During Fall 2016 it became apparent to the Des Moines Christian leadership that the time had arrived to develop and compose a Strategic Plan as a guide and a framework during the pivotal time of growth in which we find ourselves. Much careful thought and fervent prayer has gone into the composition and design of the Des Moines Christian Strategic Plan. We believe that it reflects who we are as a school community, what we desire to be, and our commitment to our mission: to equip minds and nurture hearts to impact the world for Christ. The plan and resulting priorities—as outlined in the 3 categories below—are the result of listening to the voices of our parents, faculty, students, and staff, in addition to much prayer and discernment. We have also sought the advice and counsel of school management experts to help us navigate the many options and opportunities available to our school. As a Christian community intent upon following the Lord purposefully and intentionally, our endeavor is to honor Him and tend the mission which He has appointed to us through the faithful stewardship of the school’s resources, facilities, people, and culture. It is our responsibility and our privilege to ensure that the mission of Des Moines Christian thrives today and in the future.
Studies have demonstrated that people are the second most significant factor impacting school stability. It is our people who create community, and faithful community is what makes Des Moines Christian special.
As we strive to continue providing academic excellence and to foster the relationships that characterize Des Moines Christian, we are committed to investing in the people that fill our school. The Strategic Plan identifies four primary avenues that require our focused efforts of improvement while also promising a long-term return on investment.
At Des Moines Christian we have heard again and again that the faculty and staff are the biggest reasons why families choose to send their students to our school; and, it’s the same reason that families stay year after year. Alumni regularly report the impact that faculty have had on their lives, noting how many of them remain in contact with their teachers and mentors well after graduation.
In order to retain and attract the talented faculty and staff that Des Moines Christian families have come to love and expect, we must improve our compensation packages. In the last decade, we have fallen further behind the current market comparison for compensation.
Over the next few years Des Moines Christian has committed to enhancing compensation for our dedicated employees to remain current and competitive. Our goal is to reach at least 85% market value over the coming years with a vision of reaching 90% in the next phase of strategic planning.
Our staff could work anywhere, but they want to be here. We are committed to investing in them, which directly impacts our students, families, and the effectiveness of our mission.
Investment in our faculty means not only an increase to a more competitive compensation scale but also an increase in professional development funding and accessibility. The more we are able to provide our faculty and staff with growth opportunities, the better they are equipped to serve and nurture our students.
Des Moines Christian has committed to equip employees with the tools they need to achieve excellence in the classroom and pursue their professional goals. The Strategic Plan will help us to realize our objective of dedicating 2% of our operating budget towards professional development. Investing in our faculty by facilitating access to professional learning opportunities and encouraging collaboration with top Christian schools across the country will continue to cultivate the community and culture of Des Moines Christian as a leader in education from a biblical worldview.
In order to provide a well-maintained and clean learning environment for our students, families, and employees, Des Moines Christian must further improve our investment in the building operations team and budget. Our school is growing, both in enrollment and in facilities. It is vital that we take the measures to keep up with the many needs that our growing campus and community generates.
Des Moines Christian is committed to making an excellent Christian education available to any in our community who seek it. We believe it is also our biblical privilege to pursue a community that reflects the diversity of the body of Christ, not excluding members of the community due to their socio-economic situation. Not only will this extend the accessibility of a Des Moines Christian education, but it will also enrich the community and relationships within our school and so enable us to better fulfill our guiding mission. In accordance with this vision, we have pledged an increase of more than 50% to tuition assistance offerings over the next 5 years.
Our commitment to improving our tuition assistance program will allow us to not only assist new families as they enroll their students, but also to provide help for current, qualifying families experiencing tuition hardship. The program will allow us to protect the middle class and extend financial aid so that it reaches farther.
|Accelerate Academic Excellence
|Des Moines Christian has already made significant strides in promoting the improvement and growth of our academic programs and offerings. With the completion of two STEAM Labs in the east-end addition we created a one-year STEAM position to begin the initiative on a firm footing. Already we have seen our students thrive in the new space and take advantage of the unique opportunities now available.
The work, however, is not done. As we move forward we must continue to seek innovation and improvement so that we may best equip our students to impact the world for Christ. Through the formulation of a Strategic Academic Plan and the growth of our STEAM initiative, the Strategic Plan places a priority upon the advancement of Des Moines Christian academics to better educate and encourage the minds and hearts of our students.
Strategic Academic Plan
The Strategic Academic Plan will serve as a guide over the next five years of academic improvement and acceleration. As we are conscious of the ever-changing landscape of education and the diverse needs and interests of our students, the Strategic Academic Plan allows us to identify the areas that require improvement and investment so we may concentrate our efforts to be most efficient and effective. We endeavor to propel growth across the board in the humanities, arts, sciences, and foreign language programs. While we will seek to hone our curriculum and expand program offerings, the plan will also address the professional development, assessment, and staffing needs that accompany our progress.
Yet the plan reaches further than pursuing academic success on behalf of our students. The Des Moines Christian vision is to encourage not only academic achievement but spiritual growth as well. Our desire is that the Strategic Academic Plan will enable us to shape students who are servant-hearted leaders, critical thinkers, effective communicators, accomplished learners, and passionate apprentices of Christ.
Although we have seen much growth in our STEAM program to date, we also have much opportunity for development. As we are now equipped with dedicated facilities, we will focus upon establishing opportunities and programs along with specific interests and needs, including robotics, engineering, coding, and more.
The STEAM program offers unique opportunities for our teachers and students to engage in innovative, collaborative, and creative learning that will equip our students as effective and engaging leaders and witnesses in their communities. To accelerate academic excellence and achievement at Des Moines Christian we will maximize the reach and impact of the STEAM programs and facilities to reach more students, be integrated into classroom learning, and become a hallmark of a DMC education.
| Foundations for the Future
|As we nurture and equip the students of today, we must also prepare the way for the students of tomorrow. A key component of the faithful stewardship of our school and our mission is to lay the foundation today for the Des Moines Christian School of the future. Our Strategic Plan identifies pivotal areas where we may prepare for and assure the sustainability and accessibility of a Des Moines Christian education in a fiscally responsible and faithful manner.
In order to preserve the current and long term viability of Des Moines Christian School we have identified the need to promote a culture of philanthropy within our development initiatives. Standards of best practice have made clear the need to fund our general budget through hard income--namely tuition, fees, and our forthcoming endowment--and move away from a model that depends on philanthropic giving to meet budget requirements, previously known as the GAP model. In the near future, philanthropic giving will be directed via an Annual Fund towards program enhancements, needs-based scholarships, building and capital needs, and the endowment.
Campus & Strategic Planning
The current phase of strategic planning casts a vision and provides guidance for the next five years at Des Moines Christian. In our efforts to make our Strategic Plan and the resulting priorities as effective as possible the plan will be subject to an annual review. This will allow leadership to adapt as necessary to address the needs of the school while keeping focused and accountable to the goals we have laid out. Furthermore, we must continue the work begun by looking beyond the conclusion of the five years. The next phase of strategic planning will begin in 2021 to be implemented beginning in 2023.
With the completion of the current master campus plan, celebrated throughout Fall 2017, we are ready to begin investing time and resources into the development of a new master plan to guide our future renovations and facilities. Upon the culmination of the Believe + Achieve capital campaign, we will be prepared and focused on the next steps to improve the spaces that shape our Des Moines Christian home.
Throughout the process, it is vital that we continue to move forward, building on the momentum we have gathered to achieve even greater things in the future.
The growth of the Des Moines Christian School endowment through the establishment of specific endowment funds allows for the generation of hard income, enabling us to faithfully and responsibly steward the resources God has entrusted us with.
The funds equip Des Moines Christian to utilize one of the most stable forms of non-tuition revenue available. Our goal of reaching an endowment of $10 million by 2030 will support and protect the future of our facilities, faculty development, student scholarships, and the general operating budget.
The Des Moines Christian Foundation already provides the structure necessary to support and manage an endowment. Therefore, we are poised to take this next step in the development of financial security and stability. What is more, this firm financial footing encourages the cultivation of relationships alongside purposeful growth.