Strategic Plan Implementation Group

With the Board’s adoption of Redefining Excellence and its subsequent presentation to the Hackley community, a plan implementation group was formed to serve as a leadership committee to bring elements of the plan to life in a timely, thorough, and thoughtful manner. The group, consisting of faculty and administrators across divisions and departments, is charged with "executing Redefining Excellence with boldness, transparency, and always with a focus on the student learning experience,” and its membership will evolve over time as the group takes on different aspects of the plan.

The present members of the group, who have begun work on the initiatives described below, include Steve Bileca, Andy King, Cyndy Jean, Anne Burns, Erich Tusch, Bettie-Ann Candelora, Greg Cice, Emily Washington, Wil Lobko, David Sykes, Keshena Richardson, Peter McAndrew, and Teresa Weber. The group, chaired by Michael Wirtz, meets monthly to check in on progress and ensure coordination and communication across this work. Peter Sawkins is also a member of this group, supporting Mike through logistical and tactical work with different initiative leaders. Collectively, the group looks to update the community on progress on a regular basis, using this newsletter, as well as other communication methods.

Identification of Core Competencies

On Monday, November 12, Hackley held its second all-faculty Professional Development Day of the year. The theme was Competencies: Bringing the Portrait of a Graduate to Life.

The goal for the day was to begin a conversation about the school-wide competencies and skills we collectively believe will ensure that our Portrait of a Graduate comes to life in concrete and measurable ways for Hackley’s students. Competencies are sets of specific skills such as “written, spoken and creative expression” or “quantitative and computational literacy” that can be practiced, assessed, and transferred across divisions and disciplines. In competency-based education models, students begin acquiring the skills that comprise competencies at the earliest ages, continually refine them as they advance in the curriculum, reflect on discipline-specific as well as cross-disciplinary dimensions of the competencies, and aim towards full mastery as they move closer to graduation.

On November 12, faculty and administrators spent time with their colleagues in two configurations. In the morning, Sanje Ratnavale, President of OESIS, presented and also led an interactive learning experience in mixed grade level groups. In the afternoon, colleagues joined their Department Chair for discussions about departmental competencies, while Lower School Lead and Assistant Teachers joined Anne Burns for the same. Hackley is well on its way toward developing a set of school-wide competencies that will enable the Portrait of a Graduate to come to life in concrete and measurable ways for Hackley’s students.

Elevating the Creative Arts

Elevating the creative arts at Hackley has been a broad-based objective for the school for some time. As we launch Redefining Excellence, work is happening on specific programmatic and structural approaches designed to do just that.

 Several ideas are under consideration including a Creative Artist-in-Residence program that would bring new dimension and depth to the overall arts program at Hackley, a multi-year student-driven project to create a permanent outdoor sculpture installation, and ways in which to build interdisciplinary curriculum that blends arts more prominently into existing and new course ideas. Greg Cice, Bettie-Ann Candelora, and Erich Tusch have started discussions across all areas of the creative arts and will soon embark on research into various models at other schools, as well as convene working groups to flesh out ideas.

2019 Hudson Scholars Program

The highly successful Hudson Scholar program is deep into planning for its fourth summer session in 2019. Hudson Scholars is a community outreach and service program that serves low-income students in the local community, specifically from Washington Irving School and Sleepy Hollow Middle School.

Program director and history teacher David Sykes is working with Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs Steve Bileca to shape the scope and depth of the 2019 program. David is also working on a long-term vision for both the breadth of program and a model for sustainability.

Hudson Scholars fits well into the strategic plan objective of "Promoting the Hilltop as a Learning Hub" and positioning Hackley as an educational leader while also supporting the school’s mission statement by providing experiences for students to learn from the varying perspectives and backgrounds in our community and the world.

Waits May