At Allen-Stevenson, these many ways to be successful are found in what we call the 3 A’s—Academics, Athletics and the Arts—the three key domains of our educational program. Our teachers and administrators—not “the School” as abstraction—are almost always the ones who carry out this mission. They show boys what the “ongoing commitment to each student” really means; they are the ones who have the “best insights” and use the “best tools” to understand boys as whole persons. They open new portals, so much so that the great American poet Robert Frost was right when he confessed, “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
What creates such outcomes is actually the relationship, not the content. Teachers awaken the potential in students, and the results can be transformative. At Allen-Stevenson, we celebrate the many ways to be a teacher, and thus reflect the many ways to be a boy. Without jumping on the latest bandwagons, we also apply new insights about boy development, about changing families, and about teaching and learning to our curriculum and in our pedagogy. In fact, these are exciting times to be teaching the young, because so much is being discovered about brain development, technology and communications, and the like. Of course, there are many new challenges, too, and colleagues learn from each other as well.
Allen-Stevenson’s commitment to professional development is strong. The School supports many teachers in their graduate work, and many more attend professional workshops and conferences. A lot of faculty professional development also happens at school, through professional days and other opportunities that broaden the experience and insights of our teachers.
We can also learn from our many visitors that their first observation, after spending time at Allen-Stevenson, is to describe “the obvious love and care” we have for our students. Such warmth usually informs our “ongoing commitment” here and undergirds these relationships.