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Collaboration Beyond Our Walls

Director of Admission Tami Milles-Atterberry shares the benefits of working on a team of educators outside the UCDS community to ultimately benefit all independent schools in the area -Ed.

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Collaboration is a hallmark of UCDS.  It’s a word commonly used to define our school culture but it’s not just a word at UCDS. Collaboration is at the heart of our institution and can be seen through the daily actions of students in the classroom, teachers working together to design school curriculum, and our administrative structure and committee work. Collaboration is intentional in our daily work, meetings, and classrooms because we value the benefit of multiple perspectives and voices.

As the Director of Admission at UCDS, I’ve been part of this collaborative community for over a decade and understand the advantage of collaborative work. So, when a group of admission directors created a Seattle admission consortium called PSIS (Puget Sound Independent Schools), I quickly sought out a seat on the steering committee. The mission of PSIS is to promote the value of local independent school education and work collaboratively to make the admission process more accessible to prospective families. Not only has PSIS provided better access for prospective families, it has truly become a place where Seattle independent schools are working more in collaboration and less in competition.  

As a steering committee member, I meet once a month with 10-12 admission directors from independent schools throughout the Seattle region.  I took on a leadership role in the steering committee by volunteering to co-chair the mentorship work group and co-chair a task force for common dates. At each meeting, we discuss updates from PSIS work groups such as the events, marketing, forms, and mentorship committees. The committee groups were created to implement the work necessary to support prospective families. The PSIS work is on a volunteer basis so we encourage all schools in the consortium to become active and join a work group. The steering committee also focuses on issues in the local admission market, new ways to promote independent schools, and is currently considering partnerships to foster collaboration with the larger community.

My collaborative work with PSIS has built valuable relationships with admission colleagues, opened avenues of communication that help to share the challenges all schools face, and most importantly, created the structure to support the needs of prospective parents.