Groton School’s Board of Trustees has adopted a new strategic framework to guide the school through the next decade and solidify its commitment to inclusion, belonging, and student well-being.
The board passed the framework unanimously on November 12, during its fall meeting, culminating a process that began in 2019 and involved input from trustees, faculty, administrators, students, and alumni.
“The overarching goal of this strategic framework is for Groton to be a leader among all secondary independent schools not only in scholarship, but also in the areas of inclusion, affordability, and belonging—to consolidate and advance the progress we have made as we evolve into an even more diverse, inclusive, and close-knit community.” That opening sentence summarizes a framework based around five key elements: Affordability, Well-Being and Social/Emotional Development, Inclusive Excellence in Scholarship, An Inclusive Campus, and Community Ownership of Inclusion and Belonging.
“I so appreciate everyone who was involved in creating this new strategic framework and for supporting Groton's mission—‘to inspire lives of character, scholarship, leadership, and service within a diverse, inclusive, and close-knit community,’” said Board of Trustees President Benjamin Pyne ’77, P’12, ’15. "Groton is blessed with a long history of leadership in secondary school education, and this framework will allow Groton to continue its leadership well into the future and remain truly relevant to future generations of students."
Each of the five elements includes key objectives, and a final implementation section presents initiatives that will help the school achieve its goals. “One underlying goal of this strategic framework is aligning, guiding, engaging, and inspiring our community around Groton’s mission, one that is unique in its equal emphasis on both what we teach and the environment in which we educate,” said Board of Trustees Vice President Gary Hill ’83.
“Endicott Peabody believed that a school embodying the best characteristics of family would create the optimal environment for students to grow and learn,” Mr. Hill continued. “The 2030 Strategic Framework is crafted in the spirit of Endicott Peabody’s beliefs and builds on the exemplary inclusionary outcomes that the school has achieved under Headmaster Temba Maqubela’s leadership.”
In the framework, objectives under Affordability include striving to have the most affordable tuition among forty peer (ABOPS) schools; ensuring that the commitment to tuition containment, access, affordability, inclusion, and belonging are deeply embedded in Groton’s culture and financial structure; and maintaining the financial resilience needed to keep tuition increases modest.
Under Well-Being and Social Emotional Development, objectives include creating an environment with interconnected health, counseling, and well-being programs that provide a safe destination for students to seek support; helping every student develop self-awareness, awareness of others, and the ability to self-regulate across emotional, behavioral, and cognitive realms; fostering a culture in which students are comfortable seeking help; and providing faculty and staff with the tools to promote students’ positive health and social/emotional well-being. The strategic framework states that student well-being and social/emotional development are prerequisites to all other goals.
The Inclusive Excellence in Scholarship section of the framework reemphasizes Groton’s global education as well as its belief that a sense of belonging and scholarly excellence go hand in hand. The framework underlines Groton’s commitment to “providing an equitable and supportive learning environment where students achieve this critical sense of belonging, allowing them to reach their full academic potential.” Objectives center around experiences and resources that allow all students to fulfill their potential as scholars; a curriculum that evolves and remains relevant; reinforcing awareness of students’ cognitive well-being; and enhancing domestic and international experiences.
The objective under Inclusive Campus concentrates on creating an environment—visually and experientially—that makes all community members feel a sense of belonging. “At its heart, this strategic framework is a commitment to bringing the community closer and hearing each and every voice,” said Mr. Pyne.
The strategic framework’s final section, Community Ownership of Inclusion and Belonging, focuses on outreach—fostering a greater sense of belonging among all constituent groups, including alumni and past and current parents, and inspiring these constituents to become involved in sustaining the strategic framework’s goals of inclusion and belonging.
“This Strategic Framework has emerged from a collaborative effort of the trustees, administration, and faculty during a very difficult time,” said former Trustee Diana Chigas ’79, who managed the strategic planning process. “It is a collective commitment to consolidate Groton’s remarkable achievements over the last seven years in becoming more diverse, inclusive, and close-knit. And it is an acknowledgement that we still need to go further, ‘Beyond Access to Success,’ to ensure that the environment and resources at Groton allow everyone—no matter their background or financial circumstances—to succeed at Groton and beyond."