How Do We Do It?

It’s November, and across the nation independent schools are deep into the “admission season, ” with admission professionals and faculty explaining the value added of an independent school education.

If I could put the GFA experience into a sentence, I would say: We offer a high caliber education through a multi-layered, fully rounded experience that is student-centered but also carefully guided by caring adults.

But, more importantly, how do we do it?

The culture at a school like GFA encourages academic ambition and high standards. It celebrates how “cool” it is to be smart. Being actively engaged is almost non-negotiable, and students find it the norm to be excited about collaborating in the classroom, pursuing their passions through independent studies or even taking advantage of specialized semesters across the United States and abroad.

Students sense they are on a journey of intellectual awakening and discovery, guided by their teachers every step of the way. I look to GFA to be almost counter-cultural, to defy the predominant media portrait of adolescence and graduate young men and women who know how to push themselves to think deeply about the issues of our times.

GFA is small enough to allow us to explore codes of conduct, civility and honor, placing an intentional emphasis on character and accountability. Visitors to GFA always comment on our lockers without locks, and on the expectation of honesty from each member of the community.

The GFA ethos instills in students a strong academic foundation, good habits of mind and a desire for life-long learning. After many years in education, I can say that these are the values we need in place to best serve this generation of young people.

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