Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

Head of School, Leanne Reynolds, shared this letter with the ROBS community on May 22, 2019.

Dear Parents,  

My heart is full. Actually, bursting is probably a better description. With eighth grade graduation just hours away and end-of-the-year class parties tomorrow, the celebrations are plenty. Our kids deserve these moments.

Because getting into high school, learning to read, taking first place in the state for Quiz Bowl, or winning the conference championship in girls swimming are not just titles on a plaque or words on an acceptance letter. Achievements like these represent hours upon hours of practice and hard work. It’s the diligence and perseverance that we celebrate, and which will serve our kids well in high school and beyond. Indeed, the valedictorians in this year’s graduating classes at Episcopal, Kinkaid, and Strake Jesuit are all former ROBS students!  

Your children make me so proud, and it is my joy to celebrate them. It is also my joy to think about how we can serve them even better in the future. So with clear eyes we look ahead. With a spirit of diligence and perseverance, I want to tell you where we stand on the strategic planning process and parent survey analysis.  

Strategic Planning

I am pleased to share that our community has identified four areas of strategic focus that will guide ROBS through the next three years. These areas emerged out of a thorough and inclusive discovery process involving hundreds of people—parents, faculty, board members, alumni, church members, and even students. Because good strategic plans start with exploration rather than concrete statements, I am sharing the priorities with the questions we will examine.

  1. Differentiation: How do we adapt subject area content, teaching processes, classroom tools, and the learning environment to stretch each learner to her full potential?
  2. Diversity & Inclusion: How do we promote, support, and nurture a culture of inclusivity for diverse families?
  3. Wellness: How do we advance programming that promotes emotional, intellectual, physical, environmental, social, occupational, and social wellness?
  4. Programming: How do we accomplish the above initiatives recognizing the practical limits of time and space?

The good news is ROBS is already moving in the right direction. For example, we are transitioning our curriculum coordinators into full-time instructional coaches in Preschool, Lower School, and Middle School. They will work with teachers in the classroom to implement best practices in differentiated instruction. Our learning specialists—all of whom have advanced training in gifted and talented instruction as well as learning differences—will also enhance this strategic effort. Our focus on diversity and inclusion will be a natural progression of initiatives set in motion by Director of Community Initiatives Melanie Hightower. In classrooms, for example, we are adding more “windows and mirrors” books that allow all students to see a reflection of themselves (“mirrors” books) and gain insight into people whose lives are different from their own (“windows” books).  

These examples are just the beginning. This summer the Administrative Team will flesh out the above initiatives with actionable goals and a projected timeline. I have challenged the team to approach the next phase of the strategic planning process with a design thinking mindset. In fact, we will use an assignment from my Stanford d.School Creative Catalyst Cohort as our guide. Once complete, we will present a full report to the ROB Board of Trustees for review and approval.  

Parent Survey Response

A strategic plan is only as effective as our ability to apply it. We use several tools to measure our effectiveness, including the parent survey at the end of every school year. This year 233 parents completed the survey—thank you for taking the time to give this feedback! Your participation helps us measure our performance and identify areas for improvement. The Administrative Team will read all of the surveys and analyze the results this summer. Did you know we personally respond to each survey participant who shares contact information? These discussions are critical to our ability to address areas for improvement. So we thank you for your candor and we look forward to more constructive conversations. Survey aside, you are always welcome to come to see me if you have questions or concerns. My door is open.  

Closing Thoughts

At the core of these efforts is an enduring commitment to excellence. The survey helps keep the School accountable to its promise of providing ambitious academics rooted in Christian values; a strategic plan keeps ROBS relevant in a changing world. And we couldn’t do either without you. So I want to close the year by saying “Thank You.” From your extraordinary generosity to Kids. Love. Learning. (allowing us to break ground on the new Middle School!) to joining strategic planning focus groups or the All-School Day of Service, this year’s progress is a result of your tremendous support and partnership.  

Thank you, most of all, for entrusting your precious children to our care. We will miss them—and you—this summer. We are already looking forward to the day we will see you again.  

Blessings,

Leanne Reynolds

ROBS Head of School

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