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My Breck Story: Aiming High

“Teaching is, fundamentally, a process of change.  As educators, we want our students to think differently as a result of being in our classrooms.  That process is complex and raises these types of questions: How do we ensure that we’re all pulling in the same direction? How does our diverse and broad faculty work towards the same ultimate goal of promoting carefully curated growth in our students? How do we bridge our mission and our vision?

In an exercise during one of our professional development days, I asked the faculty to write on sticky notes everything that they hoped to see in a Breck graduate. Their responses ranged from “knowledge of Russian literature” and “Newton’s second law” to “globally aware” and “empathetic.” Then came the task of narrowing down the huge range of responses. I put the faculty into six small groups and asked for their group’s top ten answers. The word cloud above is representative of what they came up with. Those words that appear larger are those that came up most frequently. As you can see, we have high expectations for our students and these aspirations tend toward more broadly stated habits of mind and approaches to the world than to any specific content knowledge. Following the activity, we reflected as a larger group on the results, an exercise that was a powerful reminder to all of us why we are in education.

Even more powerful was the fact that a number of weeks after doing this exercise with the faculty, I did the same thing with a group of parents and the results were strikingly similar. Though we don’t often say it, Breck is a fundamentally aspirational place.  We have consistent hopes and dreams for our students and that gives me great hope for the future.”

— Thomas Taylor, Upper School Director