Since 1967, The Walden School has educated and inspired young people to become confident and engaged learners. Our Montessori based philosophy empowers our students to explore the world around them; confidently, joyfully, and responsibly. In the 52 years since our doors opened, we have grown from a handful of preschoolers in a single classroom to preschool through 8th grade in our own school building.
At this point in Walden’s history, it is important for us to look forward to the next 50 plus years of educating young minds. With that in mind, in the Spring of 2019, The Walden School embarked on a collaborative, comprehensive strategic planning process with the goal of creating a road map for the next three years. At the heart of this process was a Strategic Planning Committee comprised of teachers, administrators and parents. As the process evolved, input was also received from alumni and students. This critical look at Walden allowed us to rethink and reevaluate our future in exciting and different ways.
The end result of this process was a plan which focuses on three key areas of Walden: Middle School, Enrollment and Marketing, and Facilities. These separate, but very connected, areas or “planks” were felt to be crucial to Walden’s ability to thrive in the future. Three separate committees, one for each plank, were formed with a member of the Strategic Planning Committee as leader. Following are the Strategic Objectives and Action Plans for each of the three planks.
Walden is unique among Montessori schools in offering a program that continues through the Middle School years. While this structure may not be common, we believe it to be a strength of our program in that it provides our older students with unique leadership roles and provides our younger students with strong role models on a daily basis. Our focus in this Strategic Plan is a strengthening of our Middle School program by expanding the program offerings, both academically and socially.
The Walden School’s Middle School program will strive to maintain a healthy class size by enrolling and retaining students who embody the core values and traits of a Walden learner. The combination of our academically rigorous program and developmentally appropriate social events will produce graduates ready to matriculate to competitive local high schools and represent Walden well as an alumni.
Walden is committed to sustaining and strengthening our rigorous, individualized academic program through the Middle School years while staying true to our Montessori values. We will work to enrich the academic experience both in the classroom and outside with challenging and inspiring learning opportunities.
Walden will work to broaden the social offerings to our Middle School students. We recognize the important need for students to socialize, particularly at this age. We will explore new and creative ways for students to gather, have fun and build lasting friends that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Enrollment and Marketing
The marketplace in independent schools is a competitive one and the Philadelphia region is known to be one of the most challenging in the nation. With that in mind, Walden must strive to use every opportunity to reach the wider community. We must expand our market reach and penetration to ensure a strong applicant pool on which to build our enrollment.
The Walden School will strive to increase our enrollment by using targeted marketing and advertising to raise awareness of The Walden School and the unique Walden experience.
We will focus more of our efforts on the value of remaining at Walden. Using all of the tools available to us through social media, parent/teacher conferences and communications, as well as all other forms of contact between the school and parent/guardian, we will strive to ensure all families understand the value of remaining at Walden through the Middle School years.
Walden’s future depends on our ability to offer a warm, inviting and high-functioning space to learn. We need to offer spaces that facilitate learning while fostering creativity, flexibility, and which emphasize both indoor and outdoor learning. In order to achieve this goal, we must balance the maintenance of the infrastructure of our building with the needs of the classroom.
In summary, Walden’s building and outside facilities are an integral part of the Montessori and classroom experience. As part of the Facilities Plank of our Strategic Plan, we are committed to a goal of making our indoor and outdoor spaces a safe, interesting and stimulating environment that fosters purposeful play and a superior educational experience. At the same time, we must also make sure the infrastructure of our building is well-maintained, attractive and a safe place to welcome students each day.
As we focus on improvement of our facilities, we will look to provide classroom and outdoor space that meets the needs of our student body. For our outdoor facilities, we must have playground equipment that is safe, interesting and provides a range of activities for students. Our indoor classrooms must be multi-functional and allow us to provide a broad range of curriculum in our existing footprint. The use of modular, mobile teaching tools should be included as part of our plan.
Much has already been done to improve the overall physical condition of our building. However, wherever possible, we will continue to upgrade our plant and classrooms. We will focus our attention on areas of improvement in technology, classroom and common area appearance and functionality, as well as continuing to monitor the condition of our HVAC system and roof.
The Walden School, a preschool through eighth-grade independent school, promotes a high standard of academics in a peaceful and caring learning environment. Walden nurtures the whole child, ignites intellectual curiosity, and fosters independence in a culture of deep and abiding respect.