Strategic Plan – Current Update
Our mission remains unchanged from when the OrKidstra program started in 2007: “to provide children from lower-income neighbourhoods in Ottawa with group and individual music lessons and instruments and the opportunity to learn important life skills such as respect, compassion, teamwork, responsibility and self-confidence through playing and singing together”.
Our primary focus remains to enrich after-school opportunities for children, aged 5 to 18. We do so by delivering our music programs autonomously – our traditional practice – and, where such opportunities arise, as part of a suite of after-school programs operated by various community organizations. We also welcome schools and local community organizations willing to deliver OrKidstra programs on a shared-cost basis or at their own expense.
The challenges and opportunities we face are essentially four-fold:
- to reach more children by using our now-considerable experience to expand the geographic reach of our programs and the variety of our program content;
- to work more closely with schools and other community organizations in their current efforts to enrich the after-school environment for children – and to explore other potential program delivery models;
- to develop further teacher-training initiatives and pedagogical tools both to meet our own program delivery needs and to serve as a potential future revenue stream should others wish to deliver our programs; and
- to secure a financial base adequate to support our program expansion objectives.
Our strategic planning priorities for the period 2015 – 2019 can be summarized as follows:
1. BEGIN NOW TO EXPAND OUR GEOGRAPHIC REACH INTO THE SANDY HILL, VANIER AND OVERBROOK COMMUNITIES. Our plans are four-fold:
(i) to consolidate our current programs in Centretown – at the Bronson Centre and Centennial, Cambridge Street and, recently added, St Anthony’s School – increasing the emphasis on after-school programming;
(ii) to expand and consolidate in Sandy Hill, with OrKidstra programming at Viscount Alexander School, (in school programming began in September 2015, after-school in January 2016) and subsequently forge links with the mature programs already in place at York Street School – as part of a Lowertown/Sandy Hill “cluster”;
(iii) to build from the in-school programming (began in January 2016) to developing after-school programming in spring and fall 2016 in a new Vanier/Overbrook program “cluster” in that neighbourhood, potentially in a consolidated manner with the local Boys and Girl Club; and
(iv) to forge links with like-minded community organizations similarly engaged in enriching after-school opportunities for children in our communities of focus. Our long-term goal remains to see a suite of OrKidstra programs operating throughout the city of Ottawa. This will necessarily depend on available financial resources and perhaps creative transportation arrangements.
2. CONTINUE INNOVATION AND EXPANSION OF PROGRAM CONTENT – TO INCREASE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT.
We will continue to build on our core introductory KiddlyWinks and choral music programs at all our program sites, while introducing brass/band instruments as the focus of introductory instrumental programming in Vanier/Overbrook, complementing the focus on string instruments in our programming in Centretown and Sandy Hill. We also aim to pilot new program content – such as drums/percussion, slam poetry/rap, ukulele – to be added to the suite of OrKidstra programming or delivered in partnership with others.
3. WORK WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD ON POST-PILOT RELATIONSHIP AND POTENTIAL FUTURE SUPPORT.
We plan to develop and test a six-to-ten week KiddlyWinks program module for use during school hours which might serve as a replacement for the full-year model used in our current pilot with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. The shorter program module is expected to serve as a catalyst to encourage participation in complementary after-school OrKidstra programming. We also aim to organize this spring, ideally with support from the School Board and the Federation of Elementary School Teachers, a professional development session focused on OrKidstra programming. We will discuss with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board the results of the above-noted initiatives and develop proposals for the Board’s ongoing cooperation and support.
4. CONTINUE TO BUILD ON OUR DECENTRALIZED, COMMUNITY-ANCHORED PROGRAM DELIVERY MODEL.
We plan to supplement our school-based programming model with additional community-facility-based programming. An immediate opportunity is to work with the local Boys and Girls Club to help introduce OrKidstra programming in the Vanier/Overbrook area. Longer-term initiatives could include identification of future “neighbourhood hubs” and “OrKidstra Community Centres” in the three Ottawa communities in which we aim to operate programs. .
5. INTENSIFY OUR COMMUNITY OUTREACH ACTIVITY AND EXPLORE OTHER PROGRAM DELIVERY OPTIONS.
We will sustain our recent “community outreach” dialogue with a broad range of schools, school board officials and community organizations in our targeted neighbourhoods of Centretown, Lowertown/Sandy Hill and Vanier/Overbrook. We also plan to assess other program delivery models, additional partnerships and alternative financing mechanisms. This could include an option in which administrative and pedagogical expertise, training and program monitoring could be provided by us to organizations willing and able to take on responsibility for program delivery on a shared-cost basis or at their own expense.
6. DEVELOP TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAMS AND PEDOGOGICAL PRODUCTS – BOTH TO MEET OUR OWN NEEDS AND POTENTIALLY AS A REVENUE SOURCE WHEN USED BY OTHERS.
We will continue to develop teacher-training programs and additional pedagogical material to meet our own anticipated longer-term OrKidstra program delivery needs – and to assess the potential interest in such of the part of others engaged in music education. We will also ensure appropriate proprietary protection for our pedagogical products.
7. EXPAND OUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT BASE – THROUGH A STRATEGIC MARKETING PLAN.
We aim to increase the size and sustainability of the organization’s financial base through a variety of branding, awareness-raising and donor development initiatives. This will include implementing recommendations of the Strategic Marketing Plan conducted by Seven Consulting, students of the 2016 Executive MBA program at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management.
8. BUILD OUR ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITY AND ENSURE FIRST-CLASS MANAGEMENT PRACTICES.
We will continue recent initiatives to identify and encourage pursuit of professional development opportunities, to consolidate information materials and training manuals, to ensure that teachers, mentors and volunteers are given a voice with the organization and that their training needs are identified and addressed. We also plan to develop operational plans and budgets for the next two years as well as an assessment of the budget and human resources likely required over the next five years to implement the Strategic Plan.
With waiting lists already growing, this Plan foresees a welcome 50% increase (from 250 to 375) in the number of children participating in OrKidstra programs over the next two years. It also suggests the potential for a further 75% increase (to 650 children) by 2017-18, depending on the state of financial support and potential new partnerships.
A COMMUNITY-BASED DELIVERY MODEL FOR ORKIDSTRA PROGRAMMING
The OrKidstra program is offered to children from the age of five to eighteen and includes:
- KiddlyWinks (a music and movement program, involving singing, dancing, recorder and xylophone for children ages 5 to 8);
- KidSingers Choirs (organized by age, experience and commitment)
- KidStringers, a string program (with junior, intermediate and senior levels based on experience & commitment)
- KidPlayers, a band program (with junior, intermediate and senior levels based on experience & commitment)