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January 31, 2019

Dear NPS Community,

As we continue to celebrate our 50th school year, we are writing to update you on the NPS strategic planning process, which will help launch the school into the future as we look ahead to the next half-century of educational excellence at NPS.


Over the past two years, there has been a confluence of reflective and visionary activities occurring on campus: our AIMS (Association of Independent Schools of Maryland and DC Schools) Re-Accreditation process, an institutional strategy and positioning study conducted by the Art & Science Group, and the National Presbyterian Church Facilities Master Plan. As such, the NPS Board of Trustees voted last year to extend the current NPS Strategic Plan until the conclusion of those key initiatives. Now that they are at or near completion, we are excited to move ahead with the next phase of a strategic planning process that will be completed during the 2019-2020 school year.


The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Molly Evans and Matt McDonald will co-chair the NPS Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Their experience as current NPS parents (and, in Molly's case, parent of an NPS alumnus), trustees, and contributors to the NPS community in numerous areas, as well as their professional backgrounds in management, strategy development, and organizational change, will serve NPS well in the months ahead as we formulate the school's vision for tomorrow.


In addition, we are fortunate to have retained the services of Katherine Whitney, an experienced strategic planning consultant, to guide us. As co-founder and director of Warren Whitney, a Richmond, Virginia-based management consulting firm, she has a strong non-profit and independent school background, which includes extensive experience in working with both schools and churches. To help lay the strategic planning groundwork, Mrs. Whitney facilitated a recent NPS Board of Trustees retreat, an energizing forum that helped the Board envision opportunities for NPS.


With this excellent team, we look forward to the upcoming collaborative work with the entire NPS community. In subsequent communications, we will share information about the strategic planning timeline and process, as well as ways for NPS parents to get involved.


The forthcoming NPS Strategic Plan will build upon the aforementioned Art & Science Group study and the AIMS Self-Study and Re-Accreditation. The strategy and positioning project incorporated input from NPS parents, faculty, staff, and Board members, parents of alumni, and prospective parents, and affirmed much of what we do and hold dear when we think about the NPS experience. Additionally, with the insights from these community members and guidance from the firm, the study provided us with valuable feedback and suggestions for how to continue to strengthen our program and community as we both live out our mission and evolve as an institution.


Recommendations from the study have already led to recent NPS initiatives and improvements in areas such as marketing and messaging, signage and aesthetics, safety, program, and diversity and inclusion. For example, a programmatic change that originated from this project was the enhancement of the foreign language program at NPS through the recent addition of a part-time Lower Division Spanish teacher (to complement our Upper Division Spanish teacher) and the implementation of NPS Spanish instruction in Pre-Kindergarten.


Another improvement the research suggested was increasing visibility of NPS to the greater community. Thus, we have added a new NPS sign on Van Ness Street, lettering on the school building, and parkway banners in front of the school. We are grateful to the many members of the NPS community who participated in this project, which has proven to be an invaluable resource and will continue to inform future directions at NPS.


Similarly, the AIMS Self-Study, which was written by the entire NPS faculty and staff, as well as the Board of Trustees, provided insightful feedback from its comprehensive look at every facet of the school. After reading the Self-Study and observing NPS in action last spring, the AIMS Visiting Team validated the school's excellent academic program in its report, along with our intentional focus on "the decade of childhood," the school's mission-centered approach in relation to character education and Core Values, and our strong relationship with NPC. The prevailing view from the visiting educators was that NPS possesses "an ethos that felt unique" and a "grace, love, and positive intentionality that are rare."


The AIMS Re-Accreditation and the strategy and positioning study have allowed us to take stock of our school and how far we have come in our first 50 years, while giving insight into opportunities as we excitedly and intentionally prepare for the future. This same thoughtful process of reflection and visioning will be critical as we embark on our next strategic plan for NPS.


We are looking forward to collaborating with NPS parents and other community members in the months ahead on this important project. Moreover, we thank everyone in the NPS family—especially our excellent faculty and staff—for helping NPS continue to be an exemplary, student-centered school where childhood merits everyone's full attention.



Malcolm Lester
Head of School

Michael Toner

President, Board of Trustees

National Presbyterian School

4121 Nebraska Avenue, NW • Washington, DC 20016 • (202) 537-7500

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