Our Bright Tomorrow
Choices, Assumptions, and Ambitions: An Introduction to the Strategic Plan by Head of School Jim Best

At Dalton, a strategic plan is never a rote exercise. We put our hearts and souls into it, because it is, after all, the horizon we set for ourselves.

The process of developing this plan has been intensive and inclusive. We began by conducting quantitative surveys and qualitative focus groups with every constituency in the Dalton community. Our Board provided feedback, guidance and structure at every stage of revision and re-imagining. The following pages are the result of more than a year of listening to the people of Dalton — their hopes and dreams, their concerns and critiques, their ambitions and aspirations.
Every plan is in some sense a set of strategic choices. The choices we are making in the plan are worth setting out here:
  • Instead of narrowing the school’s focus, we are choosing to commit ourselves to the comprehensive — and sustainable — Dalton experience. And instead of making Dalton feel exclusive, we are choosing to explore inclusivity in its broadest, deepest sense, considering the wide range of human experience.
  • We are choosing to embrace the power of place — to engage in tangible, possibly transformative ways with our campus, our city and the global educational community.
  • We are choosing to behave in specific ways as an institution — to make decisions informed by research and data, to listen intently to our people and their stories, to formalize and extend our shared willingness to experiment, test, adjust and advance.
Every plan also contains certain institutional assumptions, implicit or explicit. I am an advocate of transparency, so I will name three assumptions that I feel sure are at work in the plan.

First, we are advancing our dynamic mission. We are purposefully aligning our programs, resources and practices with our core values and more effectively utilizing The Dalton Plan (House, Lab, Assignment) to meet the evolving needs of our students.

Second, we are re-committing to the concept of citizenship. As a community, we are modeling the affirmative, inclusive and responsible leadership that we believe inspires our students to “go forth unafraid” while they are at Dalton and as they take next steps in life.

Third, we are embracing the willingness of spirit that characterizes our community. We are encouraging innovative ideas and pledging to carry out ambitious endeavors in bold, informed, sustainable ways.

This process has been enlightening and energizing. And it is only the beginning. We see our horizon. Now, together, we go forth unafraid.