Dear Rowland Hall Families and Friends,
As we wrap up Rowland Hall's 150th anniversary, I look back on the year's celebrations with joy and satisfaction. The kickoff party last September gathered more alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students, and community members—in total, over 1,400 people—than any event in our school's history. Just a few weeks ago, we had our culminating event on the Steiner Campus, the Jubilee, which was a fantastic party full of dancing, great food, and friends. In between, there were many smaller events that meant a lot to the school, whether bringing together former board members for a special dinner or gathering parents of alumni to reminisce about how Rowland Hall impacted their families. In each case, I truly enjoyed the opportunity to visit with people who, no matter what their relationship to Rowland Hall is or how long it had been since they last visited campus, have genuine affection for the school and are happy to be a part of our community.
This year also reminded me of what I love most about Rowland Hall: it is truly a community dedicated to learning. Though we honor our traditions, we don't let them hold us back. We are always trying to improve and enhance the educational experience for our students. I've seen many schools steeped in tradition, unwilling to make the changes necessary to offer an excellent education in the 21st century. I've seen new schools interested in trying every trend without carefully researching and examining whether it will actually improve their teaching and learning. At Rowland Hall, we seem to have found a sweet spot, where we keep the traditions that build character and meaning while embracing innovation and research in a self-reflective and methodical manner.
It is why we still have chapels, but they are based on celebrating character, religious diversity, and core values, not any specific doctrine. It is why we strive to make our campuses and classrooms modern and welcoming, based on the latest research about student learning environments. It is why our faculty members, many of whom have taught at Rowland Hall for 20 or more years, frequently attend conferences and participate in professional-development opportunities so they can stay abreast of best practices in their field.
Part of what helps Rowland Hall maintain a strong identity and purpose is that we continually seek feedback on our performance. One survey we sent you earlier this year was designed by an organization that is helping us articulate what makes us special. After reviewing survey results and holding several brainstorming sessions—which included parents, faculty, and other community members—we came up with a message that summarizes what sets us apart:
At Rowland Hall, we believe that students who are deeply engaged in their learning today become thoughtful citizens ready for a dynamic tomorrow. Through meaningful collaborations with their passionate teachers, Rowland Hall students develop critical thinking skills to discover, analyze, and reflect on what they learn. Because when students and teachers joyfully work together with open hearts and open minds, students confidently create opportunities to lead lives of learning and purpose.
I like to think this is both an expression of the school we are—which would make Bishop Tuttle and our founders proud—and the school we are striving to be.
Have a wonderful summer.