Strategic Plan 2020

We are excited to share with you the product of 18 months of collaboration between the Board of Trust, the parents, faculty and staff, alumni, and students.

The process included inviting the entire community of stakeholders to participate in a Strengths survey. The response was overwhelming with many suggestions. The next step included holding a two day retreat to explore the topics brought out of the survey and to craft these six over-arching goals. Each goal was painstakingly refined and priorities were then identified to fulfill these goals. Over the next five years it is the charge of the administration to pursue these goals through specific tactics and strategies. Regular updates will be shared with the entire community as progress continues.

With the oversight of the Winkler group, we produced this final plan approved in January of 2020 by the Board of Trust. This plan will be our roadmap for the next five years and has a strategic focus in six areas:

Strategic Goal #1

Catholic Identity

Ensure the continuance and deepening of a strong Catholic identity
as an integral part of the mission of the school.

St. Bernard Academy is an independent Catholic school, an active member of the National Catholic Education Association, partner with Mercy Education System of the Americas, and partner with the Diocesan schools of Nashville. While our identity is recognized by the Catholic Church, the faith traditions of our student population are quite diverse. The SBA school community is committed to fostering compassion and respect in addition to recognizing the individual qualities of each student.

Strategic Objectives:
  • Evaluate mission, values, and external communications strategy as it relates to Catholic identity and culture.
  • Continue to recognize the influence of and engage the Sisters of Mercy.
  • Develop a plan to enhance the catechetical and theological teachings at all levels.
  • Enhance Catholic Social teaching.
  • Maintain a welcoming environment for families of all faith traditions.

Strategic Goal #2

Rigorous Academics

Maintain rigorous academic programs and develop robust curricular options.

At St. Bernard Academy, we expect our faculty to cultivate academic excellence, with higher order thinking skills, problem solving abilities, and inquiry-based experiences. As we continue to strengthen our academic offerings and enrich our instructional practices, we ensure that each grade and unit fully prepares our students for the next level, and that our graduates are well equipped for their journey through college, work, and life beyond.

Strategic Objectives:
  • Maintain a low student to teacher ratio and small class sizes.
  • Develop opportunities for creativity, risk taking, and innovation across all disciplines. 
  • Evaluate program offerings to ensure students reap the greatest benefits.
  • Expose students to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) applications
  • and other experiential learning opportunities schoolwide.
  • Expand opportunities for increased participation in the arts.
  • Enhance writing opportunities across all disciplines.

Strategic Goal #3

Student Experience

Develop a plan to nurture the gifts of body, mind, and spirit of SBA students.

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Student life at St. Bernard Academy is centered in the development of the whole child.  Not only are we aware of each child’s academic development but we are intentional about placing emphasis on their physical, emotional, and spiritual development as well as a commitment to service. This is accomplished through a variety of programs presented not only by the counseling staff but also by the teaching staff. Additional activities, like our little buddies program, are presented to build a sense of community and belonging.

Strategic Objectives:
  • Incorporate health and wellness in each student’s experience.
  • Include access to social emotional instruction to all students
  • Increase faculty and staff knowledge and understanding of child development and best practices at respective grade levels.
  • Incorporate best practices through the Student Services Department in support of all students and families.

Strategic Goal #4

Financial Stability

Stay financially disciplined while growing responsibly as a Catholic School.

Independent schools, like St. Bernard Academy, must plan for financial stability for future needs but must additionally find a balance between several competing issues. Compensation must remain competitive and tuition levels regarded as reasonable; the school must remain accessible to a variety of groups including religious and socio-economic ones in order to provide for diversity in all of its forms to continue the Mercy Catholic tradition. All academic and co-curricular programs must be engaging and challenging; the campus and facilities need to reflect the ever changing appeal and site improvements must be planned and monitored; long term financial stability must be secured.

Strategic Objectives:
  • Cap the student population to a size that the current physical facilities and administrative infrastructure can comfortably accommodate.
  • Establish a multi-year tuition management plan that maintains a competitive advantage in the marketplace, keeps revenue ahead of expenses and allows for reasonable unexpected economic impact
  • Contain costs and seek sustainable non-tuition, non-grant sources of revenue. Balance growth of community, needs and programs with expenses.
  • Maintain financial reserves in accordance with the SBA Board of Trust by-laws and lender covenants, while paying down debt as our cash position allows.
  • Conduct a deliberate evaluation of the current physical plant, focusing on optimization
    of use, updating and modernizing and low-cost opportunities for growth.
  • Proactively communicate the financial well-being of the school, including current and future costs, financial obligations, revenue and sources of funds projected to maintain the superior educational value and services provided.

Strategic Goal #5


Foster an environment that encourages and respects diversity
in all areas including socio-economic status, religion, race,
culture, gender and thought.

St. Bernard Academy is recognized by the Diocese of Nashville as an independent Catholic school. SBA enjoys a professional working relationship with the diocese and at times will share resources. SBA is an active member of National Catholic Education Association and receives students of all faith traditions fostering a welcoming environment of respect, kindness and compassion. It should be noted that our overall student population is quite diverse and the academy recognizes the uniqueness of each child. 

Strategic Objectives:
  • Pursue opportunities for increases in diversity among the student body, faculty
    and staff and the Board of Trustees.
  • Ensure integration of diverse narratives and perspectives into academic curriculum
    and co-curricular activities.
  • Expose all SBA students to principles around social justice and global
    and local citizenship.
  • Engage local, diverse communities to create partnerships.
  • Enhance writing opportunities across all disciplines.

Strategic Goal #6

High Quality Faculty

Recruit and retain a high quality, diverse faculty and staff.

St. Bernard Academy recognizes that the success of the students is related to an experienced and talented teaching faculty.  It is therefore incumbent upon the school to recruit and retain such individuals while providing for their professional growth and continued development.  Every effort will be made to identify and retain these mission appropriate individuals.

Strategic Objectives:
  • Develop a formal teacher recruitment plan that identifies and provides means to
    recruit the best faculty and staff.
  • Develop and implement a plan to retain a high performing faculty and staff. 

Over the next five years it is the charge of the administration to pursue these goals through specific tactics and strategies.

Regular updates will be shared with the entire community as progress continues. The process also allows for any plan adaptations that need immediate attention and any changes will be communicated as well.

To download the 2020 Strategic Plan, click here.