In September 2019, the Mount Paran Christian School community embarked upon a comprehensive, community-wide strategic planning process meant to engage all stakeholders, solicit feedback, ask bold questions, and create a plan to guide all decisions and goals in the ensuing five years.
The board of trustees, head of school, faculty, staff, parents, students, and alumni examined and then affirmed or adjusted the mission, vision, and core values of MPCS to ensure all new strategic initiatives met missional specifications. The result is “Elevate: The 2021-2026 Strategic Plan for MPCS.”
WHERE WE STAND
MPCS is a covenantal Christian school with an enrollment of approximately 1200 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The school is focused on four core values:
- Christ-Centered: MPCS embodies a nurturing culture where biblical worldview and deep faith are developed in the hearts and minds of students to impact the world for Christ.
- Learning Focused: MPCS enables students to explore deeply, think critically, experience authentically, problem-solve confidently, and retain meaningful learning.
- Pursuers of Excellence: MPCS rigorously seeks the highest standards for exemplary education with quality opportunities for learning, well-balanced student development, and a complete experience for families.
- Community Oriented: MPCS nurtures community through relationship, service to others, and family connection.
Mission: Providing academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment, Mount Paran Christian School unites with home and church to prepare servant-leaders to honor God, love others, and walk in Truth.
Vision: Mount Paran Christian School aspires to be a national school leader by providing an innovative education to a diverse community of learners within a liberal arts framework, all for the Glory of God.
ELEVATE THE PEOPLE
Strategic Initiative 1: MPCS will examine all areas of school culture, building upon Christian Life, Diversity and Inclusion, student culture, family atmosphere, and the alumni base, improving upon the warm, inviting culture already present.
1.1: Create a culture of courageous generosity and abundant gratitude. We will refine community-wide efforts around generosity and gratitude and examine models within other non-profit institutions.
1.2: Refine the parent education program to further enable MPCS parents to understand the school mission as believers, parents, and members of the school community. Examine other school models and incrementally implement parent programming that is in line with the school mission.
1.3: Continually improve diversity and inclusion at MPCS. In May 2020, MPCS graduated its 33rd senior class. The male to female ratio of students is 47:53 percent. Our families represent nearly 165 different churches. Nearly 25 percent of students and 15 percent of faculty represent people of color.
We aim to increase the number of students from diverse races, ethnicities, learning styles, and socioeconomic groups at MPCS. We will ensure the board of trustees represents the MPCS community, provide necessary time and resources to the director of diversity and inclusion and the CommUNITY Task Force, and develop a strategic diversity and inclusion plan. Further, we will evaluate the hiring, training, school programs, policies, and practices for diversity and inclusion.
1.4 Transform current service opportunities into a community-wide philosophy and expectation of servant-leadership. Service is considered a part of who we are at MPCS, not something we simply do, from annual Family Serve Day to monthly service opportunities to daily living. As we continue to focus on servant-leadership, this aspect of community continues to grow, such as the new Ignite Program partnership with World Vision.
We will further develop an internal philosophy of Christ-like servant-leadership that will be infused within the culture of the institution. We will conduct an audit of all current service and leadership programs, as well as work with curricular and co-curricular leaders to build servant-leadership within their programs. We will further develop opportunities for students to lead, serve, and grow in their knowledge and implementation of generosity and gratitude.
1.5: Expand current alumni programming, growing the network of alumni offerings and providing opportunities for greater alumni engagement in the life of MPCS. We will identify resources necessary to grow alumni programming and further connect alumni to the life of the school.
1.6: Attract, develop, and retain quality Christian employees and contractors. MPCS has a highly qualified faculty and staff, with an average of 13 years’ experience. Approximately 66 percent of full-time faculty hold an advanced degree. Best of all, our faculty love this school, with MPCS having been selected as one of Atlanta’s "Best Places to Work," according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Moving forward, we will evaluate/develop a new tool to measure performance employee standards, define and implement new compensation models, implement performance management standards and programming, and benchmark and adapt employee benefits to ensure market competitiveness.
ELEVATE THE PROGRAM
During 2021-2026, MPCS will create an academic program that is cutting-edge, innovative, and collaborative, while grounded in the liberal arts. We will seek to impact our community by providing the best in the arts, the humanities, science, and mathematics. Likewise, our co-curricular programming will reflect excellence in all areas, coached, directed, and taught from a distinctly biblical worldview.
Strategic Initiative 2: MPCS will examine all academic, artistic, and athletic programs, refining programming to further align with a comprehensive, innovative, liberal arts approach to learning and life. A focus will be placed upon servant-leadership, academic enrichment, and co-curricular excellence.
2.1: Expand the school’s instructional support model to increasingly reach a more diverse group of exceptional needs learners. Academic programming at MPCS meets the needs of a wide variety of learners, through 56 honors/AP high school courses, advanced math and language arts middle school programs, and the Encore program for gifted learners in the lower school. Likewise, the Directed Studies program in all three divisions offers non-traditional learners’ opportunity to meet their true potential as they reach for and meet their academic goals. Moving forward, we will identify exceptional learning needs to be served through the current Directed Studies and gifted learning programs. We will identify learning goals and supportive program models, as well as explore increased resource needs (i.e. faculty, administration, facilities, funding).
2.2: Examine and update existing curricular review models and examine all aspects of existing curriculum.
Ensure all curricular development is done through the lens of a biblical worldview. The Associate Head of School for Christian Life, division heads, Dean of Academics,, department chairs, and team leaders will oversee further development of multiple approaches to train students in a biblical worldview.
Strategic Initiative 3: MPCS will refine opportunities for professional growth and development, enabling faculty and staff to better nurture students, develop their craft, learn together, and collaborate in new and meaningful ways, all through the lens of a Christian worldview.
3.1: Hire and train co-curricular leaders who will lead from a biblical worldview and prepare servant-leaders for the competitive arena and every facet of life. In practice, this means we will create a new hiring system that seeks the most highly-qualified Christian servant-leaders from throughout the United States for all co-curricular leadership positions, implement a professional development program to train all co-curricular leaders, and evaluate in writing all co-curricular leaders annually.
3.2: Develop an evaluation system through which all existing academic, arts, and athletic programming will be assessed and improved. We will identify and address gaps in programming and opportunities for development, ensure ongoing assessment is consistent and equitable within each area of programming. We will also determine with regularity which programs of the school are no longer consistent with the ongoing mission and vision of the school and develop an ongoing assessment management system to examine all programs against the mission.
3.3: Evaluate and refine school-wide assessment and reporting practices. We will clarify and reaffirm the critical feedback attributes of the MPCS philosophy of assessment and reporting. We will also identify, relative to the school’s guiding philosophy, deficiencies that exist with current assessment and reporting practices. We will develop professional learning experiences for faculty that lead to the remediation of identified deficiencies and ensure that students and parents possess a clear understanding of how MPCS supports learning through the school’s assessment and grading practices.
3.4: Research alternative models of learning and implement appropriate new model(s). To achieve this goal, we will visit schools with multiple or varying models of learning and determine and implement models that are mission-appropriate.
3.5: Examine and refine technology implementation throughout campus. We aim to ensure all technology is implemented in a scalable manner, as well as adequately train and assess all staff annually. We will track and assess the quality of all customer technology experiences, redesign technical support functions to improve and sustain ongoing quality, and assess current technology through the implementation of an IT audit.
ELEVATE THE PLACE
Strategic Initiative 4: MPCS will develop, prioritize, and optimize capacity in Advancement and Administrative Services.
4.1: Identify enrollment capacity and develop a five-year enrollment growth plan and timeline. MPCS has maintained consistent enrollment over the past five years. We seek to grow enrollment to 1,260 by 2023-2024 and reduce student attrition. We will continue to distinguish ourselves within the local community, ensure all students are known and loved, and continue to build programs that attract and retain families. We will examine business models related to enrollment and growth to determine financial capacity and research other school models for admission forecasting.
4.2: Create and implement a long-term endowment plan, with 5, 10, and 20-year strategies.
4.3: Create and implement a planned-giving program.
4.4: Create and implement a long-term auxiliary income plan for all non-school-day academic, artistic, and athletic programming. Refine after-school and summer academic programs to generate ancillary revenue and provide excellent academic options for motivated students, students who desire enrichment, and students who require remediation.
4.5: Create and implement a business continuity plan and examine long-term financial sustainability. Examine and establish new strategies around tuition, financial aid, endowment, debt strategy, and development.
4.6: Create a leadership training program to further develop employees who seek to lead and impact MPCS and Christian schools around the nation and world.
Strategic Initiative 5: MPCS will continue its growth and expansion as an institution.
5.1: Create and implement a comprehensive sustainability plan and an upgrade/replacement schedule for all physical and technological assets.
5.2: Create a new Campus Master Plan, guided by the Christian Life, academic, artistic, and athletic visions of the future. In the fall of 2003, MPCS began a new chapter, moving onto our current Kennesaw campus. The school is positioned well for future development, impact, and reach. The campus provides 68 acres of property with woods, a lake, and multiple outdoor learning spaces. The multi-phase Imagine Tomorrow Capital Campaign enabled the school to add the Murray Arts Center, the 3,000 seat Catherine Steele Sewell Stadium, and the new Murray Innovation Center — 25,000 square feet of state-of-the art instructional space added to the high school via sky-way.
Looking ahead, we will create vision statements for academics, arts, and athletic programs. We will create a physical plant/facilities audit and implement a long-term strategy for optimal space utilization. We will also examine opportunities for growth through the acquisition of new properties in Kennesaw and Marietta and design a campus master plan to ensure the long-term vision is developed and historical traditions are maintained.
Click here to read "Elevate MPCS: 2021-2026 Strategic Plan."
Timothy Wiens, Ed.D, serves as the Head of School at Mount Paran Christian School. Dr. Wiens earned his B.A. and M.Ed. from Bethel University and doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. He also has completed his MBA from the University of Oxford.