With the backdrop of the successful completion of the school’s previous strategic plan and the beginning of a new capital campaign, creation of The Bright School Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 began in fall 2018 with a series of surveys and focus groups of various stakeholders including faculty and staff, current parents, current students, alumni, former parents and former trustees. The Board of Trustees’ Strategic Plan Steering Committee met in the fall and winter to discuss and analyze the information gathered.
The school received very positive feedback from all stakeholders, who made clear they believe the school’s current mission remains relevant and appropriate. The mission states: “The Bright School builds a foundation upon which students become wise and compassionate citizens of the world. Its century of progress fosters the intellectual, artistic, physical, and moral growth of young boys and girls.”
Several themes became apparent from the feedback: security, a sensible balance of technology and hands-on learning, knowledge of the community and the world, and awareness of the needs and preferences of the millennial generation and beyond. Work on the strategic plan fit well with the launch of the three-year, $4 million Building a Bright Future capital campaign. The first phase of the campaign to upgrade and improve first, second, and third grade classrooms and original 1963 infrastructure was completed in summer 2019. More renovations are planned for 2020 and 2021.
Committees of board members, faculty and staff were assigned to each of the four pillars – People, Programs, Plant and Pecuniary/Finances – which were carried over from the school’s previous strategic plan. The four committees met in spring 2019 to draft goals for each pillar based on the feedback from the surveys and focus groups. The school’s administrative team then drafted tactics for each goal during the summer.
A draft version of the goals and tactics were presented to the Board of Trustees on August 21, 2019. Following a one-month comment period, various changes were made to the plan, and it was officially approved by the Board of Trustees on October 16, 2019.
This pillar refers to students, parents, faculty and staff, alumni and all the school’s stakeholder groups. People are at the heart of the school. Those who came before us – from founder Mary G. Bright and her original staff to all the school’s benefactors and supporters – had the vision and foresight to create and maintain a school that is thriving more than 100 years later. We strive today to ensure tomorrow’s Bright School will thrive another 100 years and beyond.
Goal 1: Identify, attract, and retain mission-appropriate students and families, keeping in mind the importance of diversity (socioeconomic, race, cultural background and origin) and the changing generational values, needs, and expectations.
Goal 2: Attract and retain the best faculty and staff, considering changing generational values, needs and expectations.
Goal 3: Increase alumni engagement, focusing on the best ways to connect with varying age groups.
This pillar refers to the curriculum, activities, and methods used by teachers in the fulfillment of the school’s mission, goals and values, which continue to reflect Miss Bright’s vision when she founded the school in 1913. Providing a safe and nurturing environment for all children to reach their potential will always remain at Bright School. Evaluation of curriculum and teaching methods is ongoing and deliberate.
Goal 1: Broaden the development of students as "wise and compassionate citizens of the world."
Goal 2: Demonstrate and practice habits among students that reflect the goals of the school mission, social-emotional learning, and a balance between technology and traditional, hands-on methods.
Goal 3: Formalize developmental preschool curriculum.
This pillar refers to the environment, spaces, and buildings in which teachers teach and children learn. The Bright School has occupied the 22-acre campus in North Chattanooga since 1963. The current Building a Bright Future capital campaign was launched in 2019 to upgrade and improve the original areas of the campus, and this campaign will continue for the next two years.
Goal 1: Make the best use of the outdoor spaces of the campus grounds and maintain them for the education of students.
Goal 2: Provide for the best stewardship and sustainability of our school buildings.
Goal 3: Promote the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff, and visitors.
Pecuniary (Financial Resources)
This pillar refers to the finances of the school and the promotion of sound financial practices to sustain and support the strategic initiatives of the school. Without financial planning and effective stewardship, the strategic plan cannot be accomplished. The Bright School is proud to have a history of excellent financial management and effective planning, and these goals reflect the desire to continue and improve upon that legacy.
Goal 1: Develop an analytical framework to evaluate implications of future initiatives, especially related to enrollment capacity, rate of tuition increases, staffing needs and facility management.
Goal 2: Establish a comprehensive fundraising strategy, addressing annual fund, capital development, endowment, corporate sponsorships and planned giving.
Goal 3: Increase the size and efficacy of the school’s endowment.