Head's Corner, May 22, 2013

May 22, 2013

Greetings CMS Families,

We hope that you are well and managing the fast pace that the end of the school year promises.  We have quite a few activities for the next few weeks so please get ready for the ride.  This week we have the Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle School Arts Celebration on Thursday evening and Grandparents and Special Friend Day on Friday.  There is never a shortage of community building options at CMS. We hope to see you this week! A happy community is a great indicator of a healthy organization.

This past fall we began the implementation process of the strategic plan. (Posted on the CMS website)  As this school year comes closer to an end, it is the perfect time to reflect on our progress, identify new outcomes for next year, measure and celebrate our accomplishments and determine whether the majority of our community is happy.

I have spent the last few months meeting with faculty members individually and in small groups.  I have also done the same with parents.  The purpose of the meetings is to get better acquainted with the community and find out what we can do to improve the CMS experience. I learned so much about our faculty and families.  Recently, I met with parents of a lower elementary student who gave me both positive and constructive feedback.  As human nature would have it, I immediately honed in on the constructive feedback; nevermind that they raved about the school and shared how happy they and their son was.  They are a delightful couple with a great sense of humor.  Before they left, the dad said “when you write your Head’s Corner, could you please just tell us what you want us to know immediately because I don’t always have time to read more.”  I had a Chris Rock moment  (things are going on in my head that I dare not say out loud).  Then I had a Stella (current parent) moment, I took a deep breath and then I realized that if that is their constructive feedback, I’m good with that (vernacularly speaking).

So here goes, Pierre.  We have accomplished a whole lot this year.  CMS has already hit its budgeted enrollment for the 2013-14 school year, which is an unprecedented accomplishment for this time of year.  We have an 86% retention rate, the highest the school has had in over a decade.  Our new Learning Center has served almost every student in the school at no additional cost, while providing teachers the tools they need to work with a range of students.  Our fabulous faculty has completed well over 1000 hours in Professional Development.  The Wellness Committee, a new committee that was formed upon my arrival and lead by Nurse Liz and a superb committee, had tremendous success with healthy initiatives such as BOKS, healthy lunch challenge, faculty Pilates classes and health and wellness faculty meetings.  The Parents Association was revitalized.  The new PA has a major presence in the community and they have created countless well-attended events for CMS families.  We have a healthy financial position (we could always increase our Annual Fund) and our community continues to thrive.  I could go on, but I decided it would be best to provide an in-depth report that will measure the Strategic Plan outcomes before the end of this school year.

These accomplishments are the result of a committed team of CMS faculty, administrators, parents and the Board of Trustees.  We all have a common goal, to serve our students.  Today I was asked to join a few independent Heads of School to meet with best selling author and customer loyalty guru Fred Reichheld.  He is a former fellow at Bain & Company in New York and is the author of The Loyalty Effect, published by Harvard Business School Press.  He has also published numerous articles in the Harvard Business Review.  He and Rob Markey, a partner at Bain and the head of the firm’s Global Customer Strategy and Marketing practice joined forces to write The Ultimate Question 2.0: How NET PROMOTER Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World.

The book is a phenomenal read and basically asks customers a simple question.  “Would you recommend us to a friend?”  They base the scores on a scale of zero to ten. They identified three types of customers, Promoters, Passives and Detractors.  Promoters give the highest scores. They strengthen your company with positive word of mouth and help generate profitable sustainable growth.  They are loyal supporters. Passives give moderate scores.  They are passively satisfied customers, not loyal ones and they have blasé attitudes and behaviors toward the company. They may make qualified referrals and are likely to defect.  Detractors give the lowest scores. Their scores indicate that their lives have been diminished by their dealings with the company.  They are not a happy crew.  They bad-mouth the company to their friends and families.  They are dissatisfied and disaffected.  They constantly complain, driving up company costs while their surly behavior destroys employee motivation and pride (Riechheld, p.4-6).  Companies and schools share the same types of customers.  Mr. Riechheld is interested in learning more about customer satisfaction in schools.

While we have made tremendous strides in our outcomes, and have the metrics to support our success, I want to ask you the simple question. On a scale of 0-10, would you recommend CMS to a friend?  Are you a Promoter, Passive or a Detractor? I am excited to participate in the discussion with Mr. Reichheld and fellow Heads of Schools.  I am pleased with our accomplishments at CMS, however what ultimately matters is where you fall on the Reichheld Scale Factor.  I want all of our families in the Promoter category.  Actually, we want our entire CMS community in that category.  Possible, yes.  Likely, yes.  Goal for next year, yes.  I will give you an update after my meeting.  In the meantime, let’s just bask in the glory of our accomplishments. 

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t extend love, empathy and our condolences to the tornado victims in Oklahoma.  On a scale of 0-10, my heart and prayers for them is a 10+.   Have a phenomenal week!

Warm regards,




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