Strategic Plan 2022 - 2026

A comprehensive and community-driven process, including multiple surveys and 21 listening sessions with students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as in-depth work sessions with the Board, administrative team, and an independent school consultant, led to this strategic plan that sets our key priorities for the next five years. 

We thank our community for their participation in the process and invite you to join the invigorating implementation years ahead. Onward, MCDS!

The Plan seeks to:


How we are going to get there:

Enhance Academic Excellence & Student Experience

Engaged, inspired students are successful students. 

Outstanding curricular and co-curricular programs ensure success for every student and build enduring value for our school.

Through a diligent understanding of best-practice recommendations and the needs of our students, we will perennially enhance and improve our programs. Our goal is to be the first-choice school in the Madison area – attracting mission-match students and retaining current students – by fostering innovative, inspiring, academic, and social/emotional programs, guided by the IB Learner Profile and our mission, and supported by classroom strategies that allow for differentiated learning and assure students of their next-level placement. The foundation for the MCDS student experience will remain steadfast: Every student is truly known and matters.


  • Earned Middle Years Programme (MYP) authorization and Primary Years Programme (PYP) authorization.
  • Hired a Dean of Students to focus on the student experience and develop a comprehensive plan to address the social and emotional needs of students.
  • Built a new Wellness Center to grow our services to support students' physical, social and emotional needs. Added student spaces for collaboration and social opportunities. 
  • Utilized student/parent surveys to get timely feedback on programming and student experience.
  • Launched a new student schedule that promotes durable learning, student’s well-being, and faculty collaboration.
  • Established the new position of Head of Early Childhood Education to better serve our youngest students.
  • Developed an evidence-based advisory program to create a culture of leadership and service within our educational programs, supported by the IB character education programs.
  • Restarted the MS Volleyball program. High School Cross Country student athletes placed at the state competition for the 2022-23 school year. Relaunched the Tennis program. Increased Athletic Coaching stipends to attract higher quality coaches and reduce parent involvement in coaching.


  • Continue to fully integrate and effectively implement MYP and PYP to enhance our academic program.
  • Continue to implement and refine the IB teacher training process at MCDS.
  • Enhance and improve support for differentiated learning for all students. Upskill staff on differentiated learning.
  • Develop "Service as Action" as a coherent approach and program, including a learning progression, throughout the school (with key events being IB events: Grade 4 Exhibition, Grade 8 Community Project, Grade 10 Personal Project, Grade 11 & 12 CAS Projects)
  • Appoint a faculty committee to reshape assessment and reporting grounded in IB approach to inquiry, action, and reflection, with an eye toward tailoring assessment practices per division.
  • Invest in marketing and enrollment efforts that attract mission-match students and retain current students.
  • Create more rally points for students, including LS Beginning of Year community event on the prairie.
  • Mentor students on Digital Citizenship & Digital Wellness, including responsible user agreements.

Empower Our Educators

Outstanding faculty, supported by excellent administrators and staff, are the foundation to the success of our school and our students.

High quality and passionate teachers, committed to our mission, are critical. We strive to be the first choice for diverse and exceptional teachers, and to be a community of world-class administrators, teachers and students who support our mission and foster innovative programs making us a highly-desired, world-class school. We will continue thoughtful investment in our faculty’s growth and professional development.


  • Reached the goal of compensating our faculty at the ISACS 60th percentile level.
  • Expanded the faculty professional development budget to support classroom excellence, including the Leadership Fellows program.
  • Added Wednesday morning Spark Time for faculty collaboration and innovation opportunities (which also benefits student experience – new activities, new clubs, and new leadership opportunities for our students during this time.)
  • Created a PD committee of ISACS-Lead Learners (1 per division),Division Heads, IB Coordinator(s) to decide upon annual funding and strategize long-term PD goals centered around IB authorization and ISACS accreditation action plans.
  • Added another part-time counselor.


  • Study the feasibility of implementing additional compensation and benefits strategies including daycare options, increased retirement contributions, and clarifying FTE (Full Time Employee) definition.
  • Develop ongoing faculty feedback forms/focus groups to identify training and support needs. 
  • Outline Educational Assistant (EA) teacher prep program goals and benchmarks.
  • Explore a student teaching partnership with UW-Madison & Edgewood College
  • Educate staffulty about resources (human and otherwise) available to support students

Live It: Inclusion & Belonging

Our differences make us stronger and better prepared for the future.

Our goal is for all members of the school community to feel valued and supported, as well as inspired to embrace the diversity of each person. We seek to nourish a culture wherein every member feels safe, valued, and encouraged to participate in every aspect of the community. We will strive to fill our capacity with engaged students, maximizing the potential of curricular and co-curricular learning and discussions. We work hard to ensure that our student body, faculty, and staff represent families from a wide range of backgrounds and prepare our students for the global environment outside our local area.


  • Developed and currently implementing “Inclusion & Belonging” plan with faculty and staff.
  • Initiated our parent education program to create a community of learners, as well as guide parents to understand the unique aspects of our program and importance of a diverse community to prepare our students for the future.


  • Intentionally rekindle the MCDS spirit of being engaged across divisions, and with the external community.  
  • Implement a 12-month hiring/recruitment calendar with an intentional focus on increasing the number of qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Support Our School Like We Mean It

Excellence requires commitment.

We recognize that achieving our mission and goals, and supporting our students and faculty to the highest level of excellence, requires financial investment.

We strive to be all-in in our support of our school:

  • Investing in our Future and Financial Sustainability - We will understand what it takes to deliver the education and programs our students need for success in the future, and be willing to provide the necessary resources.
  • Building our Culture of Philanthropy – We will understand the power of philanthropy at our non-profit school to make a difference in the lives of our students and future generations of students. We will passionately support the school and strive to help families to see MCDS as their top philanthropic priority. 
  • Fostering our Board of Trustees – Behind every great school is a strong, diverse, supportive board, ready to drive excellence and make bold choices when needed to ensure the school will be thriving for generations to come. The MCDS Board will continue to be a high-functioning strategic body, responsible for the mission of the school and supporting the implementation of this Strategic Plan.


  • Created a comprehensive and community-driven plan, supported by the Board which has organized its committee structure to support the implementation.
  • Improved parent participation in Annual Fund drive from previous high of 51% parent participation to 81% parent participation in fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. We further improved parent participation rates to 94% in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023.
  • Hired Advancement Project Coordinator and added part time Communications Strategist & Admissions Coordinator role to expand community engagement.
  • Launched a Tailored Tuition model at MCDS.
  • Hired director level position: Director of Enrollment Management, to truly lead and manage enrollment, not just execute admissions.
  • In addition to monthly Parent Education talks ("push communications"), refined Division Head newsletters and other school communications to present bite-sized information to parents when they need it ("pull communications.")


  • Educate our community on the resources required to run our school, deliver our mission, and execute our strategic plan, as well as our cost-conscious approach to budgeting each year, to help us better understand the drivers of tuition and philanthropy needs. 
  • Analyze the feasibility of a market study, using the information gleaned to optimize our enrollment efforts to the geographic market we serve. Hire outside firm to analyze the market, why people in this area select an independent school, and what factors drive them to select MCDS. Conduct a space study regarding true capacity in our existing facility. Develop a financial projection based around full enrollment to that capacity.
  • Expand Prairie Hawk Merit Scholarship program to attract mission-match students, and rebrand to be more effective: "Rising Hawks." 
  • Refresh website videos with updated mission and IB World School identity. Expand our existing website content to reference our IB World School identity on most pages rather than on an isolated page.

Dream Big

Imagine it to come true.

Without imaginative and lofty goals, the school will miss expansive opportunities and its role as both an educational leader in the community and a model to other schools.

We strive to always think ahead to new opportunities and think boldly about the future. We will develop a plan for future capital improvement and update our campus master plan for tomorrow’s needs. 


  • Compiled a wish list of capital improvement projects and big sky programming ideas during the Strategic Plan listening sessions and surveys.
  • MCDS administration team and Trustees embarked on a fact-finding trip to visit several independent schools in California, developing ideas for the next phase of the campus master plan.
  • Initiated a Campus Development Committee to review the 2014 Campus Master Plan and determine next steps.


  • Evaluate and rank capital improvement projects and big sky programming ideas, including:
    • a second gym,
    • performing arts spaces, 
    • cafeteria, 
    • boarding program for international students, 
    • farm-to-table food service program that supports lifelong food choices and differentiate MCDS from other schools.