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Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan represents the contribution of many participants within the TJ community (including parents, faculty, students and alumni) who thoughtfully consider how TJ can build on its strong foundation and continue to improve the world-class education it provides to students.

Read the plan

Strategic Plan Objectives

The five main strategic plan objectives are:

  1. The Program
  2. The Faculty
  3. Community
  4. Finance and Development
  5. Campus Facilities

Our School's Mission

Through a dedication to academic excellence, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School stands accountable for educating students to make the most of their abilities. The School educated students to:

  • acquire and refine essential academic knowledge and skills
  • cultivate an appreciation of the arts
  • develop lifelong fitness skills
  • assume responsibility of their behavior
  • seek out challenge
  • welcome criticism
  • test new capacities
  • practice self-discipline
  • find joy in learning

The School will maintain and continually review its traditional liberal arts program (including co-curricular and extra-curricular activities) designed to execute the Mission of the School, and to graduate critically-thinking leaders who are well-rounded and engaged citizens capable of succeeding not only in college but also in life. 

The School seeks to educate students to make the most of their abilities through a dedication to academic excellence. The School believes that a classic liberal arts program taught by world-class teachers engages students in inquiry and growth and enables them to understand and appreciate the world around them.    Through the successful completion of the School’s college preparatory program, students will acquire and refine essential academic knowledge and skills; cultivate an appreciation of the arts; develop lifelong fitness skills; assume responsibility for their behavior; seek out challenge; welcome criticism; test new capacities; practice self-discipline; and find joy in learning.  Appropriate extra-and co-curricular activities are designed to enrich and support the School’s program and add to the development of, among others, sportsmanship, leadership, cooperation, resiliency, community engagement, and life skills.


Liberal Arts for the 21st Century  

  • Articulate and educate all constituencies about:
    • The meaning and rationale for TJ’s commitment to a classical liberal arts education and its relevance to 21st Century education and the direct correlation to the fulfillment of the Mission of the School.
    • Rationale for ‘scope and sequence’ of curriculum – allocation of time and resources to different disciplines; rationale for timing of introduction of various subjects.
    • The relationship between character development and classical liberal arts education.
  • Relevancy
    • Educate students to understand and appreciate the practical application of essential knowledge to their lives and participation in civil society.
    • Develop opportunities to expose students to practical applications of their studies through internships, mentorships, interactions with professionals (assemblies), and classroom discussions.
  • Cultivate lifelong learners dedicated to intellectual rigor and who:
    • Critically challenge their world as principled and engaged citizen leaders;
    • Strengthen their minds through an enduring commitment to fitness; and
    • Exemplify the value of a classic liberal arts education.

Academic Excellence 

  • Regularly review academic standards and curriculum.
  • Ensure a well-coordinated and cohesive curriculum and – scope and sequence – to promote consistency throughout the program, and ensure that the content is fully aligned with the Mission of the School through annual review.
  • Vertically and horizontally integrate the curriculum to promote interdisciplinary studies.
  • Provide appropriate mix of elective and clinical offerings, opportunities for engagement in the broader Joplin community, and after-school clubs.
  • Balance development of academic skills, essential knowledge, critical thinking and standardized test prep.
  • Maintain balance between academic expectations and rigor and age appropriate work load.

Citizenship – developing principled and engaged citizen leaders  

  • Incorporate the values of the Honor Code into all aspects of the program and student life.
  • Students will explore and understand the basic components of US citizenship and relevance of citizenship in their lives.

College Preparation and Counseling  

  • Provide world-class individualized college counseling and preparation, including standardized test preparation, education and support regarding the college selection and admissions process, to all students and their families.
  • Prepare students for all aspects of college:  time management; budgeting and financial management; social – challenges of living away from home, saying ‘no,’ and staying ‘safe.’

The School will recruit, develop, and retain a world-class faculty dedicated to the education of students and supported by a committed and qualified administration and staff who wholly support and carry out the Mission of the School. 

The School believes that an excellent, highly qualified, and committed faculty, administration, and staff who actively support the School’s Mission and program are its greatest asset. As role models to students, each member of the faculty must be dedicated to academic excellence, exemplify intellectual curiosity and joy in learning, and seek out challenge through continuous and meaningful professional development. Faculty members must be devoted to students and effectively challenge and encourage students to make the most of their abilities, be accountable for student progress, and engage in effective communication with parents and students.  All employees of the School must actively support the School’s Honor Code by exemplifying its values in word and deed and fully engaging in its application to all situations. All employees will welcome criticism and engage in self-reflection, maintain collegial relationships, understand the meaning and importance of an independent education, set a standard of inclusivity and respect, and demonstrate a dedication to truth, integrity, and self-discipline.  Employees of the School will be ambassadors to our constituents and to the community at large.



  • The School will continuously assess the instructional needs in each grade, division and discipline and will ensure effective teaching by identifying, recruiting, evaluating, developing, and retaining outstanding teachers who support the School’s Mission.
  • Not only will faculty serve as role models to students and exemplify academic excellence, they will fully participate in the life of the School, including as athletic and academic coaches and sponsors of student clubs.  

Professional Development and Mentorship 

  • Require, support, and fund a professional development program to enhance and promote:
  • Subject matter expertise;
  • Methodological and pedagogical competencies;
  • Membership and participation in professional organizations;
  • Pursuit of higher level of educational achievement.
  • Maintain an effective orientation and training program for new and existing employees designed to clearly and effectively communicate the School’s Mission, the Strategic Plan, current policies and procedures, an understanding of the importance of an independent school education and the unique ethos of independent schools, and the roles and responsibilities of each constituency within the School community.


  • Define and articulate the skills, knowledge, and behaviors that constitute excellent teaching at Thomas Jefferson.

Ambassadors and Pro-Active Advocates for the School 

  • Enable teachers to be effective ambassadors and advocates for the School.

Evaluation and Compensation 

  • Maintain a rigorous and effective evaluation process for faculty, staff, and administration based on the articulated standard of excellence (and using both objective and subjective measures and incorporating reviews by appropriate constituencies) that holds teachers accountable for their performance on an annual basis.
  • Ensure that compensation is equitable and competitive.

Thomas Jefferson will continue to be a safe and vibrant learning community comprised of students who will embody the Mission of the School, actively participate in their own education, and contribute to the vitality of the School. The School will foster, celebrate, and sustain a community of students, parents, faculty and administrators that is strong, supportive, and inclusive based on a commitment to the TJ Mission, shared educational values, tolerance and respect for self and others.  The School will maintain and enhance the active involvement in the community by alumni, alumni parents, and friends of Thomas Jefferson.  The School will achieve a critical mass of qualified students to achieve a healthy and vibrant community, and welcome new members with enthusiasm. 

Thomas Jefferson exists to provide each and every student with an outstanding education as articulated in the School’s Mission.  A critical mass of qualified students is necessary to accomplish the School’s Mission and to support its programs. The quality of the educational experience depends heavily upon the student body — its aptitude, initiative, intellectual curiosity, and willingness to put forth effort in pursuit of the joys of accomplishment. A strong sense of community shared by all constituencies is essential and fosters an environment where students feel valued and encouraged to make the most of their abilities. Successful academic, artistic, and athletic programs enhance a sense of school pride. The School must create and maintain an atmosphere where hard work, moral character, fair play, and participation in school activities are expected and valued for which high standards are encouraged, respected, and recognized. 



  • Promote a sense of ownership of the School’s Mission and awareness of the School’s rules and policies, goals, and current activities among all constituencies through communication, education, and modeling.
  • Maintain and enhance character education programs and respect for the Honor Code. 

Ambassadors and Mentors 

  • Educate and encourage all constituencies to be knowledgeable ambassadors and active advocates within the School and the broader community.
  • Develop student leaders who are mentors to younger students.

Volunteerism and Stewardship 

  • Educate and involve all parents in appropriate volunteer opportunities.
  • The School will draw upon parents, faculty and staff, and community member knowledge and skills to appropriately support the program.
  • Identify and enable additional meaningful student opportunities for engagement in the broader community through programs and service.
  • Educate parents on the appropriate resources and strategies to support their child’s progress through the program.


  • Plan and provide for growth up to a critical mass of qualified students that preserves the close-knit nature and academic quality of the TJ community, while sustaining the School’s core strengths of individual attention to each student and appropriate student: faculty ratios.  Continue the School’s policy of allowing all students to participate in School programs and activities while providing for wider social opportunities for students.


  • Preserve a sense of community that is rich in tradition and history and acknowledges the bonds within the community.
  • Celebrate existing traditions and establish new traditions that enrich the life of the School.

Alumni, Alumni Parents, and Friends 

  • Foster meaningful relationships with alumni and alumni parents, and friends of TJ, and facilitate their ongoing active participation in the life of the School through volunteerism, stewardship and philanthropy.


  • All constituencies of the School will actively welcome, educate, and integrate new members to the TJ community and engage them in the life of the School.


  • Effectively communicate to all constituencies of the School an awareness of all important information about the program, faculty, and student life.The School will continuously assess the instructional needs in each grade, division and discipline and will ensure effective teaching by identifying, recruiting, evaluating, developing, and retaining outstanding teachers who support the School’s Mission.
  • Not only will faculty serve as role models to students and exemplify academic excellence, they will fully participate in the life of the School, including as athletic and academic coaches and sponsors of student clubs.

The School will achieve broad-based financial support through a combination of tuition and philanthropy necessary to ensure its long-term sustainability, fulfill the School’s Mission, and support the priorities of the Strategic Plan.

A sustainable financial plan based on both tuition and broad philanthropic support are essential to the School’s success and to providing the resources required to support its Mission and provide a world-class education to its students.


Education and Communication 

  • Effectively educate constituents about the School’s finances and the philanthropic opportunities, the need for financial stewardship, and the value proposition the school offers.
  • Provide regular, simple, and specific communications concerning school finances to constituents.

Stewardship and Philanthropy 

  • Broaden the philanthropic base of people and funding both within and beyond the immediate school community through effective communication and development efforts. 
  • Initiate systematic and focused fundraising including:
    • Annual Giving – develop and execute a plan to maximize annual giving from all sources to not only cover current operating deficits but enable the expansion of opportunities for students.
    • Scholarships – Develop and execute a plan to attract endowed scholarship funds to offset financial aid expenses.
    • Endowment – Develop and execute a plan to attract long-term endowment funding with goals over time and legacy opportunities.
    • Planned Giving – Develop and communicate opportunities for planned giving.
    • Grants – Pursue grants from appropriate non-public outside sources.
    • Capital Projects – Plan and execute capital campaigns as necessary and appropriate to support needed facility improvements and additions.

Affordability and Enrollment 

  • Maintain tuition and financial aid at levels that will maximize the School’s ability to attract and retain a sufficient number of qualified students to cover the School’s expenses and maximize income to support its program and facilities.
  • Appropriately invest in programs and marketing to maximize enrollment of qualified students based on current capacity.
  • Continuously and systematically review and eliminate all costs that do not support the priorities of the Mission and Strategic Plan.

The School will provide a welcoming and safe physical environment, meeting both enrollment and program requirements, which fosters a love of learning, community, and supports the School’s Mission.

The School believes that an inviting and safe learning environment directly supports the successful execution of its Mission.   As the representative for educational excellence in the community, the School must continuously maintain, and as appropriate, seek to improve its existing facilities.  It must also develop new facilities, as necessary, to support growth and program enhancement. 



  • Keep safety a top priority by actively continuing the efforts of the faculty and administration to ensure regular evaluation of facility safety, disaster preparedness, crisis management, and emergency procedures.
  • Educate all constituencies about the School’s safety protocols and their respective roles and responsibilities with respect to school safety and the need to work together as a community to ensure a safe environment.

Community Pride of Ownership 

  • Develop and execute methods to promote appreciation and respect for School property and to conserve and maintain School resources.


  • Continually evaluate current usage of the School’s facilities to optimize use of space in accordance with the School’s priorities and physical needs.

Facilities Planning 

  • Develop a prioritized comprehensive capital maintenance plan for existing facilities that includes reserving funds for the repair, maintenance, and replacement of school systems and facilities such as heating and cooling units, athletic facilities, and other integral parts of the school’s physical plant.



TJ is an important part of the community, not only because of the educational program it provides, but because of the impact the school has on families and businesses in the entire Four-States region.