On September 25, 2018, The Kew-Forest School marked the 100th anniversary of its opening and began a joyful year-long centennial celebration. Throughout the year, and especially during our spirited centennial Gala at the Queens Museum, we honored our School’s history, recognized the people who came before us, and celebrated the traditions that connect us to our past. We also reached out to the future: students across grade levels contributed to a time capsule, which we buried in Aldo’s Green to await Kew-Forest’s 150th birthday. The centennial was an opportunity to reflect on our past and imagine the future. Through conversations, meetings, and surveys, we asked Kew-Forest constituents to tell us what was exceptional about Kew-Forest, how we should continue to improve, and what the future of our School might look like. This is where the work of the Strategic Planning Committee began.
Students, parents, and alumni consistently praise Kew-Forest for its small nurturing community that feels like a second home. They credit the care, creativity, and dedication of our teachers for fostering within our students a strong sense of self, respect for others, and the tools required to explore personal academic and creative interests well beyond high school. Students and alumni cite teachers or experiences that changed their lives. We also hear how prepared Kew-Forest graduates feel when they arrive at college, and how the School’s core values of hard work, integrity, and respect for differences has helped them succeed in the workforce. Kew-Forest relationships - between graduates but also between alumni and faculty - endure and strengthen over decades.
We also received constructive feedback that noted evolving community needs, ways to align with educational best practices, and opportunities to improve school operations. This led to rich discussions about how best to serve our students at a time when the world is advancing at a stunning pace, especially in science and technology; when we understand how social, emotional, and physical safety at school impacts learning and belonging; when climate change is disrupting the environment and creating an uncertain future; and when social, political, and cultural norms are evolving in unexpected and consequential ways. In the end, there were the two overarching questions: “What must Kew-Forest do to prepare students for a world that we can only imagine?” and “How can we ensure that Kew-Forest, itself, has a durable, sustainable future?”
Those two questions guided the multidimensional strategic planning process launched by the Board of Trustees and Head of School. Together they formed three groups to explore and identify responses. One task force dove into the The Kew-Forest School Mission Statement to determine whether it remained relevant and resonant. A second group examined and synthesized data to identify specific strategic goals for the Board of Trustees and School leadership to accomplish over the next three to five years. The third committee took inventory of the School’s campus and identified resources that could fulfill the Kew-Forest Mission and strategic goals. An overview of each group follows.