Year Five Review
2021-22 Catlin Gabel Strategic Planning
by Tim Bazemore, Head of School
Teaching and Learning
The academic experience was elevated with new programs and initiatives this year.
Math teachers from across the three divisions began to implement our integrated PS-12 math program, Illustrative Mathematics (IM). This program will align math instruction across the school, requiring students to think critically and analytically and understand math concepts more deeply. Adopting IM as our PS-12 math curriculum will smooth transitions across divisions and ensure that inquiry is part of every child’s Catlin Gabel math experience. Next year, the Middle School will transition to IM, and the Upper School will do so the following year.
Tinkering with Tech Program
For PS-5 students, we continued to provide interdisciplinary experiences that integrated wellness, arts, science, and core subject collaboration to enhance language acquisition, nature studies, and other subjects. A new Tinkering with Tech program was introduced for 1st-8th grade students, providing them with hands-on opportunities to explore and experiment with robotics, programming, and other technology.
In Middle School science, students studied paleontology and conducted research by examining prehistoric artifacts on loan from Seattle’s Burke Museum. In the Upper School, the social studies American Environmentalism course included learning about and planting a tiny forest on campus, an effort that reinforced our school value of sustainability and brought together hundreds of community members, including students and teachers in every division.
Equity literacy training
Our teachers have been deepening their professional knowledge, as well. Throughout the year, faculty from every grade engaged in Equity Literacy training to improve their skills in providing equitable learning experiences for every student and fostering a culture of kindness in every classroom. In formal workshops and discussion groups, teachers learned to recognize obstacles to student success and self-esteem and how to productively address them. And throughout the year, the instructional coaching team worked closely with individual teachers to offer ideas and support. The instructional coaching model will continue at Catlin Gabel, with three expert educators joining us in the fall, including a new equity instructional coach.
We continue to have full enrollment across all divisions and next year will welcome our most diverse student body in school history, with 51% of students identifying as people of color.
Strategic Inclusion Plan
We released our Strategic Inclusion Plan, a three-year plan and call-to-action focused on transparency, accountability, and change at Catlin Gabel. Based on input from students, parents and guardians, faculty and staff, and trustees, this plan expresses our shared desire to better understand the experiences and perspectives of all community members, and to use those learnings to inform curriculum and learning experiences, hiring and enrollment practices, institutional decision-making, and professional learning for all employees.
Also in the spirit of improvement, we recently took part in the semi-annual Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) Survey, in which we invited all community members, including alumni and parents of alumni, to share their impressions of the school and our direction. Survey responses will be shared this fall, and the feedback is always valuable and actionable.
Strong Fiscal Health
Our improvement efforts are possible, in part, because the school’s fiscal health continues to be strong; we ended the year with a balanced budget once again. Our fundraising efforts—which are so important to our ability to offer financial assistance and to attract the nation’s best educators—have been highly successful. The joyful gathering of our Gala & Auction broke school giving records and was instrumental in reaching our Catlin Gabel Fund goal of raising $2.06 million.