DISSECTING OUR MISSION
September 22, 2022

Dear Harbor Families,

Mission: a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.

If you were part of the Harbor community last year, you read and heard a lot about the self-study process, participated in surveys, and may have even joined a focus group to analyze the functions and successes of our school. Within our 146 page self study report that we produced as part of a year-long process, the most significant and central question we analyzed was how well our daily practices align with our mission. It was extremely validating to discover that each of our constituent groups felt strongly that our collective aim, our ambition, and our calling was consistent with our written mission statement. 

With Back to School Night happening tonight, and the school year underway, I thought it might be a good time to take a few minutes to think through our mission together.
 

The Harbor School embraces the uniqueness of each young child and teaches students to celebrate this in themselves and in each other. Our holistic approach nurtures kind, confident, and capable learners.

  1. We embrace the uniqueness of each young child. We understand that everyone learns differently, in multiple dimensions, and along different paths through the developmental stages of growth and learning. We truly know each child to fully understand their academic, social/emotional, and physical development and use this knowledge to nurture growth and personalize learning in all domains. This is central to our daily work and supported by strong relationships between and among parents, teachers, and students.

  2. We teach students to celebrate this (uniqueness) in themselves. We focus on developing self-awareness by teaching strategies that support students in making sense of themselves as learners and thereby gaining independence and confidence, in the classroom and beyond. Through inquiry and self-reflection, we help them to understand their individual strengths and challenges, their interests, and their identities, all of which make learning meaningful and enduring.

  3. We teach students to celebrate this (uniqueness) in each other. We are purposeful about embracing diversity of all types as a community and in classrooms, specifically focusing on topics of identity, fairness, and justice. We explicitly teach the importance of diverse perspectives, the skills of inquisitive dialogue, and the practice of empathy, a responsibility central to our approach and particularly important in early childhood years. (Read more about this in our DEI philosophy statement.)

  4. Our holistic approach nurtures kind, confident, and capable learners. These three traits define a Harbor learner. Kindness is central to #3 above. Confidence corresponds to #2. And capability relates to #1. Can you see those connections?

I would say those are pretty solid aims and ambitions, and (at the risk of being somewhat dramatic) I will also say that I think every one of the faculty and staff considers these words a calling. I expect that you will feel the words of our collective mission coming through in tonight’s Back to School Night experience, just as your kids experience it every day. 

I look forward to seeing you at 6:30 this evening!

Warmly,

 

Leah Musico

Head of School

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Harbor School