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Watch the Strategic Vision Video below or on YouTube (06:30):
Strategic Vision Launch Event – Oct. 19, 2012
Nearly 350 members of the SSA community joined President Tom Cangiano and Board of Trustees Chair Mary Jo Dively at the official launch of the Shady Side Academy Strategic Vision on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, at the Hillman Center for Performing Arts on the Senior School campus. The engaging event included student performances, videos, presentations by faculty, students, alumni and more.
Couldn't attend? Watch a video of the entire launch event below or on YouTube (1:09:20):
View photos of the Strategic Plan Launch event:
Strategic Plan Update From President Tom Cangiano
Dear Shady Side Academy Community,
More than a year ago, we officially kicked off the strategic planning process at a joint retreat of SSA’s Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors in April 2011. Our goal was to identify the core values and historic strengths of Shady Side, to highlight the challenges and opportunities we face today and in the coming years, and ultimately to craft a unique, compelling vision for Shady Side’s future. With the help of our expert consultant, Andy Mozenter of Concentrics, we developed a detailed calendar of steps for the coming year to help us reach that goal. It was daunting to think of the work that lay ahead of us, but we aimed to have our “Strategic Vision” completed and approved in the spring of 2012. I’m very happy to share that the Strategic Vision for Shady Side Academy 2012-2017 was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees on May 17, 2012.
From the beginning, we knew that the only way a Strategic Vision would be embraced by our community was if the process itself was truly inclusive. Therefore, we sought to engage as many constituents as possible during an extensive data-gathering phase. More than 2,000 alumni, parents, faculty, staff and students shared feedback about their Shady Side experience through detailed online surveys last fall. Mozenter conducted individual interviews with 24 key stakeholders and held focus groups with parents, faculty, administrators and students. In November more than 80 people representing SSA’s various constituencies, as well as some guests from other Pittsburgh institutions, participated in a two-day Strategic Planning Retreat to review data, identify common ground themes and begin generating a shared vision for Shady Side’s future.
A 30-person Steering Committee comprised of trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, parents and students met regularly throughout the year and played a key role in constructing the surveys, analyzing the data, debriefing the conference outcomes and shaping the strategic vision. Throughout the year, a core eight-person Strategic Planning Committee kept the process moving along through bi-weekly conference calls and additional meetings, with Mozenter guiding us every step of the way. When we finally vetted a draft of the strategic vision with the Board of Trustees and Steering Committee this spring, we knew from their response that we had succeeded in capturing so much of what so many shared with us during the process. The Strategic Vision truly resonated with everyone.
Steve Halpern ‘74, trustee and co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, helped to write Shady Side’s last strategic plan in 2001. He surmised that the greatest difference in the two plans was that the last plan was inward looking, while the new plan is very much outward looking. I would have to agree. This plan is one that looks as much beyond the gates of Shady Side as it does within. A key component of the plan involves providing more opportunities for our students and faculty to engage with people, schools and organizations beyond our three campuses – not just in Pittsburgh, but around the world. It also recognizes the unique strength of our outstanding alumni network and seeks to better leverage that to strengthen the Shady Side experience. I would also add that the plan does not lose sight of Shady Side’s great history, and it looks to the past for inspiration about the kinds of things we should be doing in the future.
We formally shared our vision with the Shady Side community at the Strategic Vision Launch Event, held Friday, Oct. 19, at the Hillman Center for Performing Arts. Thanks to all who attended this wonderful celebration of Shady Side Academy! For those unable to attend the event, we've posted a number of videos and photos from the event on this web page. The strategic vision brochure, which outlines the full strategic plan, was mailed to the entire SSA community in late October and is available on this page as a PDF download as well. In addition, I will be sharing the Strategic Vision with many of our out-of-town alumni in person at receptions across the country this school year.
In the meantime, we’ve already begun the process of implementation planning by developing timelines and outlining priorities and resource needs for each of our six strategic goals. There is still much important work to be done, for we fully recognize that even the best strategic plan is meaningless if it simply sits on the shelf.
In closing, I would like to extend my deep gratitude to the many people whose commitment and thoughtfulness resulted in such a comprehensive, ambitious plan. Thanks to all of the members of the Strategic Planning Committee: Trustee and Co-Chair Steve Halpern; Board Chair Mary Jo Dively; Trustees Eben Adams, Liz Concordia and Jim Wolf; Board of Visitors Member John Duff; and SSA Director of Communications Jen Roupe. Thanks as well to all of the people who took the time to complete a survey, attend a focus group, serve on the Steering Committee and participate in the November retreat. Finally, thanks so much to Andy Mozenter and his team at Concentrics for skillfully shepherding us through such a comprehensive, engaging and rewarding process.
I look forward to sharing more with you as our strategic plan unfolds.