Strategic Foundation Building

Strategic Foundation Building retreats are day long gatherings in which a school’s faculty and staff-- including teachers, principals, teachers aides, librarians, parents, and others-- meet with their colleagues from their partnering cultural organization—such as administrators, program managers, program directors and teaching artists. 

Under the guidance of a trained facilitator, participants in a Strategic Foundation Building (SFB) retreat engage in a series of exercises and discussion topics tailored to the partnership.  As a group, participants collectively develop a long range vision, discuss goals for the partnership, and address “nuts and bolts” issues.


The goals of the retreat are:
  • to articulate a school-based vision
  • to cultivate a shared commitment
  • to build a trusting relationship among partners
  • to empower teacher leadership.

To learn more about SFB retreats, download the SFB Chapter of the ESP Resource Handbook, click here.
(You can also download the entire ESP Resource Handbook here.)

You may need to scroll down to view Facilitator bios.

Nelle Stokes
Magic Box Productions

Nelle Stokes is a documentary videographer, teaching artist, and Executive Director of Magic Box Productions, Inc. Ms. Stokes worked as a Senate-side reporter for Florida Public Television's award-winning series Today in the Legislature. As a film reviewer for the Program for Art on Film at the Metropolitan Museum, she contributed to the book Architecture on Screen.

As a teaching artist, Ms. Stokes has worked in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey for over ten years. Magic Box Productions, Inc. and its production wing, Magic Box Studios LLC, have created videos for nonprofit clients including the School Arts Rescue Initiative, Lexington Center for the Deaf, New Visions for Public Schools, and the Roundabout Theatre Company. Magic Box has helped thousands of NYC students and teachers to create and share their own original videos through arts residencies throughout the tri-state area. Ms. Stokes has been selected as a Teaching Fellow for New York State Council on the Arts' ESP Summer Seminar in 2002-2007, and has presented and facilitated at Common Ground 2003 , 2004, 2005, and 2006. MBP has received funding from New York State Council on the Arts, the Center for Arts Education, and the Partners for Arts Education.

Educational videos produced and directed by Ms. Stokes have received national distribution and become established features of school curriculum. A Decade of Progress, the story of arts education in NYC from 1996-2006 received a 2007 Telly award. Roundabout: The Art of Learning was honored with a Bronze Telly award in 2005. S.A.R.I.: Telling the Story was commissioned by the New York Times Foundation and received awards from the Telly and Accolade Video competitions in 2004. Through the Eyes of Children: 9/11 and Beyond, was screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the Brooklyn International Film and Video Festival. She produced the independent low-budget comedy, CRIMINALS, which toured festivals including Avingnon/NY, the IFFM, and the New York Independent Film Festival. The making of CRIMINALS was featured in the book Persistence of Vision.

Consulting Areas

  • Video documentary, documentation and assessment
  • Media issues
  • Multi-disciplinary project planning and design

Nelle Stokes
Magic Box Productions
Pleasantville, NY 10570
ns@magicboxproductions.org
(914) 630-0256