Crafting a mission statement is an impossible task. How, in a paragraph or two, can you capture the entirety of a complex learning community like Proctor? How can you concisely provide the north star toward which your school constantly works? We talk about our core values and key programs, but one short phrase in the middle of our mission statement cuts to the very heart of our beliefs about education: We recognize the potential of each member of the community to stretch beyond what had been thought possible.
Each year, we witness students experience unprecedented academic growth, begin to see themselves in a new light, and embrace the freedom to expand their identity. By its very nature, the Proctor model requires students to evolve. If a student walks across the graduation stage the same as they arrived on campus for registration day, we have failed.
Most adolescents eagerly embrace this evolution of identity, but each approaches it slightly differently. Some dream and pursue, while others plan and execute. One tendency is not necessarily better than the other, students are simply predisposed, or trained through prior experiences, to take a certain approach to new opportunities. Our role as educators is to help those who are dreamers understand the importance of a plan, and to help those who are planners begin to dream just a little bit more.
During Fall Family Weekend (October 18-19), parents will meet with advisors and teachers for a mid-term check-in. We will talk through the ups and downs of the past six weeks of academic coursework. We will share feedback, often positive, sometimes negative, but always constructive. With our advisees, we will discuss Proctor’s four year academic planning process; a critical exercise as we help students weave 135 academic courses, five academic concentrations, five off-campus programs, three summer service trips, and more than 30 different art courses into their Proctor experience. Partnering with students and parents to map out a Proctor experience that is right for that individual student is one of the most important responsibilities we have as advisors.
No two students will craft the same path through Proctor. That is the beauty of this place. Each advisee will have a unique four year academic plan, and each year it will evolve as that student discovers new interests and gains confidence. Families often choose us because of a feature - our ski program, the recording studio, study abroad programs, the nation’s leading integrated academic support program - but over time they realize they really chose Proctor because they believe deeply in that one little phrase in our mission statement: the potential to stretch beyond what was thought possible.
During Saturday’s Admissions Open House more than 50 families will visit campus for the first time. Most will attend this Open House because of one of the “features” mentioned above, but our hope is that each family leaves with an appreciation of the simple fact that adolescents are designed to change. Proctor is the school that will evolve alongside their child. We know when to push, when to pull, when to simply listen. We help the dreamers plan, and the planners dream knowing the beauty of a student’s high school years lies in the “what could be”, not the what is.