In December of 2020, we released our new strategic growth plan to establish a vision of the future we want to grow into and use to grow the school’s enrollment between 2020 and 2023.
This plan was the result of 18 months of collaboration with our Board of Trustees and a skilled consultant. Our consultant undertook market analysis, stakeholder surveys, focus group discussions, data analysis, and community presentations--and then the pandemic hit. Despite the pandemic, we are moving forward and I want to use the next five or six blog posts to update you on that progress.
Every year during the last week in February, leaders and educators from the National Association of Independent Schools gather in a major city to share best practices and innovative opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic meant this gathering moved online this year. Our Division Heads and myself applied for and were accepted to present at the virtual conference this year. Here is the brief descriptor of our presentation for the conference program:
All independent schools faced the challenge of opening school in the fall of 2020 in the face of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how one small school, Augusta Preparatory Day School (GA), leveraged NAIS Strategy Lab processes and tools to focus innovation within two weeks and then spent the summer maximizing work time with a distributed leadership model and continuous project tracking.
Below is the video of that presentation. I share it now with our community for several reasons. First, the presentation details inspiration and innovation required for us to reopen safely during a pandemic. Second, the presentation details the perspiration required across the organization during the summer to achieve our success this school year. I cannot thank my staff and faculty enough for their creativity and hard work. If you want to know how we did it then take 45 minutes to view this tribute to our team.
After ten long months of living with a pandemic in 2020, I felt like I was running on a treadmill in December--lots of effort but no forward movement. I was looking forward to the start of a new year. Then the first week of 2021 arrived with spiking COVID cases and chaos in the nation's capital. I am glad to see this final week of January 2021 bring some forward progress!
For the second consecutive week, we see the seven-day average for new cases and percent positive in Columbia and Richmond counties decline. After a peak in the first week of January, we are seeing a similar drop in the number of nurse contacts here at Augusta Prep. While the rate of local spread remains higher than anyone wants to see, it is great to witness a downward trend again. You can also monitor the Department of Public Health website for this data here: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report
Another promising sign of progress is the arrival of vaccines in the community this month. We were blessed to have four of our six 65+ employees vaccinated last week. We do not know when the Governor will shift to group 1B and teachers under 65 will be eligible, but we are monitoring the situation weekly--and encourage you to do the same.
In the face of this seemingly endless pandemic, I remain so grateful for the continued cooperation by all our community members. We have endured six months of school under these conditions, and we have four more to go. We are over the halfway mark. Hang in there, keep your spirits up, and keep your mask on!