years ago by Ian Symmonds & Associates. (Ginny’s core summary was provided to the working groups, along with an example of the form for recommendations each group would be asked to produce.)
  • The Steering Committee invited individual community members to join topic-specific working groups whose work commenced in November 2018 with a kick-off event, and continued through the winter. Each working group included a range of constituencies, as well as experts in the areas under study. Each group was provided with focusing questions prepared by the Steering Committee.
  • In February 2019, the educational program working groups were reconvened for two meetings, so that the recommendations from all seven working groups would be submitted in a similar format.
  • At the end of February, all seven working groups submitted their recommendations to the Steering Committee.
  • The Steering Committee compiled the recommendations, and worked with the Finance working group on financial scenarios.
  • The Board first approved the plan “in spirit,” and then, at a retreat for this purpose, approved the plan in the context of financial scenarios (Spring 2019).
  • The plan, approved by the Board, was presented to all faculty and staff at a professional development day (Spring 2019).
  • School leadership began work on a detailed implementation plan, which will be used as a management document internally by staff.
  • The Steering Committee created a public plan document, and a shorter (printed version) brochure highlighting Strategic Priorities to share with the broader community.