2015 Five Year Vision

  • Our Aspirations
  • Our Academics
  • Our People
  • Our Campus
  • Our Bottom Line
This strategic plan puts forth an overall aspiration for Vail Mountain School to be widely recognized as a top tier independent school and a model for the interweaving of:
  • A robust experiential and global education program
  • The rigor of a high quality college preparatory curriculum combined with a rapport driven environment that inspires character development
  • An unparalleled collaborative relationship with our community and our mountain environment
  • The flexibility to support our athletes, thespians, musicians, artists, and  diverse learners, in and outside of school
Our strategic plan includes four primary initiatives:
  • our academics
  • our people
  • our campus
  • our bottom line
Each initiative has corresponding goals that guide and inform specific direction for action.  An additional internal document containing both a timeline for each initiative and goal, as well as the person or persons responsible for their implementation, will be used to track progress.

This plan is the product of the vision shared by numerous constituencies over the past six months. Thank you to the teachers, board members, parents, and administrators who contributed to this process. Please click on the tabs above to read more. 
Vail Mountain School will continue to enrich its academic programs by strengthening curriculum and pedagogy in all disciplines. Through an intentional schedule of thoughtful and thorough curriculum review, VMS will research and implement the best practices in order to prepare students to be actively engaged citizens of the global community. The school will examine the scope and sequence of our K-12 course offerings and add the necessary new courses and programs ensuring that they align with our departmental and school-wide mission and vision. These initiatives will be supported with significant, targeted professional development for faculty utilizing outside and internal expertise.

Review and Develop Curriculum

  • Conduct a K-12 comprehensive curriculum review every three years based upon NAIS Best Practices that is coordinated among departments on a three year cycle. For example, year one: math and science; year two: English and history; and year three: world languages and specials.
  • Map our curriculum, optimize the design process, and publish curriculum maps for internal and external constituents.
  • Embed 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication throughout our K-12 curriculum and engage teachers to best model these qualities.

Enhance Existing Programs

  • Enrich our Homebase program across divisions in support of character development and the school’s mission.
  • Expand and improve Intraterm by examining similar programs at other independent schools and determining best practices.
  • Elevate VMS athletics by recruiting coaches that best exemplify the VMS mission, promoting attendance at events, and celebrating individual and team athletic successes.
  • Sustain and enhance our Ski and Snowboard Club Vail partnership by enriching academic support for elite athletes so that they may achieve equally high levels of academic and athletic success. In support of this goal, we will promote continuous communication and cooperation among constituents.
  • Strengthen the quality of the visual and performing arts to generate more opportunities for student artists and performers to showcase their work through performances, art shows, and competitions.
  • Elevate and expand SummerQuest to become a flagship program for VMS and a premier program for less advantaged local students.

Add New Programs

  • Build a robust after school academy with offerings such as music, STEM classes, math enrichment, art,drama, and dance.
  • Broaden summer offerings to include traditional camps, a dual degree program with Chinese partner schools, and additional off-season classes for winter sport athletes.
  • Advance ecological literacy to reduce the school’s impact by fostering environmentally respectful, solution-oriented thinking. Implement programs for recycling, energy conservation, and local sourcing of food and materials.
  • Establish opportunities for students to develop skills beyond core academic subjects, such as a competitive debate team, a middle school robotics elective, and a partnership with TedX Vail Youth to expand public speaking opportunities for grades 5-12.
  • Incorporate a variety of strategies to provide differentiated instruction and assessments.
Vail Mountain School aspires to recruit and retain diverse faculty and staff who joyfully prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world. The goals of this strategic plan require a commitment to exceeding our peer schools relative to salaries, benefits, positive workplace culture, and professional development. Our goal is to make VMS the employer of choice among independent schools and in our mountain community. Not only is this a financial commitment, but also a promise to attend to the individual needs of our faculty and staff. In return, active engagement from all employees and reduced turnover is expected to strengthen the VMS experience and deliver on our mission for every student.

Enhance School Culture and Relationships

  • Expand opportunities for faculty and staff to interact both professionally and socially.
  • Adapt the student “Homebase” model for faculty and staff.
  • Improve integration of new faculty and staff by developing an 18 month, comprehensive onboarding program.

Recruit & Reward the Best

  • Increase targeted local, national, and international recruiting in order to enrich the diversity of our faculty and staff.
  • Formulate a competitive salary and benefits program to recruit and retain top talent.
  • Benchmark faculty and staff salaries against a peer group of top regional and national schools and strive to offer salaries matching the 75th percentile of the group.
  • Collaborate with faculty to establish a compensation philosophy that incentivizes outstanding teaching.
  • Evolve a retirement plan informed by best practices and trends.
  • Develop a faculty and staff leave program incorporating faculty exchanges and sabbaticals for veteran employees.

Provide World-Class Professional Development

  • Allocate 2% of operations budget to promote continuous learning, self-discovery, and improvement.
  • Embed professional development into all aspects of employment.
  • Support the achievement of subject specific and advanced degrees.
  • Connect professional development initiatives with performance evaluations.
  • Enhance current mentoring and coaching offerings.

Formalize the VMS Fellowship Program

  • Recruit high caliber, recent college graduates with interest and talent in areas of greatest need for the school.
  • Build partnerships with top colleges and universities to identify outstanding candidates.
Vail Mountain School is extremely fortunate to have a state-of-the-art campus that houses all three multi-aged divisions under one roof. Our campus also provides significant outdoor space and opportunity for educational experiences unavailable to most school communities. The goals of this strategic plan require that we examine, enhance, and expand our existing facilities in order to meet our current and future needs. This will require fiscal discipline, extensive planning, and an unwavering commitment to upgrading our facilities for the benefit of our students.

Manage Immediate and Long-Term Facilities Needs

  • Perform facility maintenance and upgrades in accordance with our 2014 Facilities Audit guidelines.
  • Create a reserve fund of at least 2-3% of the replacement value of the existing facility.

Rethink and Update Existing Spaces

  • Redesign age and subject appropriate collaborative classrooms per NAIS guidelines informed by department-specific needs.
  • Create flexible workspaces for diverse types of learning.
  • Embed more technology engagement opportunities in classrooms.

Research and Redesign our Library

  • Create an age appropriate learning and media center.
  • Design flexible spaces for individuals and group collaboration.
  • House specialized hardware to run high power software and explore emerging technologies.
  • Build music, video, and multimedia production studios.
  • Provide telecommunications/Skype space.

Develop a Real Estate Strategy

  • Explore boarding options for guest students.
  • Build an on-site home for the head of school to help ensure that VMS can continue to attract top leadership.
  • Create a plan to best utilize and leverage existing land assets.
Vail Mountain School has enjoyed the benefits of wise financial management and numerous visionary and generous donors who have positioned the school on sound financial footing. Nonetheless, the challenges ahead and the aspirations of this strategic plan require that VMS look with fresh eyes at its financial resources to deliver the promises of this strategic plan. Achieving these aspirational goals requires steadfast leadership at the Board and administrative levels as well as broad and generous participation from the community.

Fulfill Enrollment Potential

  • Target enrollment of 440 with two sections per grade and extensive wait pools.
  • Expand guest international student program.
  • Increase targeted local and national recruiting in order to enrich the diversity of our student body.

Ensure Long-Term Financial Health

  • Add at least $10M to our existing endowment in order to support the legacy of VMS in perpetuity.
  • Establish a strategy for retiring building bond debt.
  • Invest $1.1M in facility maintenance and upgrades in accordance with our 2014 Facilities Audit guidelines.

Build Additional Revenue Streams

  • Maximize utilization of existing facilities.
  • Add an after school enrichment academy.
  • Expand summer programs and camps.
  • Promote VMS as a premier community events venue.