Strategic Planning FAQ
What is strategic planning and why should I care?
Merion Mercy Academy has a compelling story, and one that we need to tell in a way that will motivate individuals, partners, and key stakeholders to engage in our plan and its implementation. All institutions need to evolve and grow to stay relevant. Our plan is intended to take us from where we are now to where we want to be in a way that is meaningful and direct enough for community members to easily understand our direction, the role they play in it, and how they belong.
Operationally, a strategic plan is an organizational strategy and vision document. It provides a compass for achieving our key priorities over a period of time. Merion Mercy Academy’s strategic plan, to be implemented during a five-year period, from 2022 to 2027, will inform our priority-setting and decision-making around five core pillars, as shared in the plan. Embedded in the plan are also our newly defined mission, vision, and educational philosophy statements.
Why did Merion Mercy Academy choose Boundless Mercy, Infinite Possibilities as a title for the plan?
The title captures MMA’s belief that Mercy is limitless and enduring in its power to transform our girls, our community and our world for the better.
For this reason, Mercy is woven in authentic ways into every aspect of the new strategic plan. Through Mercy, we will activate our community’s sense of faith, purpose and belonging while developing smart, skilled, healthy and compassionate leaders who are uniquely prepared to take Mercy into an increasingly complex and interconnected world.
How were the strategic priorities selected?
Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, MMA conducted a process of strategic planning, ultimately leading to the development of the Boundless Mercy, Infinite Possibilities. strategic plan. All levels of the school community were involved in the comprehensive, months-long effort to define the future for MMA. The planning process, as designed, represents the first comprehensive initiative around the development of a school-wide strategic plan and was led by a multi-stakeholder Strategic Planning Steering Committee ((link roster)).
To develop the strategic plan’s five pillars, MMA formed several working groups, called Design Teams, that focused on vision and mission, data and priority setting. ((link roster))
Through this interactive and inclusive process, five clear areas of priority emerged as critical to ensuring MMA’s continued path of excellence, innovation, and continued vitality:
Academic Excellence and Transformative Learning: Build upon Merion Mercy Academy’s strong academic foundation to further expand our leading, innovative, and student-centered academic program.
Principled Leadership: Inspire and empower our students through transformative opportunities in women’s leadership and service in the Mercy tradition.
Dynamic Learning Environments: Enhance our campus facilities to accelerate collaboration, creativity, flexible thinking, and community engagement.
Institutional Resilience and Accessibility: Ensure our sustained vitality by attracting and retaining students, building a strong culture of philanthropy, and promoting Merion Mercy’s unique value.
Faith, Cultural Fluency, and Community: Promote a welcoming, culturally responsive, and spiritually fulfilling community, grounded in the Gospel and Mercy values.
Who led the strategic planning process?
MMA worked in partnership with Ian Symonds & Associates who served as lead consultants to help guide us through our first strategic planning process. The consultants worked closely with Board Chair, Bill O’Shea, and Head of School, Laura Farrell.
Why did MMA hire consultants?
MMA launched into strategic planning with a commitment to a process that would be both dynamic and transformative from all levels of the school community. MMA looked for a resource with deep expertise from within and outside the school to develop a contemporary and forward-looking planning process that would generate broad and deep community engagement.
What is the life cycle of the plan?
MMA’s plan has a five-year horizon. It will be a living document under constant review and revision. Each year we will publicize the plan’s progress and any revisions.
How will we know that the strategic plan is being translated into concrete action?
The Strategic Planning process and ultimately the Plan itself will invite, encourage, and expect participation and collaboration across our community. Everyone who works for MMA, supports the campus, or partners with us will own a piece of the Strategic Plan and the vision it sets forward for our community. It is up to each and every one of us to be highly engaged, constructive in feedback, and supportive of its implementation, assessment, and continual revision.
MMA will tie the work of the plan to a framework of performance indicators that will track our progress toward accomplishing our goals. We will create a mechanism that will be used for reporting progress back out to all stakeholders in the community.
What can I do to make the plan meaningful to me?
Stay engaged, get involved!
As you learn more about the pillars of our plan, think about how it relates to your area of responsibility. Consider how you can enhance, revise, and align your work to meet the plan. It will be important to keep in mind that work toward our goals and strategies will likely be what is given the highest priority when it comes to supporting and funding. We all need to move in one direction to achieve success.
What about my idea?
You may have offered feedback that didn’t make its way into the plan but what you may not see is that your input may have sparked other ideas, created focus in prioritization or forced tough decisions due to competing priorities or budgetary constraints.
This is inevitable in any collaborative and participatory planning process and the ideas that didn’t make their way to the finish line were critically important to inform the end result. We ask you to support those tasked with making both exciting and difficult decisions and know that we are at our best when moving forward together.