Strategic Master Plan

Dear Friends,

Much has changed since the first Sisters of Charity of Nazareth arrived at the dock in Leonardtown in the late 1800s to begin a Catholic school. St. Mary's Ryken is strong today because of the legacy we have received from them and from the Xaverian Brothers.

To successfully fulfill our mission, we have been vigilant in meeting the needs of our students and our campus: we have broadened Advanced Placement (AP) courses; enhanced the curriculums in the math and science departments; expanded enrichment programs in student activities, fine arts and athletics; and have kept our campus and classroom technology up-to-date. Today, all of the campus is wireless, all faculty have laptops and iPads, and all classrooms are outfitted with interactive smart boards.

Our record for academic excellence is strong and students continue to be accepted into their first choice colleges across the country, and we have seen a steady increase in enrollment. We remain proud of the outstanding service our students and alums dedicate themselves to throughout the world. They embody a voice that understands clearly what “falling in love with the service of God” means.

But, now, it is time for us to commit seriously to our future.

Over the past few years, we have honed our strategic plan. We must continue to focus on providing excellence in college preparatory programs and attracting and retaining the very best teachers. We must have new facilities for our growing student population. We must upgrade a physical plant that has been in constant use for over 50 years. We must maintain our beautiful campus. We must grow a healthy endowment to continue the tradition of Catholic education in Southern Maryland and assure that every student, who desires it, has an opportunity for a St. Mary's Ryken education.

To this end we designed a strategic master plan, which took shape because of a rigorous self-study process and the dedicated work of board members, parents, alumni, students, faculty and administrators.

First and foremost, we examined our identity as a Catholic college preparatory Xaverian Brothers sponsored school through the Mission Effectiveness Study, which is used by all thirteen Xaverian Brothers high schools. This study examined six broad areas to identify how St. Mary’s Ryken consciously brings our mission to life on campus.


Second, we surveyed parents, alumni, students and faculty, through a second self-study in preparation for the Middle States reaccreditation process.


Using the results of these two self-studies, the board of directors identified five important goals for the future of St. Mary’s Ryken. Once goals were identified, key strategies were designed. Please keep in mind that we have achieved much since the strategic plan goals were formed, but we still have much to accomplish.

It is the strength of our faith, the history of our tradition, and the power of our legacy that leads us to build the foundation for tomorrow.




Mary Joy Hurlburt


Strategic Plan Goals

Goal 1: Educate the Whole Person

Prepare every student for a lifetime of growth in faith, academics, leadership, and community.

Key Strategies:

Responding to our Mission Effectiveness Study, St. Mary's Ryken will

  1. enhance the Campus Ministry program to be a vital part of our students' lives. (UPDATE: The Greene Murphy Campus Ministry Center opened in September 2012 and serves as a hub for the expanded offerings of the Campus Ministry program.)
  2. re-evaluate the Ryken Program in light of the latest educational best practices and ensure that the program serves the needs of students with learning differences so that they can excel withiin the college preparatory curriculum.
  3. emphasize a healthy lifestyle by hiring a full-time nurse. (UPDATE: A nurse's suite was constructed and a full-time nurse was hired during the summer of 2012.)
  4. develop a strategic technology master plan, which will enhance teaching and student learning across the curriculum.

Building on our college preparatory curriculum that is comprehensive, rigorous and intellectually challenging, St. Mary's Ryken will:

  1. continue to improve standardized test scores.
  2. add a non-western foreign language. (UPDATE: Chinese was added to the World Languages program in fall 2010.)
  3. enhance the course offerings in the fine arts department.
  4. continue to develop AP (Advanced Placement) programs.
  5. ensure that the curriculum reflects global awareness and social justice.
Goal 2: Reaffirming Our Faculty

To draw, to hold and to sustain the strongest possible faculty who will be committed to the Xaverian philosophy of education and to fulfilling the mission of St. Mary's Ryken.

Key Strategies:

  1. Maintain salaries and benefits that are on a competitive level regionally and build greater predictability and clarity to compensation for faculty and staff.
  2. Provide a professional development educator to maximize student learning and best practices for teachers. Encourage innovative teaching methodology and curriculum development.
  3. Expand opportunities for faculty, staff and administrators to remain at the top of their profession. Encourage, support and nurture individual professional growth, department and cross-curricular growth and school-wide initiatives by developing a cohesive professional development plan to expand over the next five years.
  4. Research, identify and support educational initiatives that provide school-wide growth in cooperation with the leadership in the local business community and the Patuxent Naval Air Station. Establish partnerships with institutions of higher learning (i.e. St. Mary's College of Maryland, Catholic University, Mount St. Mary's University, University of Maryland). (UPDATE: The SMR STEM 100 program was implemented in the 2009-10 academic year. Engineers and scientists from the base conduct in-classroom lessons at SMR and students visit the naval base for more learning opportunities. The Xaverian Programs of Excellence (X-Pax magnet program) were implemented for the 2010-11 academic year and are four accelerated courses of study for advanced students.)
  5. Recognize and reward outstanding performance and accomplishments. Link the cohesive professional development plan to teacher supervision and evaluation.
Goal 3: Improving Our Facilities

Build, renovate and maintain facilities to enhance teaching and all learning experiences for our students.

Key Strategies:

  1. Construct a new athletic gym that will meet the growing needs of our student population while also meeting our vital need for a place where the entire school community can gather.
  2. Rebuild the track, upgrade fields and create a new turf field, which can be used by our outstanding student athletes in the competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and by the greater community.
  3. Complete the lower level of Romuald Hall to meet the growing needs of our band and choir programs. Enhance the sound and lighting system in the theater and upgrade handicap accessibility in the theater.
  4. Expand improvements made to the original classroom buildings that will provide a comfortable and safe learning environment.
  5. Build a science center that will consolidate the science classrooms and laboratory facilities in one area with state-of-the-art equipment and technologies. Build a new student center for students that includes an upgraded food service area and a completely upgraded kitchen.
Goal 4: Advancing Our Resources

Strengthen St. Mary's Ryken's financial foundation for the 21st century to ensure its position as a leader in Catholic college preparatory education.

Key Strategies:

  1. Secure capital endowment and annual fund support through a comprehensive campaign to accomplish the goals of the strategic plan.
  2. Strengthen the advancement efforts in the areas of cultivation and stewardship particularly for alumni.
  3. Develop an endowment to enable St. Mary's Ryken to sustain competitive compensation and professional development funding for faculty and staff.
  4. Develop endowments designated for financial aid, technology, campus beautification and building maintenance.
  5. Establish a long-range financial model that balances the current and future needs of the school and that will guide the annual budget decisions such as tuition.
Goal 5: Growing Our Enrollment

Sustain a thematic and comprehensive marketing program that targets enrollment audiences and communicates clearly the message of St. Mary's Ryken High School in Southern Maryland.

Key Strategies:

  1. Develop a strategic marketing plan that will assist the school in a comprehensive approach and visual image of publications and marketing materials. Know and understand the audience to whom the message will be delivered.
  2. Establish specific enrollment strategies for projected demographic growth in the Southern Maryland region over the next five to ten years.
  3. Develop and deliver a key core message centered on the mission of the school, which emphasizes St. Mary's Ryken's legacy of educating the whole person.
  4. Create a magnet program on leadership for students
  5. Develop a speaker series and guest faculty program in person and online, so that St. Mary's Ryken is recognized as a center of Catholic leadership and intellectual growth.