Strategic Plan 2019-2024

Since its founding in 1948, Riverside Presbyterian Day School has thrived as a pioneering and beloved school community that has embraced change and innovation while holding true to its mission, traditions, and values. Established as the first independent elementary school in Jacksonville, RPDS has continually grown and advanced by building on its founding principles, the strength and vision of the community, and the exceptional work and strategic efforts of the past.

As we look to the future, we are proud to present our new strategic plan. This bold and spirited plan takes a 5-year point of view and builds on our core beliefs relating to the all-important childhood years and the school’s many strengths and resources. Utilizing research, best practices, and the expertise of our talented school community, we will enrich and further strengthen our foundation, broaden the learning and the experiential opportunities for our students, develop and enhance a passionate and accomplished faculty and staff, provide a safe and engaging campus reflective of our dynamic, child-centered approach, and ensure accessibility and sustained institutional excellence for many years to come.

This comprehensive strategic plan is a recommitment to RPDS’s all-important mission to “educate the mind, nurture the spirit, and foster the development of the whole child.” It outlines our vision for the future and positions our community to pursue a path of continued growth and excellence. Together we will embark on this exciting journey, focusing our collective efforts on ensuring our children continue to emerge from the RPDS experience well prepared academically, ethically, socially and spiritually for lifelong success in a global society.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership and helping us to realize our vision and goals.

Ben Ketchum
Head of School

John-Paul Saenz
President, RPDS Board of Trustees

Strategic Goals and Priorities


Goal: Promote and strengthen RPDS’s sense of community, ensuring connectedness and inclusion among its members and providing opportunities for all constituencies to become involved in the life of the school.


    • Continue to cultivate and promote a school community that is welcoming, inclusive, and values the uniqueness each member brings to the RPDS family
    • Continue to grow relationships with members of the wider community by engaging with alumni, parents, and others
    • Enhance communications with all constituency groups by articulating RPDS’s dynamic student-centered approach to early childhood and elementary education
    • Safeguard and nurture the relationship with Riverside Presbyterian Church (RPC) through open communication, understanding, and collaboration
    • Build on diversity efforts reflective of our mission and core beliefs, while broadening efforts to attract students and faculty with diverse perspectives and from underrepresented communities


Goal: Enhance the stimulating and challenging curriculum to ensure students are well prepared for the future and positioned to thrive as conscientious citizens in a global society.


    • Evaluate and update all curricular areas through an intentional review process to remain at the forefront of elementary education, including a review of best practices related to technology integration
    • Increase experiential opportunities for students by utilizing the adjunct resources of the local and surrounding areas to enrich the school-wide curriculum and student experiences
    • Ensure innovative pedagogy and programming that are responsive to the various needs of our students, foster the development of the whole child, and nurture them intellectually, ethically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally
    • Provide students with a rich experience in which diversity, global competencies, and deep-thinking practices are interwoven into the curriculum
    • Ensure auxiliary programing, current and future, remains varied and continues to meet the needs and interests of students and families


Goal: Attract, support, and retain an exemplary faculty and staff who live the mission, seek innovative approaches to education, and prepare students to live lives of intellectual curiosity, integrity, empathy, and service.


    • Advance the current robust professional development program to support faculty growth and highly effective teaching practices
    • Provide faculty with resources to meet the needs of diverse learners
    • Align teaching with current research and best practices related to students’ cognitive, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional well-being
    • Ensure the school remains deliberate in seeking innovative ways to attract, retain, and develop exceptional talent
    • Ensure staffing meets the broad needs of students and the academic program


Goal: Ensure institutional stability and accessibility through strategic marketing and enrollment management, developing a strong culture of philanthropy, and maintaining disciplined financial management.


    • Continue 3-year fiscal planning and consistent annual reviews with long-term projections, accounting for both internal and external influences
    • Ensure admissions, communications, and marketing efforts are strategically aligned and effectively highlight RPDS’s value proposition and signature programs
    • Cultivate a community that understands the importance of philanthropy to yield increased support for all development efforts
    • Increase annual giving and expand endowments to support financial assistance, minimize tuition increases, and fund strategic initiatives


Goal: Provide a welcoming, safe campus that optimizes the physical space and facilities to support the needs of the community.


    • Work collaboratively with RPC to prioritize and advance common campus goals
    • Develop a comprehensive campus master plan that focuses on ensuring the campus is safe, secure, welcoming, and purposefully supports the educational and programming needs
    • Communicate significant elements of campus planning to the RPDS and RPC communities
    • Identify and implement a strategy and capital fundraising plan to support new spaces, increased security, and facility initiatives


Goal: Work collaboratively and strategically to ensure the strength and stability of RPDS by upholding the mission and adhering to sound governance principles.


    • Maintain a Board of Trustees that reflects the mission, vision, and values of the school through proactive succession planning
    • Ensure the Board of Trustees promotes all aspects of diversity
    • Demonstrate leadership in advancement efforts
    • Review the RPDS mission and philosophy
    • Inform the RPDS community on the role and the responsibilities of the Board of Trustees
    • Review and evaluate the board bylaws to ensure effectiveness and stewardship of resources and the mission