University School of Milwaukee
Strategic Plan

A Vision for Our Future.

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A vision for our future.

University School of Milwaukee is built on a rock-solid foundation, with nearly six decades of excellence in its current form and well over a century of history and tradition dating back to our predecessor schools. This tradition of excellence compels us to continuously look for ways to improve, and this new strategic plan sets a course for us to continue that work in the coming years. I am so thankful for the more than 1,000 members of our school community who provided feedback about their personal experiences that enabled us to begin to shape our plan.

This strategic plan, like the others that came before it, will make us a stronger school. Building on our traditions of excellence, we will strive to ensure that all of our graduates can be proud to be alumni of this great school; that every teacher, staff member, and administrator can feel confident their work is making a difference; that our school families feel part of a strong and welcoming community; and, most importantly, that every student can excel and thrive, and their USM experience will serve as the foundation of an education for a lifetime.

USM must always keep educational excellence at the forefront of all we do, and we expect that graduates of the school will exhibit a number of specific characteristics that are indicative of who they are as learners, leaders, and citizens. The expectations around these characteristics—our Portrait of a Graduate—will help us as we design and propel our curriculum to elevate our commitment to our students and their families throughout every grade level.

Develop a comprehensive Portrait of the USM Learner, Leader and Citizen.

Building off of the school’s Portrait of a Graduate statement, we will seek to better articulate the principles that guide pedagogy, curriculum, and learning design. These principles will define the essential elements of every learning experience at USM, including our longstanding commitment to knowing and valuing each child. This work will also help us to redefine the knowledge, competencies, and outcomes expected for all students.

Cultivate excellence in learning

With a focus on cultivating skills essential for success in both learning and life, we will bolster our definition of educational excellence and define exactly how USM prepares students for a lifetime of learning. We will also strengthen and diversify our assessment practices as we honor the range of learners we serve, supporting the emotional, physical, and intellectual well-being of students throughout their educational journeys.

Cultivate excellence in leadership

As we continue to design the student learning experience to promote and foster leadership skills, we will formalize and enhance leadership opportunities both in and out of the classrooms. We will seek to create new programming that promotes peer mentorship within and across academic divisions, and encourage and support student and faculty exploration, both locally and nationally, to test, learn, and build leadership competencies.

Cultivate excellence in citizenship

Broadening the contexts for real-world learning, community engagement, and service for all students will serve as a springboard to create new opportunities to promote service beyond our campus. We will look to infuse in our curriculum and extracurricular activities the values and behaviors that promote citizenship and community, and will expand the number of opportunities and spaces in which all community members can engage, demonstrate, and model our shared understanding of responsible citizenship.

USM’s values, culture, and community are essential ingredients to achieving our vision for educational excellence. Our survey results have indicated that the values of the school’s Common Trust resonate with our constituents throughout the USM community. Through this strategic plan we have an opportunity to clarify these values and leverage them in practice to bring our community together.

Define and clarify values to cultivate unity in our Common Trust

It is critically important that we develop a shared understanding of the core values of our Common Trust—respect, trust, honesty, fairness, and kindness—both in concept and in practice as we continue our work to align all school policies, pedagogy, and practices with these values. A new Board of Trustees Diversity and Inclusion committee will focus on strengthening and further defining our commitment to inclusion and belonging in service of our mission as we engage all members of our community in this work.

Engage and create meaningful relationships throughout our school community to fortify our culture.

We will deepen connections between students and their teachers that are at the heart of intellectual growth and the USM experience while continuing to cultivate a strong partnership between families and the school. Enhanced communication amongst faculty and with administrators, in USM’s one-school, three-division campus model, will help to foster a collaborative school culture, and graduates will regularly be invited to reconnect with their alma mater, providing for networking opportunities that offer personal growth to current students and alumni.

Create “The Center for the Common Trust” to cultivate learners, leaders, and citizens.

By providing visibility, focus, and accountability around our Common Trust values, USM will invest in strengthening our community and culture. Support for innovative research, including grant-based opportunities, will allow students and faculty to enhance learning and action, while events will promote our Common Trust throughout the USM community and beyond. Professional development, partnerships, and collaborations will also be oriented to enrich the learning and cultural experience at USM.

USM has enjoyed the benefits of prudent financial management and strong fiscal health for many years. Nonetheless, this strategic plan requires USM to look with fresh eyes at our financial resources and investments and ensure that they are put fully at the service of achieving our mission and definition of educational excellence.

Continue to make the USM educational investment affordable and accessible for our families.

While maintaining our strong enrollment, we will focus on student-teacher ratios to ensure we are delivering on our mission for all school families. We will continue to use our robust endowment to minimize tuition increases, support tuition assistance, and fund professional development, and will strategically manage operations to provide an exceptional education to all students while continuing our policy of carrying zero debt.

Design and implement practices that position USM to attract, develop, and retain exceptional faculty and staff.

Achieving our vision for educational excellence requires us to invest in our leadership, faculty, and staff as our most important resources. The development of a national recruitment strategy will allow us to identify and attract top talent, with a focus on recruiting a diverse faculty and staff that will enrich and broaden our students’ educational experiences. Professional development will be aligned with strategic and curricular goals, and competitive compensation and benefits packages will allow us to retain talented employees.

Explore the transformative ways facility development and campus design can provide environmental conditions for educational excellence.

As we continue our work to evolve the campus landscape plan to address immediate environmental needs and longer-range outdoor education opportunities, we will also develop the next capital campaign strategy to fund strategic physical and programmatic developments that support our mission. We plan to evaluate the existing Preschool, Lower School, and Middle School dining hall to create a new dining experience for these students, and will also explore the building of a fieldhouse for additional athletic facilities and promote the physical health of all community members.

Betsy Rosenblum

Learners, Leaders, and Citizens

Sue Bolly, Assistant Head of Upper School; John Bonnell, Trustee; Jackie Darr, Trustee; Julie Gilpin, Parent; Elaine Griffin, Head of Middle School; Amy Hand, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning; Sri Lazzaro, Trustee; Michael Tauscher, Head of Preschool and Lower School; Karin Werner, Board President

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Betsy Rosenblum

Sue Bolly, Assistant Head of Upper School; John Bonnell, Trustee; Jackie Darr, Trustee; Julie Gilpin, Parent; Elaine Griffin, Head of Middle School; Amy Hand, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning; Sri Lazzaro, Trustee; Michael Tauscher, Head of Preschool and Lower School; Karin Werner, Board President

Sumeeta Krishnaney ’92

Community, Culture, and the Common Trust

Lafayette Crump ’91, Trustee; Dr. Kevin Dahlman ’92, Trustee; Charlie Housiaux ’02, Dean of Students; Brigid Miller, Trustee; Melissa Perez, Parent; Rochelle Robinson, Parent; Patrick Tevlin, Chief Advancement Officer; Karin Werner, Board President; Susan Zarwell ’87, Director of College Guidance

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Sumeeta Krishnaney ’92

Lafayette Crump ’91, Trustee; Dr. Kevin Dahlman ’92, Trustee; Charlie Housiaux ’02, Dean of Students; Brigid Miller, Trustee; Melissa Perez, Parent; Rochelle Robinson, Parent; Patrick Tevlin, Chief Advancement Officer; Karin Werner, Board President; Susan Zarwell ’87, Director of College Guidance

Todd Schoon

Resources for the Future

Stuart Cushman, Director of Strategic Operations; Stephen Guy, Trustee; Angela Johnson, Parent; Kelly McGuire, Chief Financial Officer; Lettie Minor, Associate Director of Enrollment Management; Eric Peters, Head of Culture and Enrollment Management; Mike Pokel, Trustee; Greg Smith, Trustee; Karin Werner, Board President; Mike Williams ’70, Trustee

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Todd Schoon

Stuart Cushman, Director of Strategic Operations; Stephen Guy, Trustee; Angela Johnson, Parent; Kelly McGuire, Chief Financial Officer; Lettie Minor, Associate Director of Enrollment Management; Eric Peters, Head of Culture and Enrollment Management; Mike Pokel, Trustee; Greg Smith, Trustee; Karin Werner, Board President; Mike Williams ’70, Trustee

Lafayette Crump ’91

Diversity and Inclusion

Kathy-Ann Edwards, Trustee; Steve Hancock, Head of School; Dr. Gina Haughton, Interim Head of Upper School; Sri Lazzaro, Trustee, Tammi Martin, Trustee; Kara Nelson, Trustee; Betsy Rosenblum, Trustee; Karin Werner, Board President

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Lafayette Crump ’91

Kathy-Ann Edwards, Trustee; Steve Hancock, Head of School; Dr. Gina Haughton, Interim Head of Upper School; Sri Lazzaro, Trustee, Tammi Martin, Trustee; Kara Nelson, Trustee; Betsy Rosenblum, Trustee; Karin Werner, Board President

Thank You to Our 2021-22 Strategic Design Committee Members:
Jackie Darr (co-chair) | Todd Schoon (co-chair) | John Bonnell | Stephen Guy | Steve Hancock | Dr. Gina Haughton | Sumeeta Krishnaney ‘92 | Dr. Avis Leverett | Betsy Rosenblum | Chuck Taft | Laura Vande Hei | Karin Werner | Susan Zarwell ‘87