Strategic Plan 2020

  • Our Plan
  • Portrait of a VMS Graduate
  • Portrait of a VMS Teacher
  • Portrait of a VMS Parent
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 efforts are focused on initiatives in five primary areas, Teachers, Students, Parents, Academics, and Economic Stability. Each initiative has corresponding goals that guide and inform specific direction for action. In addition, the plan contains written Portraits of a VMS Graduate, a VMS Faculty Member, and a VMS Parent that clearly define how our community can best work together to serve our students. This plan takes a four-year view, but is also rolling in nature, in order to provide the flexibility to respond to new opportunities as they arise.


  • Recruit and Reward

    • Attract and retain a diverse group of top educators aligned with the Portrait of a VMS Teacher. 
    • Benchmark faculty and staff total compensation against Colorado and mountain resort schools, and strive to offer competitive packages in the Colorado market.
  • Encourage and Expand Professional Development

    • Provide more support for teachers to enhance their abilities to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
    • Help our teachers continue to meet the needs of diverse learners within their classroom.
    • Support Project Based Learning professional development.
    • Contribute up to 2% of the operating budget to promote continuous learning, self-discovery, and improvement.


  • Diversify Student Body

    • Expand enrollment of students from different socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.
    • Continue to welcome and provide a climate of acceptance for a diverse student body in accordance with NAIS definitions of diversity.
  • Develop our students as defined by The Portrait of a VMS Graduate

    • Develop and foster the qualities of resilience and grit.
    • Promote self-reliance and accountability.
    • Improve executive functioning skills.
  • Attract and retain the most mission appropriate students

    • Evaluate and enhance our entry and retention strategies.
    • Provide a Taft Conlin Scholarship for each upper school grade.


  • Become the community thought leaders in parenting and education

    • Introduce the VMS Speaker Series.
    • Create permanent funding for the VMS Speaker Series.
  • Encourage parent attendance at VMS Speaker Series events

  • Educate our parents as defined by The Portrait of a VMS Parent


  • Curriculum Review

    • Design a process to ensure vertical integration of scope and sequence across divisions and K-12.
    • Create a product to communicate the vertical integration of scope and sequence across divisions and K-12.
    • Review at least two disciplines per year.
  • Pursue Innovative Ideas in Education

    • Empower students to own their own learning by participating in self-paced, project based learning investigating and responding to authentic, engaging, and complex questions, problems, or challenges.
    • Connect VMS students to the outside world (local, domestic, international) showcasing research, writing, and creativity through extended capstone projects, internships, and community partnerships.
    • Research and create funding for an Entrepreneurship Program.
    • Explore daily schedule flexibility and options in order to enhance and support innovations in education
    • Explore global education opportunities
      • Research student exchange/global education program options.


  • Grow the VMS Endowment

    • Add at least $10M to our existing endowment in order to support the legacy of VMS in perpetuity.
  • Measure our sustainability using the ISM Stability Markers

  • Update our Rolling 5-Year Financial Plan

  • Launch our Rolling 5-Year Facility Maintenance Schedule


  • VMS graduates speak articulately, respectfully, and confidently to all members of the community.
  • VMS graduates understand and employ empathy, recognize different perspectives, and see the value of diversity in the world.
  • VMS graduates are guided by an ethical framework and a strong ethical code, providing them with integrity in the face of challenges and injustices.
  • VMS graduates possess strong self-advocacy skills and have the courage to ask for help, not for the answer.
  • VMS graduates take responsibility for the consequences of their actions and behaviors both in and out of school.
  • VMS graduates approach life’s challenges with perseverance and grit.


  • VMS graduates find joy in learning, in thinking open mindedly, and in exploring areas that are important to them.
  • VMS graduates respect knowledge; however, they also question doctrine in order to find their own answers to life’s questions.
  • VMS graduates work well both independently and collaboratively in order to achieve personal and group success.
  • VMS graduates utilize strong executive functioning skills.


  • VMS graduates appreciate the natural world around them as they thrive in the surrounding mountain environment.
  • VMS graduates are kind and considerate to people of all ages, exemplified by relationships with their younger peers.
  • VMS graduates recognize that their education provides them the opportunity and skills to serve a public purpose both locally and globally.


  • VMS teachers model the school’s mission in an exemplary fashion and truly understand their role as positive and proactive ambassadors in all public and private interactions.
  • VMS teachers willingly take on leadership roles in the school culture and perform these roles with honesty and integrity.
  • VMS teachers believe that social-emotional and physical well-being are the foundation for all learning.


  • VMS teachers strive to become masters of their subjects. They are passionate about the subject matter and secure in their knowledge of the content.
  • VMS teachers’ pedagogical skills serve every student in the class, and they possess the flexibility to support our athletes, thespians, musicians, artists, and diverse learners, in and outside of school.
  • VMS teachers love working with other teachers, sharing ideas, and collaborating on projects in a positive and proactive manner.
  • VMS teachers bring joy into the classroom every day–inspiring, engaging, enriching and empowering their students with creative and innovative lessons. Excellence and joy are not mutually exclusive.


  • VMS teachers are deeply committed to their students and treat them all equitably at all times. They are always by the student’s side - student centered
    not self-centered.
  • VMS teachers give their best to their students when they have a healthywork life
  • VMS teachers form educational partnerships with their students, parents, their colleagues, and their administration. A key to this partnership is consistent, open communication based on trust and mutually understood expectations.
  • VMS teachers embrace an unparalleled collaborative relationship with our community and mountain environment.


  • VMS parents foster perseverance and grit and recognize that making mistakes is a part of learning.
  • VMS parents model the school’s mission and understand their role as positive and proactive ambassadors in all public and private interactions.
  • VMS parents encourage ownership and independence in their children and their learning.


  • VMS parents respect the core curriculum at VMS including outdoor education,
    and understand the value of full participation not only for their own child but for all the children involved.
  • VMS parents have carefully chosen VMS as the right school for their children and entrust VMS with their children’s education because they understand and support the school’s mission.
  • VMS parents respect the expertise, knowledge, and professionalism of the faculty and staff
  • VMS parents attend parent education opportunities offered by the school.


  • VMS parents participate in fundraisers because they understand the importance of investing in their children’s education.
  • VMS parents regularly attend school events to support their children and to be fully informed members of the community.
  • VMS parents see diversity as a positive and desirable component of the VMS community.
  • VMS parents are respectful and considerate to all members of the community including faculty, staff, students, and fellow parents.