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Creativity, Collaboration and Consequence

Updated: Mar 12

As Director of Admissions and Strategic Initiatives, I'm often asked what the second half of the title translates to at The Lang School. While a key portion of our strategic work is connected to how we tell the Lang "story," it also connects to how that story reflects our movement towards program and practice that is the most authentic expression of our mission. On a more practical note, for the 2023-2024 school much of this strategic work has been focused on preparing for our upcoming New York State Association of Schools (NYSAIS) decennial accreditation process. This process will culminate with a three-day visit in March from a visiting committee composed of our peers from other NYSAIS schools.

With that upcoming visit in mind, I thought I'd use this week's post to explore some of our evolving ideas about how we plan to more fully realize our mission. Over the course of the year, we've identified a number of key priorities related to curriculum design, teaching practice, and school culture. These priorities together with the feedback that we'll receive as we move through our accreditation process will be used to inform a more substantial multi-year strategic plan. Achieving the goals that will be identified in this plan will require us to be intentional and thoughtful in our ongoing transformation efforts. It will also require us to fully embrace the reality of The Lang School as a 13-year institution. A critical goal in this work will be for us to see more clearly how the parts of the whole are interrelated, interconnected, and, ultimately, best aligned.

Through our collaborative efforts, we will illuminate and leverage our shared understandings and values connected to the work of learning and teaching. This orientation to innovation will ensure that The Lang School remains relevant and pioneering in the world of twice exceptional education where our core values of civility, self-reflection, growth mindset, and community have never been more important. As a result of Lang's historical roots as a progressive 2e school, we are in a unique position to continue to be leaders in the effort to define what schools should be, explore how they can best serve their varied communities of learners, and take action together to address the pressing challenges of our time.

Part of Lang's essential DNA is grounded in the idea that learners and schools must be regularly engaged in transformation that is oriented towards growth and understanding. In these efforts, we have always endeavored to be critical and thoughtful about the change efforts that we undertake.  Figuring out how best to navigate through this process is a challenge that all schools must address. I am excited to work with our leadership team, faculty, students and families to embrace this complexity and in so doing clarify our vision and character as a school.

Lang has always been a mission driven school and one that resists engaging in change for change's sake. That said, it is also a complicated place that seeks to recognize and value its many members and to meet their varied needs as best as possible. All of these efforts play out across the domains of purpose, leadership, professional learning, curricula, instruction, assessment, and in and across our three divisions, which are connected and mutually dependent on each other. The result is that changes made in one part of the system invariably have impacts -- expected and unintended -- in other parts of the system. Amplifying the desirable impacts and understanding and reorienting those that are less well aligned with the mission are areas that we are excited to explore as we craft a strategic path forward. 

As these ideas evolve and come into better focus in service of the school and its mission, I've been thinking about how to articulate in the most concise way a statement of purpose to guide us in this work. In essence, I've been looking for a "true north" to best orient me to the school's mission and goals. So as we work to construct a detailed map of the Lang experience, I find myself regularly orienting to the idea that we are at our core a community of creativity, collaboration and consequence. I think that this is a pretty good place from which to start this work.

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