Dear MICDS Community:
As members of the MICDS Board of Trustees, it is truly an honor to serve our great School. We are inspired by the opportunity to advance the tradition of educational innovation and excellence that has earned MICDS the reputation as a leading independent school in the country. Now that school is in full swing, we write to share the Board’s priorities for the 2018-19 academic year.
This will be an exciting year for our School community! We will appoint our next Head of School. We will celebrate Lisa Lyle’s outstanding accomplishments and service to our School, and we will welcome a new Head of School on July 1, 2019. We will celebrate the completion of the $100 million Bold Action Campaign – one of the largest and most successful capital campaigns in independent day school history and one that has enhanced the student experience with academic and athletic facilities that are unmatched.
We are very pleased to report that MICDS is performing at the highest levels across the key measures used to evaluate independent schools:
- Our endowment is at an all-time high of $119 million.
- College placement outcomes are excellent. Nearly half of the students in the classes of 2017 and 2018 are attending schools ranked “Most Competitive” by Barrons. This list includes Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, MIT, USC, Bowdoin, Swarthmore, Brown, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Washington University and more.
- Standardized test scores have improved.
- The number of students taking AP tests has increased 29 percent over the past five years, and the number of AP tests taken has increased by 29 percent. In 2018, 84% of students who took an AP exam scored a three or higher.
- Admissions are strong. MICDS is attracting and enrolling highly competitive students.
- Our student body is a thriving, multicultural community.
- Over the past 10 years, we’ve taken home 29 state championships in 10 different sports and made 73 final four appearances in 17 sports.
- Students are being recognized nationally and locally for achievements in community service, STEM research, robotics, athletics and visual and performing arts.
The extraordinary achievements of our students and our School are, in large part, due to the commitment and dedication of our exceptional teachers and administrators. The Board is deeply grateful for their tireless devotion to our students and community.
The focus of the Board is long range and strategic. The MICDS Mission is our North Star, and the Strategic Plan is our roadmap. We keep these documents at the forefront of our work, deliberations and decisions. We use them to guide us and stay focused on safeguarding MICDS’ performance, financial condition and reputation.
In addition, the Board of Trustees will focus on the following priorities this year:
Head of School Transition – Appointing an excellent Head of School is the Board’s first and foremost responsibility. The Board is partnering closely with the Head of School Search Committee to select and recruit an exceptional Head to lead us to continued success in the coming years.
As we prepare for our new Head’s arrival, the Board is laser-focused on leading a smooth, thoughtful and well-planned transition. This fall, we will form a Transition Committee to help welcome, onboard and support our new Head of School.
Strategic Plan Implementation – Working with the administrative team and through Board Committees, we will review and monitor the progress and implementation of Strategic Plan priorities. The Board will employ data and key metrics to evaluate curricular and co-curricular programming and teaching to ensure they are superior and in line with the Strategic Plan.
Good Governance Practices – The Head of School transition provides an ideal opportunity to advance best practices in independent school governance. At our first Board of Trustees meeting in September, Claudia Daggett, President of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), MICDS’ accrediting agency, led the Board through an interactive governance workshop. Later this fall, Donna Orem, President of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), will visit MICDS to lead a Board retreat on governance.
Also this year, in an effort to share more about the work we do for the School, we recently updated the Board of Trustees page on the MICDS website with information about the Board’s roles and responsibilities, composition, nomination and selection process, succession planning and other information.
Collaboration and Inclusion – MICDS is a thriving, multicultural community. Despite our different backgrounds and viewpoints, we come together with a shared commitment to our Mission and the enduring principles and core values that have long defined our School: character, leadership, virtue, honor, compassion, critical thinking, standing for what is good and right and leading lives of purpose and service.
Working with the administrative team, the Board will continue to advance and assess efforts to build an inclusive and welcoming community where every student, family and faculty member feels known, connected and valued. The Board is also focused on ensuring that MICDS graduates compassionate, culturally competent, critical thinkers and problem solvers and that MICDS teaches students how to think, not what to think.
ISACS Accreditation Preparation – This year, the Board will begin preparing for the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) accreditation process. We will review and affirm MICDS’ Mission, review School bylaws and conduct community surveys in advance of next year’s comprehensive self study which examines all major programs and aspects of the School.
Also of note, over the summer, the Board of Trustees conducted an independent review of MICDS’ policies and procedures involving sexual misconduct, including its employee screening practices. We are pleased to share that our School had and continues to have best practices in place. We nonetheless reiterate our commitment to ensuring that MICDS maintains the safest policies, procedures and practices going forward.
Finally, please save the date for a special community celebration on May 11, 2019 at Grant’s Farm. We will thank our many generous donors to the Bold Action campaign, and we will honor and celebrate Lisa for her extraordinary leadership and devotion to our School.
Thank you for your support and commitment to MICDS.
Michelle Cohen ’88, Board Chair
Kent Rapp ’76, First Vice Chair
Andy Cowen, Second Vice Chair and Treasurer
Marie Brauer ’64, Secretary
Frank Childress ’79
Andy Condie ’82
Kevin Coombs ’05
Jeff Giles ’94
Joe Gira ’89
Janet Horlacher ’76
Bob Koplar ’98
McKay Baur Mills ’92
Bill Wallace ’78