Mountaintop Montessori Strategic Priorities 2017-2021
Mountaintop Montessori is a healthy and growing independent school with myriad strengths and a bright future. Over the next three years we aspire for Mountaintop to continue in its tradition of highest-quality, authentic Montessori education, which offers an engaging and fulfilling environment for children, families and guides. To fulfill this mission and secure the school’s long-term future, the Board of Trustees and the school’s leadership have agreed upon the following three-year strategic priorities:
Strategic Priority #1: Enhance the Montessori experience for Mountaintop children and families.
Mountaintop is committed to providing a superior Montessori experience for children and their families. Fulfilling this commitment depends on several factors, including stable and consistent classroom experiences, robust communication, well-trained Montessori guides, and superior facilities. Over the next three years we are committed to making advances on these dimensions of the Mountaintop experience.
Provide three-year consistency among teaching teams at every academic level.
Strengthen communication between school and home to build parents’ understanding of Montessori philosophy and help parents appreciate their children’s academic progress.
Support ongoing professional development for guides and staff at a level consistent with recommendations from the American Montessori Society (AMS).
Implement strong co-curricular programs, including those that may integrate science, technology, design-thinking, etc., consistent with Montessori pedagogy and principles.
Focus attention on refreshing and/or upgrading existing campus facilities including exterior of modulars, outdoor play spaces, gardens, and walk-ways.
Ensure re-accreditation by AMS and the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.
Strategic Priority #2: Strengthen the vibrant community that makes Mountaintop unique.
Mountaintop Montessori derives vitality from its vibrant community ethos. Strengthening this community, while further ensuring that the school remains dynamic and inclusive is a strategic priority over the next three years. This will include efforts to: ensure a smooth transition for the new Head of School; welcome and engage all of our families within the Mountaintop community; energize and inspire a new generation of volunteer leaders; and embrace new and diverse families, faculty, and staff.
- Provide time and resources for the new Head of School to learn about the rich culture of Mountaintop and to build relationships with all of the school’s stakeholders.
- Create an assurance of accessible and visible leadership by providing opportunities for all Mountaintop families (new and returning) to meet personally with the Head of School.
- Increase family participation in Mountaintop parent programs, including compelling after-school events and parent association activities.
- Bolster the inclusivity and understanding of families, guides and staff from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, sexual orientation, and religious backgrounds.
- Provide a level of financial aid that helps to ensure that the Mountaintop experience is available to families from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
Strategic Priority #3: Improve enrollment stability at key transition points.
Montessori pedagogy depends significantly on having consistency and continuity of guides and families at every level. Given the number of excellent educational offerings available to families in Charlottesville, it is an important strategic priority for Mountaintop to ensure enrollment stability, especially at key transition points.
- Improve the retention rate at the Children’s House-Lower Elementary transition point to a level consistent with other Montessori schools of similar size and composition.
- Expand outreach and education for parents at all key transition points.
- Maintain the current (2016) strength of the admissions and enrollment funnel and update marketing materials to highlight the strengths of the elementary programs.
Strategic Priority #4: Grow the school’s financial resources.
Mountaintop generates revenue from tuition, which is modestly augmented by annual fundraising and other operating income. We seek to ensure the long-term financial stability of the school by maintaining a healthy tuition base, exercising prudent fiscal management, fostering a community of giving, and cultivating other sources of income.
- Achieve the ISM recommendation of covering 100% of operating expenses from tuition every year through optimal enrollment.
- Add to the school’s operating reserves annually, striving for the ISM stability marker of 15% of operating expenses.
- Re-evaluate the annual fund and expand the annual auction event as means to increase non-tuition revenue sources and build community engagement.
Strategic Priority #5: Nurture connections between Mountaintop and the broader community.
Mountaintop Montessori is embedded in a dynamic intellectual and entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the school must strive to nurture ties with its broader community. There is inherent value from inviting the world beyond our Pantops campus to learn more about the special experience that we offer. Moreover, given the competitive nature of independent schools, it is vital for Mountaintop to raise its visibility among families seeking progressive, child-centered education.
- Increase the number of campus visits by non-Mountaintop families, either through tours or non-academic, community-facing events.
- Increase the percentage of enrollments by Kindergarten and Elementary aged children who transfer from other regional schools to Mountaintop. (The vast majority of our new enrollment is by preschool children who are attending school for the very first time.)
- Increase local media attention, either paid or unpaid, and greater social media presence, in order to ensure awareness among families throughout the area.
- Increase in the number of contacts with Mountaintop alumni and seek to form a lifelong connection for all alumni with their Montessori education at Mountaintop.