Board of Trustees Unanimously Passes Strategic Plan

In the future, Phillips Academy will see an increase in the percentage of students boarding on campus, decrease the number of academic requirements, and improve the quality of teacher recruitment. Last week, the trustees of Phillips Academy came to campus to discuss these and other issues facing the Academy as part of their regular spring meeting. “There were not a lot of heavy votes,” said Interim Director of Communications Planning Andrew Gully. “A lot of it is trying to get committees organized for this summer. They voted in previous meetings to do it…there was an update on the progress that was made.” The current Strategic Plan is due to expire this year. The new plan will guide Andover from fiscal year 2006 until fiscal year 2010. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the new Strategic Plan in October. A committee of faculty, administrators, and trustees developed the plan over the last 18 months. The Strategic Plan has one clear goal – “to reaffirm the mission of Phillips Academy to be a school that educates outstanding youth from every quarter by effectively challenging them to develop their potential and to depart as thoughtful, versatile, responsible participants in the global community,” according to a letter from Head of School Barbara Landis Chase to alumni and parents. According to the new Strategic Plan, the composition of the PA student body will change. The number of boarding students is to increase by three percent. In addition, the Admissions department will recruit more students from currently under-represented areas, such as the South and the Midwest. Finally, the school will offer more financial aid to bring qualified students from different income brackets to Andover. In September 2005, 40 percent of PA students will receive some kind of financial aid. The Strategic Plan addressed prospective changes to the academic program. The plan states, “The junior and lower years have become increasingly rigid with the incremental accumulation of requirements, both academic and non-academic.” The Trustees are looking to increase flexibility in the curriculum to allow students to pursue their passions and to account for the varied levels of preparation students have when they first arrive at Andover. Mr. Gully said, “We’re looking very hard at what [the] requirements [are]. Are they needed? Can we juggle them around? What are our priorities? Can we fit into the academic schedule classes that cater to these needs?” The Strategic Plan also hopes to help Andover find talented new teachers. “We are committed to finding and nurturing the next generation of teaching legends for the Academy. In order to do so, we will need to recruit teachers of distinction to join our honored ranks and give them the tools, the compensation, and the freedom to reach for excellence,” Mrs. Chase said. Other operating goals of the Strategic Plan include improving PA’s communications, both externally and internally, and continuing to search for financial equilibrium between the future and the present. According to the Strategic Plan, Phillips Academy will “support a strong annual and capital development program to provide annual gifts and long-term capital gifts for the endowment and the Academy’s physical assets.  Raising substantial new funding to support the Academy’s strategic goals will require the active participation of the Board of Trustees, the administration and in particular the Head of School, the faculty, alumni, and parents.” By the time the Board of Trustees reconvenes in the fall, the debate over how best to fulfill the goals of the Strategic Plan will largely be over. The various committees, the Head of School, and the Deans’ Council will present their implementation plans to the Board. The Board also discussed the school’s budget and the upcoming Commons renovation. They approved the $74.3 million operating budget for fiscal year 2006 with little debate. Finally, the Board honored the eight retiring faculty members and recognized 31 veteran staff members.