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Our Future in Focus Strategic Plan

Renewed Focus for a Bright Future

Milton Hershey School’s Our Future in Focus strategic plan, also known as the MILT Plan, identifies our priorities. It is a roadmap for the next five years, developed under the leadership and direction of President Pete Gurt ’85. We are proud of this MHS community effort, the result of extensive feedback from all corners of campus and beyond. Learn how we plan to move MHS forward from 2020-2025.

A Message from the President

Video Poster

Milton Hershey School founder, Milton S. Hershey, with a student.

Origins of the MILT Plan

When Milton and Catherine Hershey founded our school in 1909, they intended to give children with less more. For 110 years and counting, we have done that. Through this plan, our work continues. MHS will focus on four key areas:

  • Modeling Character and Well-Being
  • Innovating Career-Focused Education
  • Leveraging Impact
  • Teamwork to Strengthen Community Alignment and Engagement

Read on for details or download the PDF.


MHS student holding canvas

Celebrating Our Future in Focus

MHS usually starts school with a vibrant Opening of School Assembly. This all-school gathering reveals the year’s theme. Although COVID-19 shifted how we celebrated in 2020, excitement was just as high. The 2020-21 theme was special because of its tie to the MHS strategic plan, also launched in 2020.

See How We Celebrated
a group of circular icons in front of a building

Our Future in Focus: The MILT Plan

Milton Hershey School student athletes prepare for a game with their basketball coach.

Modeling Character and Well-Being

At Milton Hershey School, we are committed to preparing our students to enter the world after graduation equipped to thrive as self-sufficient adults who are thoughtful, compassionate, and ready to make a positive impact on their communities.

Goal 1:

Advance the Compass Project to equip students with Sacred Values-inspired character, skills, and work ethic to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

During the last strategic plan we...

  • Launched The Compass Project, our character and leadership development initiative.
  • Helped students of all ages discover their values and learn the necessary skills to become leaders and global citizens through this initiative.

The MILT plan will...

  • Continue to move MHS from a rules-based to a values-based culture built on mutual respect, integrity, positive spirit, and commitment.
  • Extend The Compass Project to all aspects of student life, expand The Compass Project and Sacred Values education among the MHS community, leverage partnerships, and expand student voice and leadership opportunities.
  • Provide students with the ability to live out the MHS Sacred Values along with the skills and work ethic to lead fulfilling and productive lives when they graduate.

In action...

  • Deepen impact of The Compass Project across all areas of student life.
  • Expand awareness of The Compass Project and ways to support student growth among parents/sponsors.
  • Refine tracking of student outcomes tied to character and social and emotional learning skills.
  • Grow The Compass Project support system among staff and external partners by expanding mentoring and community service programs.
  • Develop additional opportunities for student voice and leadership.
A Milton Hershey School student meets with her Graduate Programs for Success (GPS) counselor.

Innovating Career-Focused Education

Milton Hershey School has a long history of career-focused education. Since 1909, we have intentionally incorporated career training into our curriculum and in the process developed an award-winning Career and Technical Education program. As our world and the workforce continue to evolve, it is more important than ever that our school curriculum and career-readiness approach also evolve.

Goal 2:

Deliver relevant, experiential education and individualized learning pathways to prepare students, pre-K-12, for career success in a changing world.

Career-focused education allows...

  • Students to discover their strengths, interests, and purpose so they can graduate career, postsecondary, and life ready.
  • Over the next five years, pre-K through eighth-grade career exposure and exploration will drastically transform to educate students on the full range of career pathways, including those that do not require a four-year college degree.
  • MHS will also reorient all pre-K through 12th-grade education around career exploration, exposure, experiential learning, and preparation.
  • The vision also includes teaching all students logic and problem-solving through computer programming.
  • This strategic plan will aggressively build upon programs initiated in 2015-20, including pre-apprenticeships/apprenticeships.

In action...

  • Increase career speakers and professionals’ involvement in pre-K-8 learning.
  • Use data to identify students’ strengths and interests, personalize learning, and broaden career exposure.
  • Outline courses of study, competencies, and credentialing for career clusters.
  • Educate students, beginning in elementary school, on the full range of career pathways.
  • Build out authentic work experiences and pre-apprenticeships/apprenticeships.
  • Provide all students foundational computer programming instruction and advanced learning opportunities.
  • Increase rigor and relevance of academic content and integration with CTE areas.
  • Intensify teaching of lifelong learning skills, work ethic, and self-regulation.

Goal 3:

Broaden graduate opportunities for apprenticeships, military service, postsecondary education, and career services for professional success.

During the last strategic plan we...

  • Launched the Graduate Programs for Success (GPS) Division in 2016 to better prepare, transition, and support MHS high school students and recent graduates.

The MILT Plan will...

  • Expand the certificate and apprenticeship opportunities for recent graduates.
  • Build upon our work providing real-time supports to graduates in the military, workforce, community colleges, technical schools, and four-year colleges and develop additional pathways for postsecondary success aligned with GPS and our pre-K-12 program.
  • Provide more robust individualized career planning assistance for alumni and students.
  • Create a deepened understanding by staff, students, and parents/sponsors of the wide range of career and credentialing opportunities for students.

In action...

  • Expand postsecondary career-related partnerships with career and technical schools and businesses.
  • Provide in-depth professional development to key staff members on an annual basis.
  • Expand students’ and parents’/sponsors’ understanding of the wide variety of credentialing opportunities in all career areas.
  • Create more robust individualized career planning.
  • Develop an apprenticeship boot camp experience for recent graduates.
A Milton Hershey School teacher instructs his students.

Leveraging Impact

Milton and Catherine Hershey strongly believed that the power to build an exceptional life begins with an education. They created Milton Hershey School to bring the life-changing power of education to children in need. By creating impactful solutions to difficult issues, MHS has changed thousands of lives and is now in the position to change thousands more by expanding the impact of the Hersheys’ vision.

Goal 4:

Develop strategic programs to serve more low-income children.

The MILT plan will...

Identify, design, and begin implementing a strategic program that will enable us to serve a greater number of children than ever before.

The program we pursue will maintain our high level of excellence, demonstrate our proven expertise in the education field, and be aligned with the Hersheys’ Deed of Trust. We look forward to finalizing the focus of this goal and bringing it to life to transform more lives in the future.

In action...

  • Use research, feedback, and data to determine program.
  • Develop plan for implementation.
  • Impact more low-income children than ever before.
Milton Hershey School transportation employees in front of a school bus.

Teamwork to Strengthen Community Alignment and Engagement

We get a true understanding of the strength and ability of an organization by the people in it. At Milton Hershey School, this includes staff, students, parents/sponsors, and alumni. By attracting and retaining the best, most talented people and deepening the sense of purpose, belonging, and collaboration among everyone in the MHS family, we will strengthen our school community and keep the close-knit bonds that make MHS welcoming and unique.

Goal 5:

Enhance talent recruitment and inspire excellence through professional and personal growth and leadership opportunities to support the school’s mission and values.

During the last strategic plan we...

  • Identified that the acquisition, development, and retention of talent has been one our school’s top 10 core strengths.

The MILT Plan will...

  • Heighten our focus on talent recruitment and professional excellence to grow our current workforce and develop a talent pipeline for the future.
  • Inspire employees to play a more active role in their own professional development while also delivering a technology platform for individual and schoolwide learning.
  • Grow the leadership abilities of staff at all levels to support succession planning and future success for our school, students, and graduates.

In action...

  • Use marketing, recognition strategies, analytics, and technology for recruitment and retention.
  • Continually update recruiting strategies to align with the evolving marketplace.
  • Grow employees’ leadership abilities through professional development.
  • Evolve performance management to focus on coaching and motivating employees.
  • Launch an organizational technology platform for learning and professional growth.

Goal 6:

Deepen the sense of belonging, contributions, and collaboration among staff, students, parents/sponsors, and alumni to strengthen the school community.

What makes us unique...

Our welcoming and family-like environment is what makes our school unique. It drives people to work here, inspires parents/sponsors to enroll their children, nurtures students, and connects alumni.

As our school grows, it will be important to retain the tight-knit community connection we have enjoyed and valued for more than 110 years.

The MILT Plan will...

  • Build on this strength by uniting all members of the school community, fostering connections and collaboration, and safeguarding loved traditions.
  • Our goal is an MHS community where every student feels supported, every staff member understands their role in our mission, parents/sponsors feel connected, and graduates stay engaged.

In action...

  • Build new opportunities for student voice and leadership, mentoring, and collaboration among Elementary, Middle, and Senior Divisions.
  • Celebrate individual and group successes and MHS traditions.
  • Increase teams’ collaboration across MHS.
  • Empower teams to make decisions.
  • Strengthen partnerships with parents/sponsors.
  • Increase alumni engagement and opportunities for student-alumni connections.
Milton Hershey School students work together in the classroom to achieve success.

What Success Looks Like

With the collaboration and support of the MHS community, we look forward to making a difference for students that will positively impact their entire lives and those of generations to follow.

For our next five-year strategic plan, this is what success will look like—this is what our future looks like in focus. Read more about what will be new and different by 2025.

M | Modeling Character and Well-Being

A values-based MHS culture where…

  • Students understand and live out Sacred Values.
  • Student and adult programs are strengths-based, align with Sacred Values, and promote social and emotional learning skills.
  • Student voice and leadership are embedded into living and learning environments and strategic planning.
  • Modeling the Sacred Values extends to all MHS community adults, including staff, parents/sponsors, alumni, and mentors.
  • Student and staff Sacred Values recognition program is developed and promotes performance, growth, and mutual support.

I | Innovating Career-Focused Education

Career-focused education where…

  • Students prepare for the 21st-century workplace and careers that haven’t been invented yet.
  • Career pathways are enhanced and pre-K-8 career exposure transformed so all students are aware of the full range of career options.
  • Personalized career guidance equips students to create career goals and postsecondary career plans.
  • All students graduate with computer programming knowledge and opportunities for accelerated programming.
  • All students graduate having completed an authentic work experience tied to their career goal.
  • All students graduate having completed some postgraduate work.

Career-focused education at the postsecondary level where there is…

  • Strengthened alignment between pre-K-12 academics and postsecondary credentialing opportunities.
  • Greater understanding by staff, students, and parents/sponsors of the wide range of career and credentialing opportunities.
  • Greater diversity in the postsecondary plans pursued by students and recent graduates.
  • Increased completion of postsecondary credentials.

L | Leveraging Impact

A new strategic program where…

  • The MHS mission is advanced and expanded.
  • More children from low-income families are positively impacted.
  • Children from poverty benefit from our school’s expertise and resources.

T | Teamwork to Strengthen Community Alignment and Engagement

An MHS Human Resources approach where…

  • Recruitment, management, and compensation strategies attract and retain top talent.
  • There is a culture of continuous improvement and focus on student and graduate success.
  • Staff play an active role in their own professional development.
  • Staff share their expertise with other schools and organizations nationwide.
  • Performance management inspires regular feedback and coaching to grow employees.
  • Effective metrics inform strategic decision-making and workforce planning.
  • Talent is developed within MHS to meet current and future needs.

An MHS community where…

  • Every student feels surrounded by adults who care deeply about them and their success.
  • Staff understand how their efforts advance the MHS mission and contribute to student/graduate success.
  • Traditions maintain the feeling of a small and welcoming community.
  • Communication and collaboration with parents/sponsors result in students’ academic, social, and emotional growth.
  • Alumni engagement is strengthened and student-alumni connections increased.
  • Cross-functional innovation and collaboration solve work-related challenges.
  • All staff experience an increased sense of belonging, retention, and commitment to mission.
Read the latest Milton Hershey School Brown and Gold Annual Report.

Stay Informed

We look forward to sharing updates with you about our progress toward Our Future in Focus. You also can read about our successes in our current Brown & Gold Report annual report.

Milton Hershey School does not discriminate in admissions or other programs and services on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, sex, religious creed or disability. Read important MHS policies on equal opportunity and diversity, equal employment opportunity, and more.