Strategic Planning

Mad Libs, Mottos, and Strategic Planning: Can Mad Libs help uncover Gould’s next mission statement?

“Early drafting is like throwing clay on a wheel and playing with shape,” counsels Stephanie Rogen, the principal lead of Greenwich Leadership Partners. 

During the November 28th in-service day, all employees were invited to help shape early drafts of Gould’s mission statement and core values. After a few laughs as different generations of Gould’s staff shared their Mad Lib memories, small groups dug into the work of identifying active verbs, clear phrases, and powerful nouns. Stay tuned for the next round of mission statements to cast a wider net for feedback. And tune up on your Mad Lib skills!  
Also, GLP drafted eight value statements for early feedback. In the activity, the employees kept gravitating to two:  The Whole Self/The Power of Humanity and The Natural World/ The Power of Place. 

With each value statement, we discussed four questions: 
  1. What conditions need to be true for Gould to live this value?
  2. How would we hold ourselves accountable to this value?
  3. How would a student experience this value?
  4. What keeps creeping into our discussion with this value? 
If you would like to share your thoughts or reactions to these early drafts, do not hesitate! 

Lastly, brainstorming mottos was a playful way for groups to synthesize the best of Gould in a catchy phrase. If you like any of these or feel you have a motto to share, please feel free to share your thoughts with Sara Shifrin (shifrins@gouldacademy.org), and she will add them to our list for consideration by our community. 

Employee-Generated Mottos
  • Discover your best self
  • Powered by people, inspired by mountains, connected to place
  • Gould: more than a school, it is a lifestyle
  • The whole person
  • Gould provides the experiences that create the education
  • Gould Huskies: MUSH! Motivate, unique, scholars, honorably!
  • Create, educate, empower
  • Who needs a motto when you have a great mission statement
  • Be a better human
  • Action, compassion, trust
  • Gould kids shred life!
  • To thine own self be true
What’s next? 
Based on the feedback and ideas, we keep ‘shaping the clay on the wheel.’ Our next round of feedback will be in early January and will include students. Be on the lookout for a strategic planning coffee chat for parent insights and feedback. 
Gould is a small, co-ed, independent boarding school for grades 8-PG.  We are passionate about preparing academically motivated students for college, helping them to become independent-minded, ethical citizens who will lead lives of purpose, action, excellence, and compassion in a dynamic world.