A year ago, the Touchstone Board of Trustees formed an ad-hoc Strategic Planning Committee and charged the team to create a 6-year plan for the school. The committee met with prime Touchstone stakeholders—parents, faculty and staff, students, alumni and alumni parents. Across all these extensive interviews the committee heard ideas for change, and hopeful visions for the future, and one very consistent exhortation—“don’t change the special sauce” that is Touchstone. That special sauce is no secret.At Touchstone, children are given the opportunity to be investigators, explorers, writers, mathematicians, questioners, actors, creators, and caretakers of the earth and of each other. At Touchstone, children experience transformative learning that is challenging and joyful. There is now a Board approved comprehensive 6-year plan, which honors our special sauce and drives forward major areas for growth and achievement — from teacher salaries to enrollment to diversity to facilities. In addition to the strategic plan, another aspect of the committee’s work was to review the school’s mission statement and make it clearer and more concise. Here is our newly revised mission statement:
The Touchstone Community School Mission
To cultivate a joy
of lifelong learning
intellectual, social & emotional growth.
Yes, the education we provide may look different, and sometimes may be hard to describe, but our mission speaks loudly as does the Portrait of a Graduate and our School Values.
Here is where I want to share a short anecdote. A few weeks ago I gave a tour to some parents who struggled with how different we appear. No grades? No standardized tests? Still, thanks to some very strong and positive word of mouth from present parents and an impressive tour of the classrooms, they took a leap and applied. Their daughter came for a visit and I spoke with the mother a few days later to check in. Here is, and I am paraphrasing, what the mother related:
Our daughter visited another school and she came home happy enough and said she could go to that other school. Then she visited Touchstone, and she came home glowing. She said she only wanted to go to Touchstone. I asked her what the difference was.
Mom, if the two schools were colors, the other school would be gray and Touchstone would be rainbows.
Come visit and experience our special sauce!