Keeping the Mission and Vision Current

Not long ago it was possible to create five-year strategic plans and feel confident they would guide the organization through the ups and downs of organizational life. Today with the fast pace of change in technology, teaching methods, parent desires, competition and of course donors, we find ourselves constantly looking to adapt our plans without straying too far from our original path.

Even with this constant state of input overload, the paraphrase from Alice in Wonderland “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” still applies. We need to set five- and even ten-year plans so we know where we want to end up. However, we must be constantly working to adjust the tactics and where necessary to avoid rocks and shoals while taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

The RAVSAK Board has created a committee specifically for this purpose, to review our vision and mission and make recommendations to ensure the road we are on is leading to the destination we desire. Our chair, Rebekah Farber, asked the committee to focus on big-picture issues such as, What does RAVSAK want to look like in 10 years? What are the ahead-of-the-curve educational issues we should be addressing? and, How can a network of schools really affect change? Rebekah chose to form a Mission & Vision Committee in order to ensure that this ongoing review and evaluation becomes standard board practice. The committee will create a framework for the board to use in making decisions around our strategic mission in a clear and concise way.

The board, guided by the Mission and Vision Committee, will evaluate our four strategic priorities to ensure they have remained relevant and appropriate: weaving school professionals and lay leaders with their peers in networks to enhance their learning while building the leadership pipeline; representing community day schools interests nationally and equip school leaders to be advocates for their school locally; educating community day school professionals and lay leaders in ways that promote Jewish leadership and literacy; providing a focused portfolio of direct programs for students that enrich their Jewish literacy and leadership. Are our actions affirming these priorities? Do they still drive our initiatives and create the impact that our long term goals require? Can we gather up the required resources to accomplish these plans? When we dream big, do these priorities still fit in those dreams?

Our plans must address the long term goals that revolve around serving our members with the tools and support they need for success while recruiting enthusiasm and philanthropic interest in the field of Jewish day school education. These generative discussions will inform our marketing, development and programming efforts leading to, we hope, a great future of fieldwide, progressive thought leadership.

For boards of any size to be dynamic and responsive, they must revisit their plans on a regular basis, for several reasons. Certainly the fast moving pace of change is one, but just as important, periodic discussions keep the team of professionals and lay leaders engaged in the organization, energetic about the mission, and working together on the shared promise that Jewish community day school promotes: teaching the next generation of Jewish learners and leaders the knowledge, practice and critical thinking skills so they understand the world is larger than any one person and it is incumbent on them to do their part in the repair of the world.

Matt Heilicher
Mission & Vision
Published: Fall 2014