November 2023 Board Meeting Update
The Board of Trustees held our fall meeting on the School campus November 2–4, 2023. The Principia-wide theme for this year—“You are the light of the world”—came to life for us as we heard directly from administrators, teachers, and students who are letting their lights shine brightly. It was inspiring, invigorating, and energizing to be on the School campus and to hear about all the good unfolding for students from Early Childhood through College.
Head of School Dr. Merry Sorrells and College President Dr. Daniel Norton provided thorough presentations and updates on enrollment trends and the overall state of each campus. We are excited to see renewed emphasis on data-informed approaches and decision making across the institution. Principia’s leadership is innovating, rethinking, and challenging thought to move forward creatively.
Revisions to Principia Policies
The Board’s Ad Hoc Policy Review Committee, which includes the Chief Executive and School and College administrators, presented revised wording for multiple Policies resulting from the committee’s work since the June meeting. After reviewing, discussing, and editing the committee’s deliberative and prayerful work, the Board approved new versions of eight Policies at this meeting. (View document showing the previous and new versions of Policies 2, 5, 9, 14, 20, 21, 22, and 23.) Eight more Policies are still under review by the committee for the February Board meeting.
Principia’s Policies were originally written and approved by the Board of Trustees in 1944 and slightly modified in 1962 and 1983. As previously shared, the Board voted to update the language in seven Policies in June 2022. (View changes from June 2022.) In June 2023, Policies 4, 15, 16, and 17 were revised. (View document showing the previous and new versions of Policies 4, 15, 16, and 17.) The revisions during the past 17 months align our institutional governing Policies with the direction Principia is headed, and we are grateful to everyone involved with this vital, ongoing work.
While they are in the process of being revised, the latest versions of all 23 Principia Policies can be found online. Comments from the community about Policy revisions can be sent to the committee by emailing email@example.com.
Based on the new budgeting calendar, the Board continued to discuss preliminary budget concepts for the next fiscal year and reviewed final numbers for FY2022–2023. Provisional capital spending plans for the next fiscal year were approved at this meeting. Final approval for next fiscal year’s operating budget will be on the agenda for the February 2024 Board meeting. The Board also approved tuition, room, and board (TRB) rates for the 2024–2025 academic year; School TRB will increase 4.5 percent, and College TRB will increase 4.1 percent plus a $50 increase in fees.
College Academic Reimagining
College Interim Dean of Academics Dr. Brian Roberts updated the Trustees on the College’s timeline, vision, plan, and parameters for reimagining the curriculum. The Board supports the College community’s work on this essential project, and we appreciate the administration’s thoughtful approach to this future planning.
A highlight of our three days of meetings was a presentation from the School third graders on their scenario-based economics unit. The students came professionally dressed and eager to share the many lessons learned through their class Bee Project. They divided into teams to launch their business—which included researching bees, extracting honey from the campus hive, diving into marketing and finances, and finally selling it at the Lower School Fall Festival. The project proved profitable, and the students will be using the proceeds to purchase another beehive, reinvesting in the honeybee program. You can view the third-grade video to learn more about their successful class project. The students were poised, polished, and very proud of what they learned and shared with us. It was a delight to see their learning in action, and it reminded us of why we are here serving Principia.
School Sustainability Presentation
School Sustainability Director Lynne Scott shared a presentation with the Board on the School’s goals in this key area. It was exciting to see examples of “Love in Action” across the levels of sustainability curriculum at the School. Lynne helped the Board understand the School’s roadmap to infuse sustainability into all aspects of the curriculum through authentic, relevant, and transferable activities such as the economics unit illustrated by those impressive third graders we met.
Farewells and Welcomes
Two new Trustees joined the Board at this meeting: Elizabeth “Liz” (Shelton) Crow (C’05) and Terry McNabb (US’71, C’75). Former Trustee Jori Clarke rotated off the Board prior to the November meeting. The Board recognized the service of outgoing Trustee Allan Marquardt who will continue on the Board until just before our next regular meeting in February.
The Board also recognized and thanked Karen Eisenauer as she completes 24 years serving as executive assistant to the Board of Trustees and moves forward with her new role supporting the College President’s Office. We are immensely grateful to Karen for her steady, constant support to Principia in many ways for over 35 years, and we wish her well in her new role.
We are grateful to you for your daily support of Principia’s progress. As Hymn 600 says, “You are the salt of the earth, You are the light of the world.”