School releases new Visions after surveying community


Illustration By Alexa Druyanoff

Rick Commons announced new and improved Visions for the school after surveying students, parents, staff and alumni.

Davis Marks and Natalie Cosgrove

President Rick Commons released a report summarizing the results of the school’s Visions survey in a email sent to the school community Feb. 7. The school sent the survey to the school community in September for feedback as to what the school’s future priorities should be.

The report highlighted six areas of growth the school will focus on: excellence (strengthening academic, athletic and artistic programs), inclusion (diversity, equity and inclusion work), balance (campus transition, homework policy and testing calendars), pedagogical and curricular innovation (cross-campus consistency, professional development and more interdisciplinary subjects), service to Los Angeles (River Park, sustainability and community service) and character (student leadership, service learning and social-emotional programming).

Commons said he views the report as a way to progress on the school’s ongoing goals.

“We are imagining what this school might be when everyone feels that equal sense of belonging,” Commons said. “We have an opportunity to reimagine things when we think strategically. We can recognize goals unfulfilled that we can still pursue. The next steps are to take the visions for 2020 and revise […] and strengthen and modernize [them] for the upcoming chapter of the school’s history.”

In order to implement changes into the curriculum and administration, Commons said he will analyze data collected in the survey with Director of Institutional Research Mike Barker and then discuss the results with the Board of Trustees and other members of the administration.

Barker, who played a large role in creating the Visions survey and report, said he believes it’s necessary for the school to listen to the community in order to implement meaningful change.

“One of the primary responsibilities in my role at the school is to help analyze and synthesize information and various forms of data to facilitate decision making,” Barker said. “I think it is important for schools to listen closely to their communities, [and] while I have not been here a full year, it seems to me the leadership team is deeply committed to listening as they lead. The practice of sharing results provides opportunities for deeper discussion and more meaningful change.”

2072 people responded to the survey and provided the school with feedback, with 56% of respondents being students, 27% parents and guardians, 9% being faculty and staff and 7% alumni.

Sophomore Prefect Nyla Shelton ’24 said the Visions report serves as an acknowledgement that the administration utilized feedback from the community to improve the school.

“I really appreciate [Commons’s] and the faculty’s effort to use feedback from students, parents, faculty and alumni to better our school and community,” Shelton said. “Though I believe there to be more room for growth [within] certain aspects of the survey, it is evident in the report that necessary and valued growth is being made.”