School Kicks Off New Strategic Plan


On September 8, Dr. Walton and members of the Board of Directors introduced the student body to Prep’s latest strategic plan, known as #PrepJourney. A special guest speaker, Grant Lichtman, author of the influential book #EdJourney, spoke to students (and later parents and faculty) about the need to redesign education for the modern age. Lichtman created quite a stir during the Tuesday forum by arriving onstage in the Fortenberry Theatre in a Toyota Prius, reminiscent of the one he used to travel around the nation while conducting the research for his book.

“The two main things stopping schools from moving forward are inertia of tradition and fear of taking risks,” Lichtman told students.

The task of explaining the new strategic plan to students fell to head of school Dr. Jason Walton.

Every 5 to 10 years, Jackson Prep makes a strategic plan. The first step in the plan is to analyze how the school is doing; the committee decides what problems must be addressed, and what extra goals would be beneficial. This was done through an abundance of data that mainly consisted of reviews by Prep alumni, parents, and students. Next, the committee decided which goals are practical. Generally, there are a maximum of 5 major goals per strategic plan. This assures that there are not more goals than the school has capacity for. This is known is finding the “whats.”

Over the summer and most of last year, Prep created its strategic plan draft. The committee in charge of forming the draft consisted of faculty members, board members, Dr. Walton, and even students. The main committee was split into small groups – each small group was assigned to a single goal in order to propose “how” the goal would be achieved. The committee met once at least once a month for 3 hour meetings, but small groups met more often. A consulting firm specializing in school planning was also employed.

After groups pitched the “hows” of the plan, members of the committee decided what was practical and what wasn’t. Then they made a draft for the plan. The plan was presented to the board for approval this summer, and was approved.

The end result is these 5 goals:

  1. Diversify and grow our global leadership platform and efforts.
  2. Create a more diverse and externally connected Jackson Prep.
  3. Develop a culture of continuous innovation
  4. Enhance and integrate our excellent academic and co-curricular program
  5. Enhance our financial sustainability.

(Look for more information about the strategic plan in Issue 2)