In the spring of 2013, Exploris Board members, teachers, parents, and the school’s Director engaged in a multi-month process to refine the school’s mission, vision, and values and to identify strengths and critical challenges. The result was a 5-year Strategic Plan for the school with multiple goals and specific steps
EXPLORIS STRATEGIC PLAN 2013-2018
Exploris is a learning community that engages students in a rigorous, relevant, relationship-based education. This is done through experiential, project-based learning that empowers students to build a connected, just and sustainable world.
Exploris will be a catalyst for solving present and future problems across the street and around the world.
Exploris is a school founded on the principles of Global Education. According to David Selby and Graham Pike, international leaders in this approach, Global education is based upon “the interconnectedness of communities, lands, and peoples, the interrelatedness of all social, cultural and natural phenomena, links between past, present and future, and the complementary nature of the cognitive, affective, physical and spiritual dimensions of the human being. It addresses issues of development, equity, peace, social and environmental justice, and environmental sustainability. It encompasses the personal, the local, the national and the planetary. Along with these principles, its approach to teaching and learning is experiential, interactive, children-centred, democratic, convivial, participatory, and change-oriented.”
Exploris’s articulation of its core values ground the school in this global approach.
Those values are:
True knowledge does not occur without curiosity. Students are empowered to ask questions about the world around them and to explore possible answers.
In an ever-changing world of new ideas, the importance of reflecting on one’s own thinking and the thinking of others cannot be underestimated. Exploris values the creation of time to slow down, to reflect, and to build connections.
Producing an exemplary product is challenging. It takes attention to detail, grit, perseverance, revision, and tenacity. It takes a growth mindset and a dedication to competing with one’s own personal best.
People learn best when they are exposed to meaningful, complex issues that are applicable to their own lives. Teachers engage students in current, relevant issues by solving authentic problems that are being addressed beyond the four walls of the school building. Student work is tangibly connected not only to the local community, but also to other regions of the world and to past and future events.
Learning is a democratic process that is enhanced through the sharing of different perspectives and life experiences. Collaboration results in a tapestry of learners who know they can depend on each other and work together in almost any situation. With collaboration, the end product is deeper, and Exploris students experience a collective sense of accomplishment and ownership.
A nurturing school environment is one where students are encouraged to build and maintain positive relationships with their teachers, parents, peers, and community. With a keen understanding of the unique development of the age group that they teach, teachers are intentional about the structures and relationship-building activities that they design.
- CONNECTIONS TO NATURE
When students witness the power and elements of the natural world through adventure and stewardship, they begin to view themselves as just one species within a larger system.
- SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT
Students realize that they have the power to change how their world works. They know how to navigate public systems, lobby public officials, and present their research and opinions as responsible citizens.
In a constantly changing world, the ability to approach challenges in a new way is vital. Exploris teachers and students design projects that encourage divergent thinking, creativity, ideation, and risk-taking.
To be fully human, students must be healthy in mind, in body, and in spirit. Emphasis on students’ physical and emotional health prepare them for the mental challenges necessary in achieving total success in school.
5-YEAR STRATEGIC VISSION
Exploris Middle School will be transformed into a leading K-8 charter school in the Triangle Area with facilities located on a spacious, modern campus in downtown Raleigh, serving a population of approximately 500-600 students. Exploris students will benefit from a global education methodology aligned to national curriculum standards and instructional best practices. The Exploris instructional approach will be supported by an extensive information technology platform, allowing Exploris students to broaden their connectivity to the world.
GOALS TO ADDRESS CRITICAL ISSUES
Based on a SWOT exercise, the Strategic Planning Committee identified six critical issues that must be addressed in order to achieve the 5-year vision. What follows are the strategic goals that overcome each of the six issues:
STRATEGIC GOAL 1: ENROLLMENT
Exploris will increase student access by expanding enrollment to a K-8 population of approximately 500-600 students.
- Strategy 1.1: Develop a sustainable Enrollment Plan for Exploris as a K-8
- Strategy 1.2: Commit to a demographic that reflects the local community
- Strategy 1.3: Gain Office of Charter School approval for a K-8
- Strategy 1.4: Recruit and assign committees to develop and carry out action steps for Strategic Plan Goals 2-6
STRATEGIC GOAL 2: FINANCE
Exploris will develop adequate financial resources to ensure its long-term financial sustainability.
- Strategy 2.1: Develop a sustainable budget for daily operating costs as a K-8
- Strategy 2.2: Develop a fund development plan, based on requirements from the facilities and infrastructure deliverables for transition to K-8
STRATEGIC GOAL 3: FACILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Exploris will acquire a facility that supports its educational program and is financially sustainable, while enabling the long-range strategic vision.
- Strategy 3.1: Articulate a set of facility and technology requirements to accommodate enrollment expansion, curriculum needs, and core values
- Strategy 3.2: Identify and acquire new space based on cost-benefit analysis
- Strategy 3.3: Develop a facility and technology migration plan
STRATEGIC GOAL 4: STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
Exploris will provide students with demonstrable skills and knowledge designed to equip them for solving problems across the street and around the world.
- Strategy 4.1: Create a curriculum map, with scope and sequence, for grades K-8
- Strategy 4.2: Articulate essential skills and social competencies that embody success at Exploris
- Strategy 4.3: Implement an assessment model for measuring outcomes related to the Exploris mission
- Strategy 4.4: Strengthen programming to maximize resources while ensuring a free and appropriate education for ALL students
STRATEGIC GOAL 5: SCHOOL LEADERSHIP and HUMAN
Exploris will attract, develop and retain cutting edge school leadership, instruction and ancillary supports to meet the needs of an expanding student population.
- Strategy 5.1: Develop a human resource needs assessment to identify current position requirements and identify staffing gaps for future hiring decisions
- Strategy 5.2: Create a recruitment plan for filling new vacancies, including recruitment incentives, online application databases, and early employment contracts in order to attract the best and brightest while retaining a cutting edge staff
- Strategy 5.3: Initiate a professional development plan, focused on continuous learning and improvement for returning staff and an orientation and training program for new personnel
- Strategy 5.4: Develop a mentorship program for grooming new internal leaders
STRATEGIC GOAL 6: BRANDING, MARKETING and ADVOCACY
Exploris will establish itself as an educational leader in NC – widely recognized for its educational excellence, student success, leadership, and public advocacy
- Strategy 6.1: Develop the Exploris brand as a center for educational innovation and achievement
- Strategy 6.2: Develop a marketing and communication plan to address both internal as well as external communications
- Strategy 6.3: Extend Exploris’s network of public and private partnerships regionally, nationally, and internationally