By Sam Uzwack, Head of School

AS EASTSIDE PREP WINDS DOWN ITS twentieth year of school, we have much to celebrate and much to look forward to. Of particular note is the retirement of our founding Head of School, Dr. Terry Macaluso, who over the past two decades built a thriving school that is on the cutting edge of the educational landscape. EPS remained committed to our founding values by bringing together a diverse array of learners to work together to solve authentic problems, build strong relationships, and always pursue new and innovative ways to unlock student learning. Finally, we are a place that wants every student to become the best version of themselves. This is why I joined the community fourteen years ago.

In assuming this role of Head of School, I do so at a pivotal time in the school’s history. It is my charge to build on the strong legacy Dr. Macaluso so generously developed for us, while charting our school’s course for the next twenty years. In that regard, I see so much opportunity. By keeping the students at the center and always working to improve their experience, we focus our resources on the key priorities that will guide us moving forward.

The EPS Strategic Priorities 2023-2028 will be the framework that will serve as our North Star for the coming years, providing the school with strategic direction. The process of developing these priorities began in October 2022, when Board President Mehrane Mokdad, Dr. Macaluso, and I met to identify initial objectives and develop the process. In the first phase, we gathered information from the community. The Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CSA) survey used in the Head of School search provided key insights. Listening groups with faculty and staff provided essential ideas about program and school culture. Meeting with eighth and twelfth grade advisory groups reminded us of what was essential for students.

With the data in hand, the Board then held a series of discussions around Risks to Mitigate, Things to Keep, Market Differentiators, and Aspirational Objectives. Additionally, the Board conducted focus groups on People, Program, Partnership, and Plant, which would become
the framework for the Strategic Priorities. Multiple drafts were considered by the Executive Committee, with feedback from the Senior Leadership Team, and eventually, the full Board of Trustees. On June 5, 2023, the Board unanimously adopted our Strategic Priorities.

Throughout the process, the focus remained on our Vision, Mission, and Values. Now the exciting work of making the strategic direction a reality begins. The Senior Leadership Team will develop annual work plans comprised of key objectives that will move our strategic vision forward. Our faculty will develop work plans for their specific academic disciplines and programs. Together, we will embrace the spirit of innovation and the promise of youth, as we work to make Eastside Preparatory School the place to be for students and adults alike. I am grateful for the partnership and support of Ms. Mokdad and the Board of Trustees. It is going to be an exciting journey, and I could not be more thrilled to be on it with you.

Strategic Priorities 2023-2028

Eastside Preparatory School is committed to its Vision—To Inspire Students to Create a Better World.

To achieve this Vision, we enact our Mission of Thinking Critically, Acting Responsibly, Leading Compassionately, and Innovating Wisely.

We are committed to providing an intellectually challenging environment based on mutual respect and support. Rather than teaching students what to think, we teach students how to think.

Learning at EPS is pursued through relationships and a deep sense of belonging for all members of the community. We strive to create an environment for the free, open, and respectful exchange of ideas.

Our 2023-28 Strategic Priorities serve as an expression of institutional priority.

    Eastside Preparatory School will be a center for attracting and developing great talent in the world of education. Our professional culture, spirit of educational innovation, and deep care for students and families will distinguish us as a sought-after community for educators and students. We meet students where they are and support students in becoming the best versions of themselves. We intentionally bring together a diverse array of thinkers in order to solve novel problems and to prepare students for life beyond EPS.

    1. Attract, support, and retain a diverse faculty and staff
      1.  Foster innovation through professional development program and connection to outside people and organizations
      2. Ensure market-competitive compensation and benefits
      3. Research and develop new strategies to support the well-being of faculty/staff
      4. Provide faculty/staff leadership opportunities to further growth and development within the school
    2. Attract and support a diverse student population and enable them to take full advantage of the EPS program
      1. Grow and enhance the utilization of Financial Aid
      2. Research and develop new strategies to support the well-being of students with a focus on belonging, resiliency, and promoting mental, physical, and social emotional health
      3. Ensure the commitment to neurodiversity in the classroom and the structures that support it
      4. Examine admissions process and practices to ensure family and student alignment with school’s mission and values
    The EPS program is continually evolving based on educational research and a thirst for innovative practices. Our curriculum focuses on critical thinking, experiential learning, and the integration of disciplines.

    1. Support an environment committed to the free and open exchange of ideas so that multiple perspectives can be heard
    2. Expand independent education capacity and options for juniors and seniors to modernize the senior year experience
    3. Assert the value of a well-rounded liberal arts experience
    4. Reimagine student assessment practices to ensure mission alignment and promote student well-being
    5. Ensure the EPS curriculum remains modern and relevant in order to equip students to navigate the future with confidence
    6. Develop EPS literacies (e.g., collaboration, digital citizenship, stewardship) as a modern skills framework
    7. Ensure EBC program offerings remain meaningful and scalable while enhancing connections with the academic program
    The first twenty years of Eastside Prep’s history represented the building of a new school. The next twenty years will be about enhancing our connections within our community and with local, national, and global communities to improve the student experience. We will focus on developing sustainable and mutually productive partnerships with organizations and agencies that support the EPS vision and mission.

    1. Build EPS programs to facilitate substantive, worthwhile relationships with business and educational institutions to improve the student experience
    2. Partner with local nonprofits and governments to promote civic engagement
    3. Develop EPS Contributing Scholars program to recognize and build a community of external experts who engage with the school
    4. Establish partner schools in Spanish-speaking countries to provide student exchange opportunities
    5. Expand experiences for parents/guardians that deepen connections to the school
  4. PLANT
    Our modern facilities represent our curricular ethos of collaborative, experiential, and integrated learning. Future enhancements should build on that ethos, showcasing Eastside Prep’s responsibility for institutional sustainability and community participation.

    1. Maintain reasonable building/campus safety and security measures and explore potential opportunities to enhance those measures
    2. Audit physical space to meet programmatic needs
    3. Develop capacity to take advantage of area property acquisition
    4. Continue to explore ways to leverage remote and hybrid uses of time and space