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Blog: Strong Foundation, Bright Future

At the beginning of next school year, Visitation will share the work completed during this first year of our Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) reaccreditation process. Please read Head of School Rene Gavic's reflection on how Visitation's strong foundation will be the bedrock of our continued work as we – the Sisters, faculty, staff and trustees – enhance our institution's bright future.

Blog Post: Strong Foundation, Bright Future

Head of School Rene Gavic

As I write this blog post, I am looking out the window at all the change that Mother Nature is undergoing. After a long winter, a late-season snowstorm, a brief glimpse of spring and a quick jump into summer temperatures, it seems that Minnesota has shifted through three seasons in a matter of weeks. And while we may be scrambling to keep up (do I still keep the snow shovels close at-hand? Is it time to rake the leaves out of my garden beds?) the flowers and animals and birds know exactly what to do: grow, create, renew and thrive.

At Visitation, we, too, are in the process of change. Over the course of this next school year, we will continue a self-study process in which we examine all facets of our school, from building and grounds to curriculum; this self-study is conducted through the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) reaccreditation process. A group of Visitation faculty, staff, trustees and Sisters has also been reevaluating our school's mission and working on the next strategic plan.

What I continue to notice throughout these processes is how we embrace change at Visitation. We don't change for change's sake; rather, the changes we have made to the mission statement and to other school documents, such as our Portrait of a Visitation Learner, are thoughtful, deliberate and inspired. These changes move us forward. For me – and I hope for my colleagues – it's exciting to reflect on and dream about the possibilities for our institution and the ways we can continue to help students grow and flourish. Moreover, these processes give us a chance to reflect on why we're here, what's important to us and how steadfastly committed we are to carrying out the Sisters' living legacy.

Some other changes are on the horizon with the retirement of three outstanding teachers: Connie Colon, Francie Cutter Sullivan and Kathy Hagerty. Through their decades of service to Visitation School, they have educated thousands of young people and modeled how to be thoughtful, intelligent, strong, articulate, passionate and resilient leaders. I will miss their classroom presence, their curricular contributions and their professional candor, and, of course, I wish them a joyful retirement and look forward to the many opportunities to celebrate with them in the days ahead.

Even with all of these changes afoot, there are some things about Vis that will never change: our unique Catholic Salesian charism, educational excellence, the meaningful ways we relate to one another, and the faith we have in each other as intelligent professionals who love our work and the young people in our care. People walk into our school and know that we respect and admire one another; they know we expect a lot from our students and believe in them; they experience how we welcome all and support one another as a community. Because of this foundation –combined with Visitation's long history and Salesian legacy, we solidly know who we are, and we can use that knowledge not as an anchor but as a rudder. It will steer us in the challenging yet fulfilling work of planning our future.

I am inspired by the work that has taken place this year. I look forward to sharing with you our updated mission and vision documents, and I appreciate your constructive insights as we work on our reaccreditation process. As always, I am excited at the prospect of what Visitation's future holds, and I know that, like Mother Nature, we will continue to grow, create, renew and thrive.

Thank you for your continued partnership as we educate our students. I wish you a happy, safe, restful summer and look forward to seeing you in the fall.

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