We believe that with the unwavering pursuit of knowledge comes the development of character, values, imagination, and the joy of living a purposeful life–intellectually, socially, and spiritually.
Distinctive Aspects of Life at Breck
- Episcopal School
- One Campus
- Breadth of Opportunities
- Community Partnerships
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
What is an Episcopal School?
Breck is an Episcopal school. Unlike an Episcopal church, our community is multi-religious, filled with families from a variety of denominations, religions, and spiritual beliefs. Our goal as an Episcopal school is to nurture the spiritual development of each person and to welcome everyone to our community. We offer the following definition to illuminate rather than proselytize. We believe that, far from being an impediment, the Episcopal character of Breck makes our unique approach to all kinds of diversity possible.
- What makes Breck an Episcopal school?
- What should a student’s experience of this Episcopal school be?
- What does "Episcopalian" mean?
What makes Breck an Episcopal school?
Breck was founded in 1886 by, and is still affiliated with, the Episcopal Church. The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota chairs the Board and presides at the most important events of the year, such as Baccalaureate and Commencement. Breck often hosts the important Diocesan events, such as the election of a new Bishop. Neither Breck nor the Diocese supports the other financially in any way.
Following age-appropriate principles, we study religions rigorously and with respect, following the Anglican model of balancing Scripture, tradition, and reason in spiritual study. We move from learning Bible stories in Lower School, through a deeper understanding of belonging to a faith tradition in Middle School, to a thoughtful examination of many religions in Upper School. Our school’s Mission includes developing each student’s relationship with God.
We aspire to a strong program of service to the Twin Cities community, in keeping with the Prayer Book’s Baptismal Promise to “strive for justice and peace among all peoples.” Breck’s Mission statement speaks of our commitment to instill in our students a deep sense of social responsibility and a desire to contribute to those in need.
The Chaplains are Episcopal clergy and lay people, who lead twice-weekly Chapels in the Episcopal style, as well as celebrating other religious traditions as fully as possible. On occasion, we celebrate the Eucharist and such sacraments as baptisms, weddings, ordinations, and funerals. We follow the yearly Episcopal calendar of feasts, fasts, and saints’ days. We use the Book of Common Prayer, the Hymnal 1982, and other Episcopal resources.
What should a student’s experience of this Episcopal school be?
By the time they graduate, Breck students will have experienced the regular rhythms of prayer, worship, reflection, and study that sustain one’s spiritual life. They will have participated in at least one Chapel service.
They will have had face-to-face relationships with people in need beyond the walls of the school, through several community service projects, and will have reflected on the spiritual benefits of being responsible to and for others.
They will have wrestled with the biggest questions of meaning and value in life, and come to some answers. They will have matured in their relationship with God, and will be able to write and talk about that relationship with precision. They will understand the place of religions and spirituality in human life.
What does "Episcopalian" mean?
The Episcopal church is incarnational. This means that while we hold that God was fully incarnate in Jesus, God is also within every human being. Further, we believe that God created life in this world as fundamentally good, despite any human choices to the contrary. Thus, Episcopalians are devoted to stewardship of the earth, social responsibility, and to “seeking out and serving Christ in all persons,” as the Baptismal promise declares.
The Episcopal Church is liturgical. In sacraments, symbols, and prayers, we seek awareness of the presence of God in our lives. Sacraments are visible signs of inward and invisible grace.
The Episcopal Church is scriptural. It encourages each person’s critical study of the Scripture following one’s own conscience and guided by the wisdom found in traditional and contemporary thinking and interpretation.
The Episcopal Church is inclusive, following the example of Jesus Christ, who preached loving inclusion, and against division. In that spirit, we invite all baptized persons to the Eucharist and share a profound dialogue with Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, American Indians, and others. We are called to be of one heart, if not necessarily one mind, because we come from one heart. This principle leads us to habits of open-mindedness, patience, and listening. We seek common prayer, not common doctrine.
The Episcopal Church is a community of service. Following the example of Jesus, we approach the path of life by coming “not to be served, but to serve.” Social, political, and charitable actions reflect this spiritual imperative.
The Episcopal Church is aesthetic. We have a strong respect for the beauty of holiness and of virtue. In art and music, we seek quality because through them we express spiritual and ethical values.
The Episcopal Church is moderate, affirming balance as a high virtue. We hold personal freedom and communal responsibilities in constant tension. We are Catholic and Protestant. We seek a balance between social action and quiet, personal reflection.
The benefits of our single campus are many. For students seeking advance placement, they can simply walk down the hall to their next class, joining friends they already see on a day-to-day basis. Students don’t just see each other at Breck, they create caring, close-knit relationships across divisions. Preschoolers and graduating seniors intermingle in the halls, with our Upper Schoolers proudly serving as role models and our younger students dreaming of the day they’ll be in their shoes.
We believe students gain confidence, build character, and learn to cooperate through connections across multiple age groups.
From an Old English term meaning serving, eating with and helping to clean up after a meal, third and fourth graders take turns biddying for preschool and kindergarten students at lunch. Biddying instills a practice of responsible role modeling in our Lower School students before they progress to Middle School, and lends a sense of belonging and aspiration to our early learners.
Breck kindergartners study the human body as part of our Real Science curriculum, which makes them natural lab partners for our Middle School students. Bio-buddies get together for monthly activities that combine hands-on experience with field research while forming a genuine sense of connection.
First grade & senior buddies
Every Breck first grader has a senior buddy. They trace the outline of their hands, decorate spirit gear for homecoming, and attend All-School chapel, together. During Baccalaureate, first graders perform a special song for their senior buddies. There’s never a dry eye in the house.
Every school day a fleet of buses leaves the Breck campus to pick up more than 600 students from around the metropolitan area. Our professional bus drivers create lasting relationships with their riders and know the importance to starting and ending the school day on the right note.
Our teachers are the heart of Breck. They inspire and challenge intellectual and emotional growth. They create safe places to question and imagine, to struggle, and to persevere. They are patient guides and brilliant educators with an incredible commitment to bringing out the best in all students in their unique educational journeys.
It isn't often that you find a school that is able to come together regularly to celebrate important events throughout the year but, at Breck, this is just part of our routine. Each month, our student body gathers in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit for an All-School Chapel. Chapel themes may include Native American Heritage, the meaning of sanctuary, sharing our history, or remembering our loved ones. Additionally, each division gathers regularly for community meetings, assemblies, or divisional chapels.
Breadth of Opportunities
Breck students are expected to try new and explore a variety of activities during their time at Breck. Our students have the opportunity for a variety of leadership opportunities through student clubs, performing arts, visual arts, and student governance.
Breck's nationally-recognized community partnership program is a living embodiment of our mission to instill in each student a deep sense of social responsibility. Throughout the pages of this website, you'll see examples of student-led projects, school-wide initiatives and thoughtful interactions that allow our students to learn more about the community around them. You can learn more about this program on the Community Partnership page.
Curriculum development for our preschool through grade 12 community is led by our Academic Advisory committee, which includes the head of school, division directors, and department heads. This committee provides an aligned and thoughtful curriculum for our preschool through 12 community and allows our faculty to collaborate with one another and align programming throughout a student's time at Breck. We encourage you to learn more about our curriculum by visiting division-level pages.