More than 100 members of the Malvern community – parents, Board members, faculty and staff – joined together for a forward-looking town hall meeting on Tuesday, March 6. The annual meeting served to both review the current financial state of the school as well as a look ahead to the future, via a presentation
of the five-year Strategic Vision.
“As parents, you should want to know about and follow this plan,” said Stephen Cloetingh P’10’13T, chair of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. “We think it will have a positive impact on the school and on your boys.”
Cloetingh reviewed the plan’s methodology and the seven primary goals to improve Malvern in areas of curriculum, personnel, identity, student life, enrollment, college preparation and finances. The plan aims to deepen Malvern’s ability to provide an all-male education that balances rigorous academics, deep extracurricular commitment, spiritual development, global citizenship, stewardship and Christian service. Frequent updates about the plan will be communicated in the Malvern Weekly and on the school;’s website athttp://www.malvernprep.org/StrategicPlan
A number of questions about the school were addressed at the meeting. What follows is a brief recap of some of the questions answered by President Jim Stewart and Head of School Rev. James R. Flynn O.S.A....
Q: Could you please provide an update on the plans to integrate technology into the learning process and classrooms? In particular, what are the plans for hardware (i.e. I-pads, tablets) for the students in lieu of books? What are the plans to integrate new/engaging software into the classroom?
A: Currently, our teachers already use a wide range of hardware, software, and free Web 2.0 options that allow them to diversify our instruction, while also providing students with digital skills they need. We have recently hired personnel needed to evaluate and implement the educational technology initiatives called for in the Strategic Plan; these initiatives include a 1:1 device program and online courses. The Technology Department has added a Help Desk Technician, who will assist our new Systems Administrator with upgrading the computer network infrastructure, in order to support our tech programs of the future. Our new Dean of Curriculum will be working with faculty to further integrate technology options in the classroom and will be revising the curriculum to include digital learning objectives in all of the academic disciplines. Next year, our plan is to evaluate software that will support online learning and to implement pilot programs with multiple devices (i.e. tablets, netbooks, and laptops), in order to determine the efficacy of utilizing 1:1 device programs in our classroom going forward.
Q: How many athletic scholarships were awarded for the incoming freshman class? How many academic scholarships were awarded for the incoming freshman class?
A: There were no athletic scholarships awarded for the incoming freshman class. There were 12 academic merit awards.
Q: Would Malvern be able to provide working parents with either early morning or 5-7 pm appointments?
A: At present the school prefers the day long schedule. However, at any time a parent requests to meet with their son’s teacher(s) every effort will be made to arrange an appointment.
Q: Would you consider keeping the library open until 7 or 7:30 p.m. in the evening? There appear to be more and more families carpooling and/or driving a distance to attend Malvern. Due to extracurricular and athletic practices and games, there are many nights when boys are on the Malvern campus past 7 p.m.
A: The O’Neill Center is open every evening until 9 p.m. The school is currently studying the need for security in this area.
Q: With the increasing emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) occurring in American education and the need to prepare secondary students for careers in these fields when will Malvern embark on the building of a state of the art science center? The current facilities are antiquated, limit the scope of laboratory experiences, and are undersized for the student population, and are sorely lagging behind other Inter-Ac schools as well as local area public and parochial schools.
A: The school recognizes the need for additional classroom space especially in the science area. It is one of the key initiatives of the Strategic Plan. Within the next year a facilities audit will be conducted to plan for further needs.
Q: In line with the Global vision, what World languages/culture is Malvern committed to teaching? For example: Spanish and Latin (already in the program), French (will teaching of this language continue?), Mandarin (will this be an option?).
A: Two areas that immediately come to mind are the continuation of the French program and the possible introduction of Mandarin Chinese. Enrollment in the French program has decreased these past few years and with the emergence of the Chinese language in American business and society, we need to take a hard look at both. The Dean of Curriculum and the Academic Board will be working together to define global learning objectives for our students, as they relate to our service program and the requirements of colleges, and will then align our course offerings with those target goals in mind.
Q: Can you tell us more about the learning support teacher in the middle school and what, if any, the plans are for any learning support in the high school?
A: The Learning Specialist, Fran Cox supports both the Middle and Upper Schools. The Upper School counseling team (comprised of the counselors, school psychologist, learning specialist, and Dean of the Upper School) have been very proactive in identifying students who need support. Any parents who have requested the learning support services have been allocated time for their sons either during the academic day, before school, 9th period, or after school.
Q: Why is Malvern’s endowment so low (approximately $11.5 million) compared to some competitor schools?
A: Malvern got a late start in endowment fundraising. The first money raised for endowment was in 1992, and at that time the amount was $125,000. The endowment has grown over that past two decades, but we recognize the need to grow the endowment and we have a goal to increase it by %10 million over the next five years.