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Central Qualities of a Choate Education

Dynamic balance characterizes the Choate Rosemary Hall experience

It is at the core of what we value and teach, both in and out of the classroom, preparing our students especially well for success in a world filled with challenges and opportunities. Those who seek to contribute in the global community must balance a wide range of interests and perspectives. Doing so requires understanding and adaptability along with a commitment to action, a desire to be a positive force in the world.

Choate's Statement on Character identifies timeless qualities–integrity, respect and compassion–that are at the heart of what it is to be a good person. Working from this foundation, a Choate education strengthens in its students the capacity for productive learning and meaningful action. At Choate as in life, constructive leaders demonstrate self-motivation, curiosity and creativity, and effective communication skills.

Choate students cultivate self-motivation and self-awareness. In a supportive and caring context, our students discover that their future success lies in effort, determination, and an understanding of how they learn. Intrinsic motivation combines with honest, reflective self-assessment to develop individuals who take responsibility for their actions, have the courage to stand up for their beliefs, and set goals for lifelong growth.

Choate students develop creativity and a willingness to explore. The School encourages students to formulate their own ideas with originality and inventiveness. Choate's extensive resources inspire curiosity and allow the pursuit of interests in almost any direction. In this process of exploration, our students come to appreciate the value of taking intellectual chances and realize that learning is fun, often a source of joy. They identify interests and passions that form the intellectual playground where they will be active for the rest of their lives.

Choate students learn to express themselves effectively in a variety of media and languages. Because a true education cannot be forged in isolation, communication is an essential component of that process. In all areas, effective communication requires attentive listening, gathering and assessing relevant information, and the ability to formulate and express a meaningful statement or argument. Our digital age demands facility with changing technologies, while also reminding us of the continued importance of human connections. Communication is essential for growth and understanding and also as a catalyst for action.

While certain qualities are constant in providing a foundation for success, circumstances sometimes bring competing values into tension. Choate students are distinguished by their ability, enhanced through experience, to balance those tensions.

Perseverance and resilience are balanced with humor and joy. All in our community enjoy learning, but experience teaches that some challenges are not resolved quickly or easily. Often, extended engagement, repeated effort, and adaptability may be necessary to achieve a goal. Students come to appreciate that determination combined with a positive sense of humor offers a productive approach. They discover that the path to success often includes prudent risks that might lead to occasional failures. They come to know that neither success nor failure is an ending, but rather the beginning of the next step forward. Balance in this regard is key to lifelong physical and emotional wellbeing.

Mastery of established knowledge is balanced with the independent development of ideas. Choate students are trained to take full advantage of available information through research skills tailored for different disciplines. They have experience in the analysis of language and art, historical and social scientific evidence, and scientific and mathematical data. At the same time, they are given freedom to experiment with novel approaches through brainstorming, modeling, and trial and error. By studying how others have answered questions, our students consider a variety of ways to analyze, frame and synthesize information. They then adjust their approach to the specific circumstances of each challenge.

Individual effort is balanced with productive collaboration. It is essential for students to develop the capacity for sustained, intense individual effort. Such independent, reflective engagement teaches self-discipline while also building skills and confidence. At the same time, the ability to be a constructive member of a collaborative team is essential. This requires students to lead as well as partner in efforts to contribute meaningfully and responsibly within the group. Students practice the skills of trusting, listening, persuading, and compromising that are central to productive group work. By working together, students come to understand other perspectives in ways that prepare them to engage in a global community.

Self-advocacy is balanced with a commitment to serve others. While pursuit of personal goals and interests is desirable, empathy is essential in developing long-term, successful solutions to problems. Our students learn to understand their own perspective on an issue and also the perspectives of others. This includes understanding other languages and cultures, past and present, as well as learning to live in a vibrant and diverse community. This experience nurtures in students both a sense of gratitude for the gifts they have and a sense of humility that comes from recognizing their individual limitations. Students recognize the importance of dedicated engagement in service to others, including but not limited to efforts toward social justice and environmental sustainability.

These skills and habits of mind carry relevance in all aspects of school life – academic, artistic, athletic and interpersonal – and beyond. In the context of the mission of the school, they provide the foundation for positive and productive leadership, contribution to society, and lifelong personal development.