... that a school is an articulation of a community's hopes and dreams for its children.
To cultivate our young people into the powerful citizens our community needs, we must create and maintain a culture of excellence. Therefore, in order:
To develop strong and flexible thinkers,
our classrooms will be places where students pursue essential questions, big ideas, and the world's history, traditions, and discoveries. Alongside their classmates and teachers, they will explore great literature, big and small mathematical challenges, the disciplines and creative purposes of the arts, and exciting scientific ideas. Classrooms will be rich with purpose, the quality of the work built on feedback and revision. They will learn to read and read to learn, become curious and confident about problems, make specific observations, make sense of data and confidently handle numbers and calculations. They will develop a keen and critical eye to interpret what they see through multiple lenses.
To develop the habits of mind and heart that our students need to nurture a vibrant democracy,
our young people will have the opportunity to learn from older and younger students, from those of other cultures and neighborhoods, and to spend time hearing one another out. Each project they complete individually and together will take time, will require multiple drafts, feedback, and revision. Each piece of work will be celebrated and shared with others and our community. In our school, students will be asked to persevere in the face of difficulty, to celebrate success, and to learn from failure. They will be asked to listen carefully, take a stand, to defend a new idea, and to take risks.
To make our world more fair,
our young people must develop their compassion "muscles," requiring the practices of respect for others, focused and quiet reflection, the search for understanding, and a commitment to responsibility for one's self and for others. In our classrooms, our students will undertake projects that connect our school with our community, and with our past.
Finally, just as students need multiple experiences with success, failure, and revision,
so too should the adults in the school that help foster such powerful young people. The adults must be willing to work together, sharing their practices with one another to constantly hone their craft. Schools teach values intentionally and unintentionally; the adults must not only strive to model the values of the school, but also the reflective ability to learn from their challenges when they fall short.