ast January, we began the process of envisioning a bold future for our Dear Old WT. We wanted a direction that would allow us to build even further on our tradition of excellence and success and one that would continue to support our Mission to engage each student in a challenging and inspiring learning process that develops the mind, motivates the passion to achieve, and cultivates the character to serve. No small task in our changing world!
At the outset, I recognized that while we have many different basic tenets that guide our daily work, including our Mission, Credo, and Equity and Inclusion Statement, we had not formally defined a Philosophy of Teaching and Learning. Without this in place, our strategic priorities would be unmoored. Working together with faculty, staff, and administration, we agreed that we would be guided by our commitments to: Learn Passionately, Foster Community, Embrace Diversity, Break Boundaries, and Create Change. This philosophy is our Mission in practice and guides the learning experience at WT.
Simultaneously, we gathered and analyzed input from literally hundreds of people—from alumnae/i, to trustees, to current parents, to students, to faculty, staff, and administrators—and a clear picture emerged for our path forward. We are pleased to present WT’s strategic vision for the future which establishes our priorities to: Reimagine Learning, Rethink Time and Space, Strengthen Community, and Support Employees. I hope you will spend some time reading more about WT’s future.
Why has WT chosen this direction for our work? The answer lies all around us. Many of the traditional school and career pathways that have existed for so long are becoming extinct. Even areas we once thought were “technology proof” are incorporating technology in ways one would never have thought possible. Robotic surgery, driverless vehicles, financial analysis and reporting, and so much more continue to evolve in ways that we could not have imagined 10 years ago. And how do we better understand the impact of these changes? One way is by speaking with our alumnae/i who have shared the qualities needed to be successful in work today.
The bottom line is that we are committed to developing individuals of strong character and preparing them for the demands of a changing world.
This fall, at Reunion 2019, I had yet another opportunity to listen and learn about WT’s storied history. It is always wonderful to hear the memories, and see the smiles, as relationships between lifelong friends are rekindled and strengthened. The women from the Class of 1969, celebrating their 50th reunion, answered questions from our fifth graders about their time as WT students, and for the first time, we gathered alums of color for a brunch and conversation led by WT’s Director of Equity and Inclusion, Diane Nichols. If you were not able to join us at Reunion this year, we share some of the special moments of the weekend with you.
We are so grateful for all of your support. So many of you continue to give back, year after year, and to partner with us as we transform the lives of our students through the WT experience. We know that we will not be able to accomplish our vision without your help. We are proud to recognize so many of you in the annual giving report and at winchesterthurston.org/thankyou.
On behalf of all of us at Winchester Thurston School, I wish you all good things in 2020. I look forward to our paths crossing at a Your City as Our Campus event or back home in Pittsburgh.