Summary of Research
The Strategic Planning process kicked off at the Board of Trustees retreat in October and was the focus of the Haverford Leadership Council fall meeting as well as regional alumni meetings. ISA led an intensive research effort throughout fall 2018, including:
- Audit of the School’s existing research and data
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis
- Demographic analysis
- Competitive analysis
- Community-wide survey of current parents, Upper School students, recent graduates, faculty, staff, and board members
- Campus listening sessions with various constituent groups, including members of the external community
- In-depth qualitative discussions with self-selected survey respondents
- Future trends analysis
The research provided situational awareness regarding metro Philadelphia’s highly competitive education market, the national decline of families who are choosing independent school, and the national growth of alternative models of education. An understanding of the local market, of peer schools’ positioning, and of projected education and demographic trends will help ensure Haverford’s mission is aligned with the passions and needs of our families.
Through census data and proprietary market research software, ISA illustrated the wide diversity that exists within our student body, across several demographic and behavioral characteristics. Gaining a better understanding of the types of diversity our school represents will better equip us to foster a culture of inclusion and respect.
Core strengths of the School were noted as faculty/staff, academics, and community. Character development and lasting relationships are key intangibles that parents seek as part of a Haverford education.
Haverford has opportunities to invest more fully in creating a culture of belonging, to fine-tune its academic program, to build financial sustainability, and to seek further balance in what some perceive as an over-emphasis on athletics.
Armed with data, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee worked through a goal-setting process, then supported working groups of faculty, staff, and administration to formulate proposals for how to advance Haverford’s mission in 2020 and beyond.