At Dublin School, we strive to awaken a curiosity for knowledge and a passion for learning. We instill the values of discipline and meaningful work that are necessary for the good of self and community. We respect the individual learning style and potential each student brings to our School. With our guidance, Dublin students become men and women who seek truth and act with courage.
Last week we recognized student achievement in the winter term in morning meeting. I asked the community to consider that our mission might be read as a set of developmental stages, especially when read in a slightly different order. First, as we grow to understand a student’s learning style and unique talents, students develop strength and gain the confidence to accept their weaknesses and seek to improve. That essential bond of trust must be formed before students can grow, and the faculty works carefully and consciously to develop that bond by showing respect for each student in different contexts. This respect anchors the work that is done in the next stage as students stretch themselves and develop discipline. When work is meaningful, it is less a chore than an opportunity, and our faculty use a wide array of strategies to keep work relevant and meaningful. Critical thinking is involved, and opportunities for choice, and creativity.
Many courses build in experiential components or opportunities to act on learning. All aspects of school life involve learning. And when the student is at the center of the learning experience, she wonders, asks questions, wants to know more. Curiosity grows and the desire for knowledge and understanding become driving forces as students connect their learning to the world around them. Our winter Honors students demonstrate the value of discipline; our High Honors students are those self-motivated, curious and passionate learners, and thus they model our mission in action. Further, we recognize students who earn all “Excellent” for effort grades, and we applaud students who achieve personal bests as well. Thus the discussion moves beyond a recognition of GPAs and, I hope, inspires us all to see school as a vehicle for growth and greater involvement in learning. Achievement is about engagement in the process: this is education at Dublin School.