News Post

Strategic Plan listening sessions identify key issues for DA's future
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Starting tonight, a group of 57 parents, faculty, administrators, alumni, parents of alumni and trustees will participate in a two-day strategic planning retreat, facilitated by Dan Baum, executive director of the Redwoods Group Foundation.

Starting tonight, a group of 57 parents, faculty, administrators, alumni, parents of alumni and trustees will participate in a two-day strategic planning retreat, facilitated by Dan Baum, executive director of the Redwoods Group Foundation. 

The goal of the retreat is to produce a draft document defining the priorities and goals of the strategic plan (what Durham Academy is going to do over the next three to five years); the rationales behind the goals (the reasons why DA is tackling these particular goals); and action steps outlining how DA will achieve those goals.

The group will be guided by common themes and priorities that were the result of a faculty/staff retreat, an online survey of more than 1,100 DA constituents, an administrative committee/board of trustees retreat and 15 listening sessions that heard from more than 200 members of the DA community — including Middle and Upper School students; current parents; DA alumni based in the Triangle, San Francisco, Boston and New York; parents of alumni; trustees and administrators — who all shared their visions for the best faculty, curriculum and community DA could imagine. 

Combined results from the survey and listening sessions were condensed into common themes and priorities to guide the development of a working draft of the strategic plan during this week’s retreat. 

Those common themes included the following:

  • Recruit, retain and support an excellent faculty full of “life-changers” who are consistently evaluated
  • Integrate the curriculum for a connected student experience
  • Incorporate opportunities for innovative teaching and learning that produce “life athletes”
  • Preserve DA’s welcoming and inclusive nature
  • Create shared experiences for PS/LS/MS/US families
  • Reach out to alumni in new and deeper ways
  • Enhance commitments to racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, affordability and accessibility
  • Engage local and global community partners to increase experiential and service learning
  • Evaluate ways to make DA’s existing community service curriculum more intentional and impactful
  • Develop multi-year financial sustainability and facilities plans that balance endowment growth, tuition control and financial aid

A draft of the strategic plan will be submitted to the board of trustees this spring. The final plan will be shared with the entire DA community following board approval. Many thanks go to those who have participated in this critical process through offering their time, their expertise and their support. 

The Strategic Plan Steering Committee is chaired by DA parent and trustee Lauren Whitehurst. The 10-member steering committee represents parents, faculty, alumni, administrators and trustees. To learn more about DA’s strategic planning process and to read the results of the online survey (conducted by professional market research company The Link Group, founded by DA parent and trustee Tom Pfeil) visit www.da.org/strategicplan