There are so many reasons that families choose to enroll their children in independent schools. Over the last several years, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has been conducting research about those reasons using a framework they have created entitled Jobs to Be Done. As I have read through their work, it is evident to me that one common thread runs through it all: Parents and guardians want us to know their children so that we can build on their strengths, address their challenges, and provide an environment where they will thrive. That is no small order.
Central to this work is having a full understanding of the identities of our students and learning about their life experiences. That is one of the many reasons that WT is committed to the work of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Wellness. In order to thrive in the classroom environment, students must be able to show up to school each day as their authentic selves and experience a sense of belonging and the feeling that they are a valued member of the community. Absent those circumstances, students will not be able to be fully engaged academically or socially, making success less certain.
Parents and guardians want us to know their children so that we can build on their strengths, address their challenges, and provide an environment where they will thrive.
That is no small order.
WT and the Board of Trustees have long been committed to this important work. In fact, this commitment was one of the many factors that drew me to the school. WT's equity and inclusion statement is bold and digs even deeper. Placing the highest value on enabling students to understand their own identity and those of others is named as our moral imperative and is connected to our commitment to care for the whole child. To assist us in reaching those goals, WT has also committed resources by adding school counselors to our team. Soon, we will add a Lower School Counselor who will join counterparts in the Middle and Upper Schools who have been in place for the past two years. That is yet another step towards our commitment in action.
In order to thrive in the classroom environment, students must be able to show up to school each day as their authentic selves.
As I noted in last month's message about our progressive approach to education, WT is committed to keeping students at the center of what we do; taking a comprehensive approach to making sure that all students have a sense of belonging is a vital part of that equation, and, I believe, is job #1. After all, they are the reason we are here.