Strategic Plan 2019-2023

Developing Leaders for Their World

For over 155 years, Brownell Talbot School has stood for educational excellence and has offered students a transformative experience. Over the past year, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, and alumni came together to realize a path forward for the school. Through this process, we affirmed our commitment to education and created a strategic plan that focuses on building on our strengths and meeting the challenges of the changing landscape of education. 

I’m excited to introduce to you a plan you informed and that provides a long-term, preferred future for the school, organized around a set of priorities to guide us in getting there.

- Kristi N. Gibbs, Ed.D., Head of School 

Strategic Plan Online Meeting

Use the left and right arrows to navigate through the meeting boards. Talking points are listed below each board. Click on any board to expand the image.
Brownell Talbot's Strategic Plan for 2019-2023

Thank you for attending our online meeting as we share the results of Brownell Talbot's strategic planning process. As a school community, we have a tradition of embracing change and being at the forefront of education innovation in Omaha. We are equally excited about the future of the school and have truly enjoyed the process of digging into who we are and who we hope to become through this process. The intent of this online meeting is to provide you an understanding of the strategic planning process, why focus areas were chosen, how decisions were made, and how BT will move forward in implementing this plan.

If you have questions or comments as you review the meeting materials, please use the form on this page to send them to the Strategic Planning Committee. 

Strategic Planning Process Timeline

High-quality independent schools engage in a strategic planning process every five to seven years. The process includes a review of the mission statement and a process to define the future direction of the school. 

In the fall of 2017, BT began the strategic planning process by introducing our intentions and desired outcome - enhancing our rigorous academic programs while preparing students for a rapidly changing world. We then enlisted Ian Symmonds and Associates to help set the framework for the planning process. We devoted a lot of time to collecting data from our constituent groups as well as conducting a market analysis to help inform our discussions and identification of priorities through this process.

Strategic Plan Data Collection and Analysis

The data collection and analysis process allowed the school to reevaluate its mission, the opportunities in the Omaha market, and the school’s capabilities. 

The following analysis was conducted in support of this strategic planning process:

Qualitative: SWOT analyses, workshops, a web survey, phone interviews.

Quantitative: market trends and demographic analysis of Omaha metro area. 

After analyzing the data, we had a 360-degree perspective of the school, and common themes that deserved more attention began to take shape.  

Strategic Planning Committee Members

The committee was composed of 41 community members with representation from BT's Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni.  

Introducing Brownell Talbot's New Mission

In revising the mission statement, we identified the following key themes as critical to our core:

  • We are a college preparatory school.
  • We are focused on developing the whole person, really knowing our students, teachers and families.
  • We excel at providing individualized attention, realizing innovative ideas, and creating experiences that help students reach new levels of success.

We live our mission every day. 

Introducing Brownell Talbot's Vision

The vision statement is our hope for BT’s future reality. 

Our vision speaks to a community where everyone knows genuine care and compassion. It applies to everyone in our community, which is why we intentionally say “learners” and not “students.” We want everyone in the BT community to be empowered to grow. We also believe the convergence of diverse people, thoughts, and experiences generates the best learning environment, so a future goal of ours is to reap the benefits of having made diversity and inclusion a priority for the school. We are committed to ensuring our students are compassionate and caring and have the drive and tools to make the world a better place.

Preliminary Strategic Areas of Focus

The mission and vision guide our purpose and direction. Rewriting our mission and vision happened concurrently to our Strategic Planning Committee work. After data collection and analysis revealed common themes in what we heard from all constituents, we held several workshops and facilitated exercises where we talked about what we do well; what sets BT apart from other schools in Omaha; what we need to do to be the top choice in private education; and what are untapped opportunities for generating more financial security for the school. 

Working in teams, committee members were assigned one strategic area of focus to brainstorm goals and initiatives that would support the focus area. From this work, we ended up with approximately 4-7 initiatives, each with 7-10 action items.

Each initiative was evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Competitive imperative - in order to exist in 10 years, BT has to implement the initiative. 
  • Revenue producer - the initiative will generate income for the school.   
  • Element of distinction - the initiative is something no other school in Omaha is doing. 
  • Mission mandate - in order to live our mission, the initiative has to happen. 

Ultimately, we were able to organize the initiatives that met at least two of these criteria under three major pillars that provide the structure of our strategic plan and will guide our decisionmaking as we work to live our mission and achieve our vision.

Pillar 1: The Brownell Talbot Experience
Pillar 1 Initiatives and Timeframes

Our first pillar is solidifying the Brownell Talbot experience. This pillar is anchored in becoming a leader in globally engaged education. 

Our goals with these initiatives are to continue to promote rigorous academic standards while preparing students to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Equipping students with a global mindset and intercultural competency will provide a distinct and enduring advantage in college and within the competitive global economic environment.

As a leader in a globally engaged education, we must ensure our students understand the importance and value of cross-cultural diversity. The Board has named this as one of their priorities for the school year at the policy-setting level. We have also recently formed a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee of faculty and staff members to explore this topic. We believe the world is our classroom and understand that our students will be working with colleagues, customers, and clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. We know that colleges and employers are looking for graduates with a wide range of skills that includes awareness of other cultures.

We believe our students need to be prepared to engage with others on a global scale. Our summer study abroad program has evolved and now includes an academic focus for credit. Next summer’s trip to Granada, Spain, for Spanish culture and language immersion is an excellent first step in the direction the program will go in support of this strategic plan.

Defining Global Education

There is a major emphasis in BT's strategic plan on global education. It was a result of an evaluation of BT’s current offerings and what already makes the school uniquely positioned in Omaha and an understanding of the direction of education and business across multiple industries that led the school to focus on this direction.

We know colleges, universities, and employers are seeking internationally minded candidates. Brownell Talbot must prepare our students so that, as they go beyond our campus, to college and on to careers, they are prepared to effectively collaborate with people from different national, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds in Omaha or abroad. We will create an environment that challenges our students to be leaders and changemakers understanding how their actions impact decisions locally and beyond. 

Pillar 2: Our Community
Pillar 2 Initiatives and Timeframes

Our second pillar is strengthening our community by creating meaningful connections with past, current, and future BT families as well as ensuring BT is an employer of choice in Omaha. This pillar is anchored in enrolling and retaining students and families and ensuring a sense of belonging among members of the community. We will review our tuition structure, support for financial aid and scholarships, and ensuring sustainability for our families.

We will also take a close look at our enrollment goals and how we can make positive change to the long-term revenue of the school. 

It is also an immediate goal that we establish and implement a marketing plan that supports the strategic plan and its initiatives so that we are recognized as a leader in global education.

Pillar 3: A Culture of Sustainability and Philanthropy
Pillar 3 Initiatives and Timeframes

The third pillar of our strategic plan is creating a culture of philanthropy and sustainability. Our focus will ensure BT’s success for another 150 years of excellence by diversifying our revenue streams, and collaborating with mission-aligned organizations in Omaha and the broader community.

We have already begun to develop and implement the necessary monitoring and reporting we will need to identify a new business model that will create annual, five, and 10-year assumptions about demand, capacity, and revenue. We’ll continue this work to develop a long-term financial plan.

The school will define its philanthropic mission by outlining how it supports child-focused, mission-aligned community partners. The school will also create opportunities for all BT’s community members to get involved with these partners. The goal is to support these partners with a coordinated approach so that every person at BT has firsthand knowledge of why the school values its community partners and how these partnerships, in turn, benefit students’ moral development.

This is just the first of many opportunities you will have to learn about the strategic plan.

Updates about the plan and our implementation progress will be shared routinely at BTPA meetings. We will also include time devoted to the strategic plan during next month’s State of the School meeting, which will take place on November 21. 

Thank you for your commitment to Brownell Talbot! We look forward to sharing the journey ahead with you!

 

Have Questions or Comments?

Read the Plan

First page of the PDF file: BTStrategicPlan_2019-2023

Strategic plan visuals and brand design by Oxide.

Strategic Plan Pillar 1: The Brownell Talbot Experience
Brownell Talbot students representing all three divisions.
Strategic Plan Pillar 2: Our Community
Lower School students
Strategic Plan Pillar 3: Culture of Philanthropy and Sustainability
Middle School students