Taking Our Future in Hand | Prendre notre futur en main
FASPS’s 2022–2027 Strategic Plan
What is a strategic plan and why develop one? Most organizations, whether public, private, or nonprofit, have a strategic plan in place, typically with time frames that extend 3–5 years into the future. This, the French American School of Puget Sound’s 2022–2027 strategic plan is our school’s fourth to date. Between 1995, when FASPS officially opened its doors to 13 students, and 2005, we had no formalized strategic plan. In the fall of 2004, “as the board and head considered the condition of their French American School of Puget Sound, they recognized that its first moment for reflection had arrived,” presenting in the fall of 2005 a plan that reflected “their dreams, their concerns, and their commitment to continue advancing this distinct and valuable school” — FASPS’s first (2005–2011) strategic plan.
FASPS’s second (2011–2016) strategic plan, aptly titled, “Our Vision for the Future,” represented an “important milestone in the growth and maturation of our school,” focusing on our student and family programs while, at the same time, acknowledging our need to “establish a solid financial and organizational foundation upon which the school can thrive for future generations” — one should recognize in those 16 words as the seed that, when planted shortly thereafter, would quickly take root and begin to flourish. Then, in June of 2015, our Board of Trustees approved FASPS’s 2016–2021 strategic plan, a “long-term vision” for the school that would be achieved by “renewing our commitment to strengthening and enhancing our program.” Alas, our 2016–2021 strategic plan — titled, “Excellence and Growth” — did not include a strategic goal of preparing our school for a global pandemic.
We were not prepared for COVID-19. And it was not a foregone conclusion that our “distinct and valuable” school would survive. In fact, many schools — public, private, and independent — that welcomed students to their campuses in 2019–2020 have since shuttered their doors. The COVID-19 pandemic tested schools, students, teachers, and parents, at times pushing many of us to the limits of our physical, emotional, and mental resiliency. And yet, here we are, in the fall of 2022, our “distinct and valuable school” not only surviving but thriving, continuing its journey only temporarily and slightly blown off course when we postponed by a year the development of our now 2022–2027 strategic plan.
Which brings us back to our original questions: What is a strategic plan and why develop one? Generally speaking, a strategic plan is a document that serves to guide an organization into the future. Strategic plans synthesize specific initiatives into a discreet set of goals that, when achieved, will have ensured an organization continues to fulfil its vision in both the short and long terms. Simple enough. One might say that the strategic planning process for this, FASPS’s 2022–2027 strategic plan, began in the spring of 2021 and was completed in the fall of 2022 with the promulgation of this document that you are currently reading. But strategic planning and strategic plans are so much more than processes undertaken and words written in regular 3-5-year cycles. For us, your French American School of Puget Sound Board of Trustees, strategic planning and the resultant plans are more fundamentally an ethos that underpins and informs who we are as a school, who we are as a community, and how we teach our students. We, FASPS students, faculty and staff, parents and trustees, are agile, culturally speaking and otherwise, and our agility stems from our embrace and celebration of difference, our choosing to be always forward-looking, and the courage we bring to every decision we make and every action we take. We have been taking our future in hand since our founding in 1995, and we will continue to do so in the years and decades to come.
The strategic goals and initiatives we have set for ourselves in this our now current strategic plan will take up where our 2016–2021 strategic goals and initiatives left off, continuing to serve as guides for our “distinct and valuable school” as the years unfold ahead. We chose to title this strategic plan “Taking Our Future in Hand” | « Prendre notre future en main » not only to capture the importance of this particular moment in FASPS’s history (taking possession of the keys to our permanent home on September 28, 2022), but also to remind ourselves that this has always been the trajectory of our school and of our community, that though some changes may seem to happen suddenly, where we find ourselves today is the result of decades of gradual, intentional, thoughtful, and well-informed decision-making on the part of countless individuals, each and every one of whom deserves our respect and heartfelt gratitude. As we execute our 2022–2027 strategic plan and continue work on our permanent home project (an integral part, in fact, of our strategic plan), we are filled with excitement for our students, current and future, who join us on this journey of self-discovery and self-actualization. Thank you, FASPS community, for your passion and for your dedication. Our present has never felt more exciting, our future has never looked more promising, and we are honored to join you as we venture forth together.
— Steve Dispensa, Chair, Board of Trustees
— Eric Thuau, Head of School