STRATEGIC PLAN 2016: ASPIRE AND ACHIEVE


Mission Statement

The mission of Notre Dame High School is to help young men and women grow in character, faith, and intellect. We encourage each student to develop a thirst for knowledge and truth, and we instill in our students the determination to strive for excellence in every endeavor.

In a challenging and collaborative learning environment, we provide students with the academic foundation, confidence, and discipline needed to excel, both in college and in life.

As a caring, diverse community grounded in Catholic teaching, we challenge all students to reach their God-given potential, to take their place in our society, and to do service for the good of others.

Through hard work, faith in God, and faith in one's self, we believe every student can achieve excellence.

Vision Statement

The vision of Notre Dame High School is to be the model of secondary education in the state of Connecticut. Guided by Catholic teachings and values, and through a demanding academic program, a supportive learning community, highly competitive athletics, enriching extracurricular activities, and an institutional commitment to Christian service, we seek to develop our students into visionaries who will achieve excellence and serve as our future leaders.

Strategic Plan
Academic Affairs Catholic Identity Student Life
Alumni & Development Advancing Reputation and Growth Facilities

Academic Affairs


To provide the necessary academic supports to engage all students in the learning process.

      • Establish a Learning Center, where each academic department staffs the Center after school, one day per week. Here students can stop in and ask questions, seek extra help, or discuss subject related current events/topics and develop a rapport with teachers. Post the staffing schedule for students/teachers.
      • Investigate providing instructional and support services for students of various learning differences, as well as for international students. Consider Sacred Heart partnership for ESL services.
      • Emphasize the technological development of teacher’s classroom skills, by providing both in-house and outside training opportunities. For example, SMART Boards are in place and teachers should receive advanced training on their utilization.
      • Develop a peer tutoring program and consider requiring National Honor Society members to tutor.
  • To add additional rigor and depth to current and proposed course offerings.
      • Introduce additional electives into the curriculum, including half-year courses in all subjects and cultural studies in the college prep-level language courses.
      • Develop a “writing across the curriculum” program; place more emphasis on writing research papers, expository writing, and the correct use of grammar and written construction in all courses.
      • Implement wireless technology at ND, and incorporate it into classes as both a resource and learning-tool.
      • Increase the number of Advanced Placement courses and emphasize taking the AP exam upon completion.
      • Investigate the development of a comprehensive Culminating Portfolio, highlighting student accomplishments and specific learning outcomes and achievements.
      • Affirm and celebrate Notre Dame’s diversity (interests, goals, community, ethnicity, economics) and incorporate these perspectives into the curriculum and learning experiences.
      • Analyze standardized test scores critically in a new annual curriculum review process. Use this review to identify what works and to strengthen academic weaknesses.
      • Revise and update the curriculum guide (on-line) to reflect changes in both courses and our mission.
      • Provide a course syllabus in all subject areas.
      • Emphasize the utility of Ed-line by teachers, parents and students, to track student progress and take action when necessary in real time. Conduct necessary training for teachers, students and parents if necessary.
  • To expand the scope of a Notre Dame education to extend beyond the traditional classroom setting.
      • Develop partnerships with local colleges and universities, where students can earn college and Notre Dame credit and broaden their academic experience with college resources and programs.
      • Expand the current senior experience program to include an array of projects where seniors could organize and perform a concert, conduct a class, write a research paper, exhibit their art work, etc. This could be a required component for graduation.
      • Examine the requirements of blue-ribbon type programs for which Notre Dame is eligible. Set up a committee to act as a liaison with the administration to implement the necessary steps/changes to compete for the award.
  • Develop and/or refine academic policies and procedures to complement the growth of Notre Dame and the advancement of the Strategic Plan.
    • Amend the exam schedule to conduct mid-terms before Christmas; schedule two exams/day with a break in-between. Conduct mini-courses in January with an emphasis on fun topics for teachers and students. Have the third marking period schedule begin as it is.
    • Develop an internal communications plan to support brand dissemination and appropriation.
    • Develop a Notre Dame “Brand Book” for employees to articulate how the school thinks about and envisions itself.
    • Develop and incorporate an academic excellence mission statement into the current mission statement.
    • Re-enforce and, if necessary, revise the cell phone policy so that parents and students understand and comply with it

Catholic Identity

Reaffirm the importance of faith throughout the school community through regular opportunities to worship and serve others.

    • Provide students with the opportunity to process and reflect upon their service experiences. Better integrate prayer and service.
    • Encourage and energize the faculty to regularly support the Catholic identity of the school.
    • Allow the Mass to continue to be a community builder and take advantage of the mass to re-catechize the building.
    • Investigate the feasibility of conducting a weekly all-school or class gathering to engage and unify the school community around its core values and beliefs.
    • Develop a formal peer ministry program.
    • Better promote Diocesan faith-formation events.
    • Foster an environment in which all constituencies are committed to supporting the Catholic identity of the school.


Student Life

Realizing that learning happens out of the classroom, develop additional opportunities for students to grow and share their talents, knowledge and experiences while fully preparing them for college and life.

    • Expand the extra-curricular program to offer activities of specific interest to students (ie: Math Club, Ski Club).
    • Implement and expand the Senior Experience Program.
    • Foster the expansion and growth of the recently added music program.
    • Encourage a more active student government with elections held each spring.
    • Brainstorm with students an approach to encourage more students to attend all athletic events.
    • Support school spirit with a pep rally for each athletic season.
    • Sponsor a freshman orientation day-long program in August before school begins.
    • Expand athletic team offerings, where possible, to attract potential new students.
    • Evaluate the Advisory Program on an annual basis and consider its possible expansion to a weekly program.
    • Focus efforts on improving the student retention rate from freshman to sophomore and sophomore to junior year through increased student engagement.
    • Develop a summer volunteer network for students.
    • Provide opportunities for parents to be active contributors in their child's school community.
    • Continue to encourage parental involvement through an active and vibrant Home School Association, including sharing in the Catholic happenings of the school.
    • Develop a Parent Engagement and Communications plan to more fully engage parents in their child's high school experience.

Alumni and Development

Provide renewed opportunities to engage the alumni community.
    • Install a new alumni database program and begin updating alumni data, including email addresses; utilize parent, student, and class agent volunteers to research alumni.
    • Conduct a pinning ceremony each May/June to welcome the new graduates into the Alumni program.
    • Form an Alumni Council to connect with graduates from each graduation year.
    • Publish Cornerstone magazine once per year and update alumni regularly via email.
    • Contract with Harris Connect to produce a new Alumni Directory.
    • Have Notre Dame representation at each alumni reunion.
    • Create websites for each class through Facebook.
    • Host a Notre Dame-sponsored event annually for the significant reunion years (25, 30, 40, 50).
  • More fully develop the advancement program to increase the amount of annual revenue from donors.
    • Expand the Annual Fund program to become a significant source of donation revenue.
    • Conduct two major fundraisers annually – Gala and Golf Tournament.
    • Target alumni, families, grandparents and friends for active participation and donations.
    • Develop a habit of giving among recent graduates, including facilitating a class gift.
    • Analyze those who gave large donations in the past and re-engage where needed.
    • Encourage the matching gift and planned giving programs.
  • Establish the Advisory Board as a contributing member of the school's governance model.
  • Reshape and structure the Advisory Board.
  • Define roles and responsibilities for Advisory Board members.

Advancing Reputation and Growth

Strengthen our enrollment management model to identify and achieve measurable and sustainable admissions and retention goals.

    • Set annual targets for increased performance across admissions recruitment funnel-inquiries, applicants, deposits and returning students.
    • Analyze annual application, open house, and shadow data to identify strengths and weaknesses and areas for potential growth.
    • Offer additional entrance exams and group shadow dates to accommodate all potential applicants.
    • Expand the parent and student ambassador programs; all accepted students (and their parents) greeted with a congratulatory phone call.
    • Target specific geographic areas for growth and recruitment; specifically target marketing for these growth areas.
    • Offer on-line application capability for potential families.
    • Continue to support and expand, where needed, the group shadow day program.
    • Continue to develop, implement and manage an enrollment management plan.
    • Continue to maintain the diversity of the student body while increasing the interest in Notre Dame amongst families from wealthier area communities.
    • Institute a cohort manager plan, where employees are responsible for recruiting students to build their individual (non-athletic) program (ie: the arts).
  • Build a strategic marketing communications program to drive effective and measurable engagement with School stakeholders and audiences.
    • Incorporate brand messaging into all admissions materials.
    • Fully integrate brand identity and positioning throughout the school community.
    • Develop and incorporate a new graphic identity for the school.
    • Ensure the Notre Dame web site is focused on information for prospective students, providing the resources families need; information must continue to be updated on a regular basis.
    • Develop an annual admissions communications plan, including targeted advertising in weekly and daily newspapers, specifically focused on the individual communities served by the newspaper, and a social media focus.

Facilities

Update and modernize the building, campus facilities and landscaping to reflect current educational needs and aesthetic appeal.
    • Understand that an institutional commitment to construction and renovation will further support the school's mission and vision to develop and prepare tomorrow's community leaders.
    • Modernize classrooms including technology, furniture and fixtures.
    • Begin renovation of science labs, giving consideration to flexible designs, which facilitate maximization of teaching spaces.
    • Renovate existing athletic facilities, upgrading to synthetic playing fields, supporting expanded athletic offerings.
    • Implement wireless technology throughout the campus to further support creative teaching and learning experiences.
    • Develop and furnish a Learning Center where student academic experiences can be supported and expanded.
    • Develop a plan to replace exterior windows, lockers, sidewalks and re-pave parking areas.
    • Begin a comprehensive campus exterior improvement plan to develop a unified identity including perimeter fencing, appropriate landscaping and signage.
  • Develop a long range master plan for facilities with the intent to:
      • Construct a science wing to support, expanding Science-Math-Technology career paths.
      • Construct a Center for the Arts wing to develop Music, Drama, Dance, Art, Photography and Painting curriculums.

Notre Dame High School | 220 Jefferson Street | Fairfield, Connecticut 06825 | 203.372.6521