Year One Review

Catlin Gabel Strategic Planning

by Tim Bazemore, Head of School

In the 2017-18 school year, our primary focus as an institution has been on our ongoing Strategic Plan priorities. After much careful planning, these initiatives were put into action, and the impact is already being felt. We focused on many areas of the school and the student experience, with all initiatives sharing a common goal: to improve teaching and learning across the grades and divisions at Catlin Gabel School.

Highlights of our work are listed below. The initiatives address the three main objectives of our Strategic Plan: Deepening our commitment to experiential learning, becoming an unrivaled educational laboratory, and reaffirming our commitment to excellence:

Our initiatives share a common goal: to improve teaching and learning across all grades and divisions at Catlin Gabel School

  • Enhanced professional learning. Throughout the year, teachers in all divisions engaged in professional learning to help them further understand and design curriculum that embeds academic learning in active, hands-on experiences.
  • The Ed Lab Team. A group of teachers was trained in classroom research methods and partnered with colleagues to research ways to improve classroom environments, increase student engagement in nature, foster independence, and more.
  • Mastery Transcript Consortium. As part of our work with the Mastery Transcript Consortium, the Upper School faculty is defining in new ways the skills and concepts we want all Catlin Gabel graduates to learn.
  • Student feedback surveys. Upper School teachers piloted quarterly student feedback surveys, providing them with real-time and actionable data on depth of understanding, class pace, homework, feeling included, and more.
  • Traverse Portland Conference at Catlin Gabel. To share our innovative ideas in teaching and learning, we hosted Traverse Portland, a three-day experiential education conference for over 100 educators.
  • Environmental sustainability as a school value. Thanks to the efforts of the Environmental Advisory Council, the board of trustees endorsed a statement on environmental sustainability to signal our institutional position and support future policies and practices.
  • Campus master planning project. We developed a long-term vision for campus development, based on our mission and strategic plan, to be shared with the community in fall 2018.
  • Rethinking structures of school. A school committee is exploring possibilities for a redesign of our daily class schedules and the school year calendar, and how we can best allocate time to support student learning. We’ll share our findings and decisions in fall 2018.
  • Attracting top talent. We looked closely at our professional learning programs and evaluation systems, and are launching a committee to determine how we can improve our hiring and compensation systems to attract the very best educators.
  • Learning support alignment. We created and implemented structures that align student support across the divisions.

As in any school, there are issues we need to address and improvements we must make to provide the experience our students deserve. Partnership with and feedback from Catlin Gabel families is an essential part of that continuous improvement process.
I invite you to visit the webpage regularly for updates, and share any questions or observations with me, or with Barbara Ostos, our Assistant Head of School, who is co-leading our Strategic Initiatives effort.