As we reach the pinnacle of another school year when we formally recognize and celebrate the personal victories and realized potential of our students, it is also timely to reflect on the State of The Greenwood School.
The past seven years have been a time of dramatic change and turmoil in the country’s economy and in the world of private schools. The recession impacted everything from enrollment to staff recruitment to fundraising. The National Association of Independent Schools reported one of the highest ratios of independent schools closing their doors during this time period. But in this environment The Greenwood School not only survived, it adapted and thrived.
During the last seven years we built a fully accredited high school program and a cottage dormitory and an Academic Innovation Center to facilitate that evolution. We’ve enjoyed the most robust enrollment in our history. More recently, with celebrated American documentarian Ken Burns’ The Address, Greenwood rose as a leader in changing the national conversation about learning differences from a narrative of limitations and struggles to a narrative of unleashing potential. With this mindset Greenwood created innovative programs that celebrate and leverage our students’ strengths—strengths that are often viewed as weaknesses by traditional schools.
This year Greenwood successfully piloted unique classes that build on research findings of dyslexics and those with ADHD being three times more likely to become entrepreneurs compared to the general population. We formed strategic alliances with The Stern Center for Language and Learning and with Landmark College. The Stern Center partnership allows Greenwood to house a teacher training series and test the feasibility of jointly creating a diagnostic center. Our alliance with Landmark College resulted in Greenwood earning a certification as an Executive Functioning Coaching School. Additionally, we are currently partnering with Landmark College to create an innovative and industry-leading model that answers the question “How do we best prepare high school students with learning differences, ADHD, and executive functioning challenges for a successful transition to college?” This has already sparked the design of college-credit bearing AP classes and opportunities for dual enrollment. It is hoped that this collaboration will serve as a model for transitioning high school students, whether they face learning challenges or not. We view this as building the elements to ensure a continuum of teaching and learning that eradicates the achievement gap between high school and college.
We’ve accomplished a great deal in the past year and will accomplish even more in the year ahead. What we have attained, however, wasn’t by accident or simply a reaction to what was happening around us. Throughout the process we’ve been informed by our Mission and Vision. This year we updated our Mission and Vision to reflect not only the evolution of The Greenwood School, but our ambitions as well. This Vision Statement will inform the strategic plan we’ll be developing in the next several months—a strategic plan that will help every component of the school contribute to achieving our mission in the coming years. Because the Vision Statement is so important to our future growth and direction, I want to share it with all of you. I hope you see it not only reflects where we’ve been, but also the spirit that drives us forward.